Holiday essentials: simple steps to make your holidays as easy as possible

Gear that’s guaranteed to make your life easier

Amazon fire Kids tablet, Amazon Kindle e-reader and Belkin power bank - holiday tech

by Steven Shaw |
Updated on

Going on holiday is something we all look forward to. Whether you like to lounge by a pool, go on epic adventures, or you’re something of a culture vulture, almost any holiday has one thing in common: packing. And between clothes, paperwork, and tech essentials for your holiday, there’s a lot to remember. That’s why we’ve put together a list of holiday essentials to help make your life that little bit easier.

While travelling can be a lot of fun, it can also be extremely stressful. Does your phone that has your e-ticket stored on it have enough battery to make it through check-in? Is your bag heavier than you thought, and now you’re about to be hit with excess luggage charges? Whether you’re flying solo, travelling as a twosome, or doing something family-friendly, the items we’ve listed are designed to help make your life as easy as possible, no matter what you’re getting up to.

The best holiday essentials at a glance:

The best item tracker: Tile Essentials Pack – View on Amazon

The best travel adapter: Go Travel Worldwide and USB Travel Adaptor – View on John Lewis

The best luggage scales: Samsonite Electronic Luggage Scale – View on Amazon

The best power bank: Anker Prime Power Bank – View on Amazon

Amazon Kindle in a kindle case
©What's The Best/Steven Shaw

Our picks will make sure you’re packed and ready for your holiday, with as little stress as possible. From keeping track of your luggage, keeping the kids occupied in the airport lounge, to making sure you have something to read by the poolside, here are our top holiday essentials.

Top holiday essentials for 2024

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best item tracker

Expert rating:
5.0
William Lobley/What's The Best
Alternative retailers
Target$79.99View offer
Best Buy$79.99View offer

Whether you’re arriving at your destination or making your way home at the end of your trip, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend hours dealing with a lost luggage issue. An item tracker, slipped into your suitcase, will ensure you know where it is. But it isn’t just for luggage. Item trackers can be helpful for tracking your backpack, wallet, phone, or a set of keys. 

The Tile Essentials pack comes with two “mates” which can be easily added to a keyring, a “slim” which is perfect for slipping into a wallet, and one sticker, which you can attach to something like a laptop, for example. The battery lasts for up to three years too, and Tile is compatible with both Android and iOS. You can read our Tile review for more information.

Pros

  • Excellent tracking and widespread anonymous network
  • Defended against dust and water
  • Versatile selection in the kit

Cons

  • Better features locked behind paywall
  • Batteries can’t be changed
  • Design
    5.0
  • Build
    5.0
  • Features
    4.0
  • Value
    4.5
CompatibilityiOS and Android
BatteryThree years

Best travel adaptor

Expert rating:
4.5
Go Travel
Worldwide & USB Travel AdaptorGo Travel
Price: $46.26
Alternative retailers
Macy's$49.99View offer

Before we go overseas, we’ve probably all found ourselves wondering what sort of sockets are used in whichever country we’re visiting. There’s then the usual problem of rummaging through the Drawer of Forgotten Things to try and find the adaptor you’re fairly sure you used to have, to see if it’s the right one. If you’re planning to visit more than one country, this can become even more confusing.  

Happily, the Go Travel Worldwide and USB Travel Adapter works with a traditional 3-pin UK plug and is suitable for sockets in over 190 countries around the world. This all-in-one solution has three sliding plug faces that can alternate between different configurations, including American, British, and Australian/Chinese. There’s a detachable adaptor which is suitable for most European countries. It also has two USB ports, so you can charge more than one item at a time.

Pros

  • Works in over 190 countries
  • USB-ports
  • Can charge multiple devices at once

Cons

  • Won't work in every country around the world
  • Design
    4.0
  • Build
    5.0
  • Features
    4.5
  • Value
    4.0
Ports2 x USB
CompatibilityAmerican, British, Australian, Chinese, and detachable euro adaptor

Best luggage scale

Expert rating:
5.0
Samsonite Electronic Luggage ScaleSamsonite

Rrp: $25.00

Price: $19.60

Different airlines have different rules about how big or how heavy your luggage can be. And carrying a bag that exceeds a weight limit can lead to extra charges – some of which can be extremely expensive. It’s a similar story with hand luggage, which could end up being put in the hold if the bag is too big. Thankfully, this Samsonite luggage scale can help avoid these situations. 

