Over at the Practical Travel Gear Blog, each weekday we’re reviewing something worth packing or wearing in your travels, in a wide range of price ranges. But if you’re reading this particular blog you’re probably most interested in what’s cheap and useful. So here are some bargain items to put on your own wish list or to pick up for a fellow traveler.
Gerber GDC Key Tools
I just reviewed two of these today after traveling with them the past couple months. They’re small, relatively light, and functional. The flashlight one does double duty as a bottle opener even. They list for $12 and are less than $10 at Amazon.
Every time I pull one of these handy little Screwpop tools out, someone says, “That is so cool!” This is another sub-$10 little tool that fixes things and pops open your beer as well. Get it at Amazon.
Sea to Summit Pocket Toiletries Tabs
These watertight little plastic cases contain 50 dehydrated tabs that look like thin sheets of paper. When you expose one to water, it turns into whatever the package indicates: shampoo, soap, shaving cream, or laundry wash. With one of these cases you can always have soap in your daypack or can pack super-light while avoiding liquids altogether . These are great stocking stuffers since they retail for just $4 or $5 each. See the full review for a video demo and where to buy them online.
Three people that have seen me using this have gone out and bought one afterwards, so it’s safe to say this will be an appreciated gift. That Gerber key light at the top will probably last you years, but if you want to go rechargeable and never have to replace batteries, this Jolt flashlight will just plug into any USB port and have 100% juice again. Pick up one for around $12 at Amazon, sometimes less if you buy it at your local retail store.
Eagle Creek Pack-it Cubes
If you or your gift recipient is a neat freak who thinks The Container Store is retail heaven, then these packing cubes from Eagle Creek are a great gift. The smaller ones for socks, underwear, or t-shirts are $10 or less at eBags or Zappos, spend a few dollars more at the same sites and get the lighter Specter versions.
GSI Collapsible Silicone Java Drip
If there’s a coffee lover on your list, this Java Drip from GSI is an easy-to-pack item that will deliver fresh coffee to any mug or cup. Great for campers or nomadic types who work from the road, this expands from a flat disc to a regular coffee filter size. Yes, you do also have to carry the filters, and coffee not included… Get this from Amazon for $12 and it’s a free shipping eligible item.
The World’s Cheapest Destinations
If you or yours is going on an extended trip abroad, The World’s Cheapest Destinations book could result in shaving a few grand off the budget—enough to completely gear up for the trip. Get the paperback for under $15, the Kindle version for under $10, or the excerpt for just one part of the world for $4.
Get in on the best travel gear deals
At this time of year you’re likely getting deluged with marketing messages from online retailers. If you’re interesting in having all the best travel gear discounts, promotions, and coupons though, you can get them all in one place. Just sign up for the Insider Gear Deals newsletter. Do that and you’ll get a free report: “10 Travel Gear Deals for $20 or Less.” There are quite a few on there not featured in this blog post.
Here’s a peek at what the Insider Travel Gear Deals newsletter looked like for the past Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, with coupons and deep discounts gathered in one place. Instead of sifting through a dozen e-mails and visiting sites looking for promotional deals, you can get this one dispatch and be all set.