The number of over 50s travellers is increasing year on year. In fact, stats show that the percentage of over 50s travellers is growing faster than practically any other demographic.
Some people love preparing for their trip. Others simply want to get it out of the way. Whichever camp you're in, there are so many incredible travel gadgets available these days. They make the process of travelling easier so you can concentrate on enjoying yourself and your trip. Travelling is a great excuse to go gadget shopping, not that those gadget lovers amongst you need an excuse!
Of course, travel gadgets are suitable for anyone at any age. Still, this curated list will explore devices that are particularly useful if you're over 50. If you're looking for a more general list of gadgets for over 50s, check out our post on 17 amazing gadgets for older people.
1: Packing cubes
Packing and organising luggage is a crucial step in any holiday, and dare we say, it can be one of the most stressful. One of the most challenging aspects of packing is making sure you fit everything in your bags and ensuring that you know everything is, and that's where packing cubes help.
Packing cubes do what they say on the tin - they’re fabric bags that come in different sizes. By packing your luggage into different cubes, you can separate your clothes and other items, so you know where everything is. You can easily label packing cubes from the outside.
Amazon offers its own Amazon Basics range of packing cubes, but many superb and low-cost options are available. You really can’t underestimate the satisfaction of opening well-organised bags and not needing to rummage through everything once you reach your destination.
2: Compression cubes
A variation on the packing cube is the compression cube. Compression cubes are ideal for packing clothes that are full of air. The aim of compression cubes is to squeeze all the unneeded air out of your clothes so they can be compressed into a lower profile, slotting right into your luggage bag.
To use compression cubes, you fold up your clothes, slot them in the compression bag, squeeze your clothes down into a much slimmer profile, and then zip up the cube. Most have strong zips that keep your clothes compressed, like these well-reviewed Gonex compression packing cubes.
3: Vacuum packers
Yet another option for packing your bags are vacuum packing bags. The only downside of vacuum packers is that your clothes will become incredibly creased and crushed!
But, for pants, socks and old t-shirts or vests, that's not usually an issue. Vacuum packers save a considerable amount of room, perfect for when space is really at a premium. Amazon Basics offer their own vacuum packing kit that comes with a hand pump. Remember to pack the pump too, or you won’t be able to vacuum pack your clothes on the way back!
4: Travel adapters
When you book a holiday, there’s always a scramble to see whether or not you’ve got a power adapter. They’re hardly exciting as far as gadgets go, but they’re a must-have.
Modern travel adapters work in practically every country worldwide. This international travel adapter even has 4 USB outputs and USB-C output for charging laptops, cameras and other devices.
5: Water filter bottles
Water purifier bottles are designed to filter pathogens from water without water purification tablets. When drinking water is suspect or sub-par, water filter bottles add an extra layer of protection when bottled water isn't available. Additionally, even bottled water isn't entirely clean in some countries. As a result, many choose to pour their bottled water into a water filtration bottle for extra peace of mind.
The filtration performance of these bottles varies, but it's probably not wise to go around filling them up with blatantly dirty water. Even so, they still significantly reduce the likelihood of consuming waterborne diseases and toxins.
This water bottle from reputable brand WaterWell allegedly filters 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites and is made from BPA-free leakproof plastic. LifeStraw is another reputable and well-tested brand whose claims are trustworthy.
6: Solar power banks
Solar panels have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and they're exceptionally efficient, even in cloudy conditions.
These are basically standard power banks with solar panels bolted onto them, allowing you to charge them with sunlight when you’re nowhere near a mains plug. Solar power banks come in various sizes up to a maximum capacity of around 20,000 to 30,000 mAh. The Anker PowerCore range of portable chargers has a solar edition here, but solar power banks from lesser-known brands might pack more power to the pound.
There are also many excellent standard non-solar portable chargers, some of which boast huge capacities, such as this whopping 4 USB port 50,000 mAh charger. It’s a good idea to grab two power banks in case one fails.
7: Heated insoles
By heated insoles, we mean electronically heated insoles that come with their own compact battery pack that wraps around the ankle. Electronically heated insoles have waterproof filaments that heat the foot from below.