It can weigh luggage weighing up to 80lbs/36kg, which is likely enough for all but the biggest of suitcases. There’s even a built-in measuring tape so you can check the dimensions of your bag before you travel, so you can repack your bags to make sure they come in under the weight threshold. It’s small, and easy to pack as well, so it’s just as useful on the way home.

Pros

  • Can weigh luggage up to 80lbs
  • Built-in measuring tape to check the dimensions of luggage before travel
  • LCD display is easy to read

Cons

  • Some luggage scales can weigh heavier luggage
  • Design
    4.5
  • Build
    4.5
  • Features
    4.0
  • Value
    3.0
DisplayLCD
Dimensions10.16 x 31.12 x 29.85 cm
Weight145.15 grams

Best power bank

Expert rating:
5.0
Kyle Purves - What's the Best
Price: $129.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$89.98View offer
Best Buy$129.99View offer
Newegg$129.99View offer

Travelling with tech always carries the possibility of running out of juice at the wrong moment. This is an even greater concern with the increasing use of e-tickets rather than paper ones, when a dead battery could stop you from boarding your flight. A power bank can put an end to battery anxiety once and for all, with the 20000mAh battery enough to recharge most modern phones multiple times. It can even recharge a MacBook Air or Steam Deck, if necessary.  

The Anker Prime also has a USB-A and two USB-C connections, so you can recharge more than one device at a time. The built-in digital display will let you know how much charge is left in the power bank, so you can make sure it’s got enough charge for your other gadgets. You can read our review of the Anker Prime Power Bank here

A power bank will need to go in your hand luggage, not the hold, and this is quite a large device. If you want something a little more compact, or don’t need as much power, then the Anker 313 Portable Charger, or the Anker Nano Power Bank are both good alternatives.

Pros

  • Great battery capacity
  • Handy display
  • Charges multiple devices quickly

Cons

  • Very durable, but can be hefty
  • Overall
    4.5
  • Charge
    5.0
  • Value
    4.0
  • Portability
    4.5
Dimensions4.9 × 2.1 × 1.9 inch
ConnectionsUSB-C x 2, USB-A x 1
Charging output200 W
Recharge100 W
Capacity20,000mAh

Best waterproof tech pouch

Expert rating:
4.5
Spigen Aqua Shield Waterproof Dry BagSpigen
Price: $24.78

Whether you’re on the beach or by the pool, the chances are you’ll enjoy the water more than your tech will. While many modern devices do have some water ingress protection, there are still limits to how deep, and for how long, they can be submerged without damage. And if you’ve got small children, the chances of a phone, tablet or other device being mistakenly dropped into the water are almost certainly increased. A waterproof tech pouch is a great way of reducing any expensive accidents. 

Spigen’s Aqua Shield Waterproof Dry Bag helps to make sure all your valuable tech is kept safe from water damage. The main rucksack has a 20L capacity, while it also comes with a 2L pouch for smaller items. It can be worn as a backpack or crossbody bag, and it has an IPX6 certification, meaning it’s built to withstand powerful water jets. This makes it ideal for anyone who’s going to be taking it kayaking, paddle boarding, snowboarding or skiing, for example. 

It doesn’t have to be used exclusively for your tech either; the water resistance means it will also keep your lunch dry. Nobody wants soggy sandwiches.

Pros

  • Large rucksack and smaller pouch for versatility
  • Durable design
  • Different ways to wear it, depending on what you're doing

Cons

  • Roll top closure design may be fiddly for some
  • Design
    4.0
  • Build
    4.5
  • Features
    3.0
  • Value
    4.0
Capacity20l and 2L
Dimensions57 x 40 x 40 cm
Weight511 g

Best phone camera tripod

Expert rating:
4.0
Joby GorillaPod Mobile MiniJoby
Price: $16.95

One of the joys of owning one of the best smartphones for photography is that you’ll always have a great camera close at hand. But despite how great these phones are, there are still times when having a little bit more stability can come in handy. If you’re hoping to land some perfect photos from your holiday, the Joby GorillaPod Mobile Mini could be a great companion in this scenario. Weighing 10oz/283g, it’s compact enough to fit in a small bag, or even some pockets.  

The flexible legs are easily adjusted, to help make sure you can get a level view on any surface. The jaws can hold regular or plus-sized smartphones, and the rubber coating means your handset will be protected from damage. It also works even if your phone is already in a case.

