Matador Team's Favorite Travel Gadgets

Technology + Gear
by Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström Dec 22, 2009
Lola Akinmade with nuns in Nicaragua

Shot by Photographer Cheryl Black.…Matador Goods editor Lola Akinmade with nuns in Nicaragua.

Just in time for the holidays, we’re sharing our favorite gadgets – those handy tools that keep us sane while traveling.
Lola Akinmade – Matador Goods Editor

While a Nikon D300 gets me those high quality, print ready travel shots, my favorite piece of equipment is a backup Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ5K point and shoot camera.

With a 10x wide angle zoom lens, 9 megapixels, video recording capability, and tons of quick access settings such as “candlelight” and “aerial” mode, this camera has captured some memorable travel photography; though it’s probably due for an upgrade to a newer Lumix model.

My “Anatomy of a Smörgåsbord” photo essay on Matador Life was shot using the Panasonic Lumix.


Michelle Schusterman – Matador Goods Associate Editor

At the risk of sounding like an Apple geek – which I am – I’d have to go with my iPod Touch.

Music, movies, Internet, Skype, plus forty applications that let me do everything from checking flights to editing, exporting, and printing documents.




Paul Sullivan – Matador Network Contributing Editor

I think the iPod touch would have to be my top gadget too. It’s just too ridiculously multifunctional and convenient to not be top of the list.

Second to that though would be a good old fashioned beer / wine bottle opener.

So many times my life has been saved and my sobriety beautifully ruined by that device.



Kate Sedgwick – Matador Nights Editor

I’m not sure if this counts as a gadget, but I can see Inspector Gadget using it, so I’m going to add the Utili-key to the list.

How many times have you needed a knife, screwdriver or bottle opener when you’ve packed light? As long as you have your keys, you’re every tool-less friend’s hero.

Though I can’t guarantee you’ll make it through without a hitch, I’ve never had mine confiscated by airline security as it’s always camouflaged by the other keys on the ring.

Won’t you feel smart when someone asks for a screwdriver and you can say, “Phillips or flathead?”


Travel Gadget
Tom Gates – Matador Nights Editor

I bought a water purification thing for $60 before I left.

It’s in the bottom of my bag, still wrapped, utterly useless (save a national emergency). I bought this all-in-one opener in Chile for $0.72 and I use it every day, for everything.

I’m pretty sure I could perform surgery with it, were it not covered with baked bean stains and rust. It really doesn’t matter which one but get yourself an all-in-one gadget.

MAKE SURE it can open cans (most don’t).


Carlo Alcos – Matador Trips Editor

For pure practicality, you can’t beat a headlamp.

Versatile, lightweight, and hands-free, the headlamp is the gift that keeps on giving.

A close second is the collapsible cup.

These come in handy with a corkscrew and a bottle of vino.



Leigh Shulman – Matador Life Editor

The Leatherman Super Tool 300.

From making peanut butter sandwiches and opening beers to light carpentry and fixing water tanks, there’s never been a time this thing couldn’t help us out.





Lindi Horton – Matador Sports Intern

While the iPod Touch would be high on my list of essential gadgets, most gadgets will not work for extended amounts of time without being charged.

My favorite gadget is the Kensington 33117 All-In-One Travel Adapter.

At a price tag of 17 US dollars, this all-in-one adapter allows me to charge up all of my electronics without taking up too much room in my backpack.


Hal Amen – Matador Trips Editor

Well, since Carlo already stole headlamp, I’ll go with my Casio PQ-10 travel alarm clock.


Hardly, but I love the little guy.

It’s been running on the same battery for like 3 years (that’s over a thousand mornings of multiple snoozes), and is loud enough to cut through the fog of whatever you might have been tossing back the night before.


Andy Hayes – Matador Network Twitter Ninja

I assume my iPhone does not qualify as a gadget, since it’s more of a lifestyle essential.

So… since I’m Location Independent, I’d give my vote to a Wi-Fi boosting antenna.





Christine Garvin – Brave New Traveler Editor

At the risk of sounding utterly boring and unoriginal (and probably a bit dated), my old Dell laptop was quite the little trouper.

Before it finally died because of a tragic incident involving my cat (cat is A-OK), it made it through many train rides in Europe and a week-long “Adventure tour” in Australia, along with being dragged on flights around the US, thrown next to me countless times on the BART train, and dropped on the floor of the passenger-side seat in my car because of a sudden stop or thirty.

Now, I’m testing out a refurbished Mac to see if it can take the same heat.


Candice Walsh – Matador Life Associate Editor

My Swiss Army Pen.

It writes underwater, upside down, and on glass (although I haven’t used it for those functions yet, it’s just a sweet, reliable pen).

AND it has a nail file!




Adam Roy – Matador Sports Editor

I can’t live without internet, and honestly, with all the photo editing and FTP uploading I have to do at Sports, it’s just easier to use my own laptop than to screw with internet cafes.

Mobile internet keeps me working.

In Argentina, I use a Claro USB mobile modem.

In the US, I use a Bluetooth dongle and my cell phone (a hand-me-down Katana II from Sprint).


Nancy Harder – Matador Network Intern

An earphone splitter so my husband and I only have to pack one iPod.

The best part is being able to share the same musical experience.






Have you got a favorite travel gadget? Please share it with us below.

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