By Explorer Gillian Birch  –  

The tourism and travel industry is moving east, with tropical destinations such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia high on the list of must-visit hotspots. However, if you want to stay comfortable, healthy and safe when you visit these exotic destinations with their different cultures and climates, it may mean carrying a few extra gadgets with you. Here are 10 travel gadgets that all tropical travellers should consider taking with them.

Toothpaste Tablets

Carrying a regular-sized toothpaste in your hand luggage is a no-no due to flight restrictions on liquids and gels. Toothpaste tablets are a great solution to this problem, allowing you to brush your teeth after an overnight flight before you’ve even claimed your bags. Take exactly the number of tablets you’ll need so there’s no carrying half-used tubes of toothpaste halfway around the world, saving you weight and space.

Toothpaste tablets, US$5.49 for a 60-count bottle.


Travelling in the tropics inevitably means a higher risk of bites and stings from mosquitos, spiders, no-see-ums, fleas and even jellyfish. Carrying this neat piezo zapper on your belt or key chain means you’ll always have a soothing remedy on hand when those red lumps start to itch. A press ofthe piezo zapper will emit a small electrical impulse onto a bite and inhibit histamine build-up. No toxic chemicals, no batteries – just fast relief in minutes. It’s easy for kids to use, too.

Zap-It, $11.95 – good for 1000 zaps!

UV Water Purifier

Potable tap water is taken for granted in the US and Europe, but in many other places that’s not the case. Although native people may be tolerant of local bacteria and pathogens, tourists and those on expeditions are likely to get a nasty stomach bug from drinking less-than-pure water. This neat water wand purifies water within 48 seconds, without the need for tablets or plug-ins. It means that everywhere you go, you can clean your teeth, make ice and drink the water once you’ve treated it with this almost-magical water wand.

SteriPEN Adventurer handheld UV water purifier, $70.07.

Luggage Tracker

You only need to lose your luggage once to realise the value of a luggage tracker. This nifty device sends you a text message or email when it detects it is near an airport. The gadget turns itself on when it senses landing, triangulates its position and tells you exactly which airport it’s arrived at. The purchase price includes one year’s cover, but after that you need to subscribe to the low-cost annual service plan.

Trakdot luggage tracker, $56.89.

Portable Laptop/Notebook Lock

Kensington Laptop Lock

Credit: Kensington

It’s hard to keep your hands on your laptop every single minute when travelling, but this portable notebook lock will give you peace of mind in cafes, restrooms or even when you’re sleeping. Its T-bar neatly locks to your laptop and the 6-feet of attached wire allows you to then fasten your computer to a fixed piece of furniture. It coils up to just three inches for packing.

Portable combination laptop lock, $24.99.

StashCard Safe

Couple the above laptop lock with a StashCard. It turns an unused PC card slot into a secure compartment for money, memory cards and other valuables.

StashCard, $9.95.

PacSafe Secure Camera Strap

Designed to prevent your camera or binoculars from being snatched, this slash-proof camera strap is embedded with stainless steel wire and is cushioned, allowing it to bend to your body. The strap has a mechanism for securing your camera to the neck strap for top security.

PacSafe camera strap, US$29.95.

USB Rechargeable Batteries

Need batteries for your mouse, handheld games or other gadgets? These USB rechargeable batteries can be charged using any USB port, saving you money and the hassle of having to carry spares.

USBCELL rechargeable batteries, GBP£17.99 for two AA batteries.

Smart Bag by Phorce

When your entire life is in your luggage, it could be a good idea to invest in a Phorce smart bag. Phorce makes a range of bags, briefcases and trolley bags for not only transporting all your electronics around with you, but they supply enough power to charge them, too. The bags include a lightweight battery pack with enough juice to fully charge a laptop or top up smartphones, noise-cancelling headphones, portable speakers, tablets, iPods, cameras and other USB devices. Phorce bags also have a useful alarm – if you ever leave it behind, in a taxi for example, as soon as it’s out of range of your smartphone, it notifies you so you can go back and retrieve it. Smart by name and smart by nature!

Phorce Freedom bag, from €199.

Insect Shield Repellent Clothing

If you plan to canoe up the Amazon or hike through tropical jungles, Insect Shield repellent clothing protects against mosquitos, ticks, fleas and flies that carry dengue fever, West Nile virus and malaria. The odourless technology treatment lasts for up to 70 washes and provides added protection when used in conjunction with DEET and other insect repellent treatments applied to exposed skin.

Insect Shield clothing, from $17.95.

As these travel products clearly show, you don’t have to spend a fortune to invest in some sensible health and safety gadgets to ensure you enjoy happy tropical travels.


Feature Image: UV Water Purifier,  SteriPEN