Pros

  • Flexible legs to allow for stability on uneven surfaces
  • Rubber coated jaw helps grip your phone
  • Compact size means it's easy to transport

Cons

  • Limited height may not allow for good positioning in all situations
  • Design
    4.0
  • Build
    4.0
  • Value
    4.0
MaterialPlastic
Maximum height10 cm
Weight60 grams

Best tablet for kids

Expert rating:
4.0

No holiday essentials list would be complete without suggesting ways to keep the kids occupied at certain times. Maybe you’re stuck in an airport lounge waiting for a delayed flight. Maybe you’re trapped indoors due to bad weather. Or maybe you just need to encourage the kids to have some quiet time after an all-action day. Whatever the reason, an Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids tablet is a safe, age-appropriate way to provide your child with access to games, books, films and TV shows. 

Content is curated to be age appropriate, with options for 3–7-year-olds, and a “pro” version, suitable for 6–12-year-olds. An online parent dashboard gives parents control over downloads and purchases, so there’s no worries about children racking up a huge bill for purchases they’ve made by themselves. Parents can also add content from the likes of Netflix and Disney+. 

The Fire HD tablet also has battery life of up to 12-hours, and the Kid-Proof Case is designed to withstand drops and bumps. The screen is made from toughened glass, and Amazon even provides a two-year “worry-free” guarantee. Amazon says that if the tablet breaks, it will be replaced for free.

Pros

  • Amazon worry-free guarantee gives peace of mind
  • Parental controls are excellent
  • Durable case to help protect the tablet

Cons

  • Battery life isn't great
  • Touchscreen isn't the most responsive
  • Design
    4.0
  • Features
    4.0
  • Performance
    3.5
  • Value
    4.0
Display8-inch HD display, 1280 x 800 pixels
RAM2GB
Storage32 GB/64 GB (microSD up to 1TB)
PortsMicroSD, 2 x USB-C
Battery LifeUp to 13 hours
Dimensions222 x 180 x 27 mm
Weight518 grams

Best e-reader

Expert rating:
4.5
Kindle libraryRyan Houghton/WTB

One of the great things about a holiday is the chance to finally catch up on all that reading you haven’t quite managed to get around to. And out of the best e-readers, our pick is still the Amazon Kindle – arguably the best known of all the available brands. 

There’s plenty to love about the Kindle. A high-resolution, glare-free e-ink display that mimics the paper and ink of a traditional book is ideal for reading in bright sunshine. It weighs just 174g, making it lighter than most books, and easy to hold with one hand. The 16GB capacity is enough for literally thousands of books – far easier to carry in your hand luggage than a large collection of hardbacks would be.  

Battery life is similarly impressive, with a single charge lasting up to six weeks. And finally, there’s the option of Kindle Unlimited (£9.49 per month), effectively a subscription to a digital library service, giving you unlimited access to millions of books, and select magazine subscriptions. For any bookworm, it really is hard to beat. There are also plenty of great Kindle cases and other Kindle accessories to get the most out of it. 

Read our review of the Kindle (2022) here.

Pros

  • Storage for thousands of books
  • Excellent battery life
  • E-ink display reduces eye-strain

Cons

  • Kindle Unlimited is expensive
  • You have to pay extra if you don't want ads
  • Design
    4.5
  • Build
    4.5
  • Performance
    4.0
  • Value
    5.0
Display6-inch, 300 ppi, 16-level grayscale
Storage16GB
Battery LifeUp to six weeks (based on 30 minutes of reading per day)
ColoursBlack, Denim
Dimensions157.8 x 108.6 x 8.0 mm
Weight158 grams

Ready to fly?

An Amazon Kindle Kids tablet, Amazon Kindle e-reader and power bank
©What's The Best/Steven Shaw

Whether it’s weighing your luggage before boarding, making sure all your devices can still be charged while you’re away, or keeping everyone in the family entertained, there’s plenty to think about. And there’s always that nagging doubt that you might have forgotten something important.

With all that tech you’re probably packing, between phones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, and maybe one of the best handheld consoles, the chances are you’ll have a lot of chargers and cables to pack as well. One great way to minimise the number of wires in your bag is this 4-in-1 multi charger cable, which has USB-C, micro-USB and lightning cable connectors. It also means you can charge up to four devices at the same time.

We’ve given you a list of a few holiday essentials that will undoubtedly help make life a little bit (or a lot) easier as you go on your adventures. We just can’t be responsible for making sure you get to the airport on time.

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Steven Shaw is a senior tech product writer at What's the Best, with a keen interest in smart tech and wearables.

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