These excellent gadgets are already used by the army and emergency services in some countries. They are great for skiing, hiking or any other cold-weather pursuit.
On this particular model, the rubber insoles are waterproof. The battery boxes should be kept under waterproof trousers or wrapped in a waterproof bag and zip-tied.
8: Door alarm
Security is crucial for any traveller, but you may wish to take extra precautions if you're over 50, especially if travelling alone.
Door alarms are one way of adding an extra layer of security to your room. This particular model simply hangs on the door handle, making it straightforward to set up and arm. Once the alarm is armed correctly, it will sound once it detects the movement of the door handle. The alarm is exceptionally loud, so make sure you read the instructions to understand how to turn it off in case you accidentally set it off!
9: Door jammer
In a similar vein, door jammers tuck under the door and prevent intruders from forcing an entry. They’re easy to set up and can be kicked away if you need to evacuate the room quickly.
Door jammers combined with door alarms provide complete peace of mind when your hotel room door isn’t exactly ultra-secure.
10: Smart notebook
Now here’s a true gadget - a smart notebook. The Rocketbook Smart Notebook has just 32 pages but will last you forever.
How? Because it has wipe-clean high-tech pages that you scan with your smartphone, thus immortalising every word (or drawing). Your notes are stored in an easily searchable format, accessible whenever you have your phone. Once you’ve created a note, simply scan and wipe clean!
Smart notebooks are also secure if you write down private or personally identifiable information. So long as you wipe them clean, your notes are stored safely in your smartphone instead of on paper, perfect in the event you lose or misplace your notebook or if it's stolen.
11: Bluetooth speaker
Bluetooth speakers are excellent for playing music, the radio, or enhancing audio playback from your laptop, tablet or other devices. There are absolutely tons of options available; this stereo Bluetooth speaker from Anker is loud with excellent sound quality and up to 24 hours of battery life.
Its IPX7 waterproof rating means it can be submerged in water at a depth of 1m for around 30-minutes. From Sony, this portable Bluetooth speaker is IP67 rated, meaning it’s both dustproof and water-resistant to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes.
If you’re looking for something a little more heavy-duty, then these large Bluetooth speakers pack some serious volume and are IPX6 water-resistant.
12: Travel pillow
Travel pillows are a must-have travel essential for coach journeys, flights, road trips, or general use whilst travelling. They’re always useful but easily forgotten!
As you might imagine, there’s a wide variety of neck pillows available, but some innovative travel pillows also feature hoods that can help you block out noise and light, aiding in sleep and relaxation.
You can double down on a good night’s sleep by combining travel pillows with high-quality eye masks. This silk sleep mask wraps all the way around the head to help block out ambient noise.
13: RFID wallet or travel belt
RFID technology is used for contactless card payments, but scammers and fraudsters have found ways to utilise your card’s wireless identifier to steal money or payment information. RFID crime rates are exceptionally low, but RFID blocking products are still popular when travelling and will still provide protection.
Also, if you're using a travel-specific or prepaid debit card or are using a cash card you buy abroad, it's tough to know how secure it is.
There are many styles of RFID blocking wallets, cardholders, purses and even money belts or bum bags. This Amazon brand option is exceptionally well-reviewed. Minimalist money clips such as this are super-durable for outdoor pursuits. This unisex money belt is big enough for money, debit and credit cards, and essential documents and valuables.
14: Tracking devices
There are various uses for tracking devices when travelling, such as finding a hire car parked in a busy car park or street and locating your bags, luggage and other items. You can even track your kids and grandchildren when you let them roam a campsite, hotel or holiday park on their own or with other families or friends.
One of the most popular and reputable compact trackers is the Tile Compact Tracker, compatible with Android and iOS devices, including most Apple iPhones and iPads. It also integrates with smart home apps, like Alexa and Google Home, so you can use it at home and on holiday. It has a 60m range and can show you the most recent location when an item or person goes out of range. You follow the tracker on a detailed map that directs you towards the tracking device.
15: Noise-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones have become much better in recent years. They use tiny microphones to pick up ambient noise, invert that noise, and feed it into the audio playback to cancel out those frequencies effectively.
As you might imagine, there are many options here, ranging from world-famous brands such as Sony and Sennheiser to Anker and many lesser-known budget brands.
These Anker Soundcore noise-cancelling headphones provide some 40h of audio playback on one charge and have plush, comfortable earpads.
Sony has lots of well-reviewed, reputable sound-cancelling headphones; these Sony WH-CH710N over-ear headphones are one of their bestsellers.
Bose’s QuietComfort range offers plenty of excellent higher-end options, like the Bose QuietComfort 45.
If you prefer earbuds or in-ear headphones, there are plenty of noise-cancelling options there, too, such as these Sony WF-1000XM3s.
16: Kindles and eReaders
Kindles are still some of the best-selling gadgets around and have become much refined in recent years. If you owned a Kindle when they were first released and weren’t entirely convinced, that might change when you grab the latest generation of Amazon Kindles. Not only are they extremely light, but the screen is superb, reading like paper even in bright sunlight.
Kindles are an essential travel companion for book-lovers or anyone else who likes to read on holiday, and they won't break the bank either. It's worth noting that there are two versions; Kindles with ads and without ads. The latter costs just £10 more - a wise investment considering how long these devices last.
17: GoPros and action cameras
You don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie to get loads of use from a GoPro. GoPros and other action cameras are a superb way of capturing your holiday from your own POV. Unlike most conventional cameras, they’re tiny and highly portable, and recent models boast 4k video as well as ultra-HD image capture.
The GoPro Hero 9 is exquisitely made; it’s fully waterproof, can shoot 5k videos (yes, 5k) and has a 23.6mp image sensor to boot. ApexCam are valiant competitors, offering a 4k action camera for a fraction of the price.
18: Travel bag sets
From the exciting to the slightly more mundane but enduringly useful; the travel bag. Travel bags divide into a few categories, including carry-on bags and hold luggage, travel backpacks and rucksacks, duffel bags and dry bags.
Carry on bags such as this portable Amazon Basics hard-case bag are hand-luggage approved by most airlines. Always check before you travel, though!
Overnight and weekender bags are lighter-weight options, perfect for city breaks and short trips.
For camping and outdoor pursuits, you’ll need a dry bag. These superb well-reviewed dry bags come in a variety of sizes and promise to keep your stuff dry no matter what you throw at them. Toiletry travel bag sets are also crucial to preventing leakage and help organise any hand and face washes, cleansers, makeup and medication.
If you’re looking for a trekking bag, you’ll struggle to beat reputable brands such as Regatta and Trespass, though G4Free bags have made a name for themselves on Amazon.
Tom Payne from (Tech) for Travel also stressed the importance of a good bag, telling Age Times: "Luggage is a very personal choice, however, the importance of choosing the correct backpack should never be overlooked. Some key features to consider are padded shoulder straps with suspension support, concealed security pockets for valuables and a luggage strap to secure the backpack to a suitcase handle."
19: Portable WiFi hotspots
Connecting devices to the internet on the go can be a conundrum. Portable WiFi hotspots use sim cards bought abroad or before travelling and convert 4G or 3G mobile internet into a stable WiFi connection.
So, if you buy a local sim card, you can simply slot it into your WiFi hotspot and connect your devices to that, as opposed to inserting the sim card into your cell phone and using that to create a WiFi hotspot.
There are a few reputable options here but trusted brand TP-Link’s WiFi hotspots have excellent battery life and support multiple sim cards. In addition, they're compatible with most international mobile internet carriers. Once you're up and running, you can connect any wireless device to your hotspot using WiFi and access all your favourite apps and internet content.
20: Keychain alarms
Rounding off the list, we recommend grabbing some personal keychain alarms. In an emergency, you simply pull the safety pin from the alarm and press the button. These alarms are exceptionally loud, which acts as a potent deterrent in itself.
This 3-pack of personal alarms is ideal for handing out to friends or family members, or you can throw some spares in your bag and luggage just in case.