Travel Gadgets You Never Thought You Needed

Gadgets for Traveling You Never Thought You Needed (Until Now…)

Many of our readers spend a bunch of time traveling. Perhaps it’s just a small trip to the beach or a longer trip to visit family and friends in our ‘before’ countries. 

Regardless of the destination, we all have our little gadgets for traveling that we just can’t seem to live without. 

It can be hard to keep up with the latest gadgets, so we’ve compiled this guide to do the heavy lifting for you. 

Don’t see your latest ‘must-have’ gadget in the list? Feel free to provide it in the comments at the end of the article. 

Right, here we go. 

1. Gimbal

Gimbal Gadget for Traveling
Gimbals are just awesome for videos. But don’t tell anyone or we’ll be flooded with more YouTubers lol [image:]

What is it? 

Ever watched a shaky YouTube video that made you a little nauseous? They didn’t have a gimbal. Think of it as a fancy selfie stick for taking videos on the fly. It auto-equalizes using motors across each axis. 

Why should you buy it? 

Anyone that wants to up their video game should invest in a gimbal. Period. It completely changed the way we created videos for our Expats Ecuador channel and it’s quite fun to use once you get the hang of it. 

Like most specialist electronics, gimbals can be a little hard to find in Ecuador. I did find a good supplier in Quito where I did purchase one, but it was 50% more expensive than the same model on Amazon (which I had to return because of a power issue). 

2. Secret safes

Belf safe and hairbrush safe gadgets for traveling
Hide your stash with these portable safes

What is it? 

Somewhere to hide your money that an opportunist mugger won’t think to look in the heat of the moment. 

These come in a range of different forms. Two of my favorites are: 

  • Hairbrush safe: Money is rolled up and kept in a secret compartment. How 007. 
  • Belt safe: Money is folded and kept on the inside of the belt – sometimes in a zip, sometimes in a secret compartment. 

Why should you buy it? 

Whilst I do generally consider Cuenca a safe city, we can’t deny that opportunistic thefts have increased since the pandemic as more people struggle to just get by. 

Keeping your valuables out of sight is a proven method to decrease your chances of being robbed. But, securely hiding these in a secret compartment takes this one step further by removing any possibility of you accidentally flashing wads of cash around. 

They are also useful for storing cash in your hotel room to decrease the likelihood of any workers helping themselves to your hard-earned travel kitty. 

3. Portable door alarms

Door Stop Alarm Gadget for Traveling
Throw one of these next to your door & sleep like a baby (hopefully with less crying than Billy, our 2 month old lol)

What is it?

Speaking of hotel security, door alarms are next on our list. These come in various types, the two that we’ve come across are: 

Door handle alarm

Put these on a door handle and it will start screaming as soon as the handle is moved which triggers the motion sensors. 

As these rely on motion sensors, they are really quite versatile. You can also put them in drawers, in suitcases or inside anything you don’t want to be moved. If someone moves it, the alarm will trigger. 

Door stopper alarm

Jam this little stopper by your door and it will trigger if someone tries to open the door. Beats the old beer bottle balancing on the knob trick…

Why should you buy it? 

Choosing secure accommodation can be easier said than done. Especially if you’re staying in remote or rural areas where you have limited accommodation options. These small security items that also have a small price tag can be well worth it if you value peace of mind. 

4. Emergency Rain Poncho

Emergency Rain Poncho Gadget for Traveling

What is it?

A small poncho you can keep in your bag, pocket, or even stash it in your new hairbrush safe if you really need to save space. 

These are super lightweight and come in very handy in emergency situations such as your car tipping over in the Cajas because you blindly followed Google Maps… 

But Google Maps Says...
From our Cuenca Yapas and Friends Facebook Group. Come, join us.

Why should you buy it? 

The chance of it raining on any one day in Cuenca varies between 13% & 53%, depending on the time of the year. 

And, Cuenca has a reputation for squeezing 4 seasons into 1 day. 

This means it’s highly likely you will be rained on in Cuenca when you aren’t expecting it. I know I routinely get caught and have to resort to a quick (or long) dash to the car or other shelter. 

Umbrellas are the obvious choice, but they can be super bulky and flip inside out at the 1st sign of wind. 

Thankfully, you thought ahead and can whip out your emergency poncho so you remain dry and warm. 

5. Personal water filter

Lifestraw Personal Water Filter Gadget for Traveling
Lifestraw is one of the most popular personal water filters available. Pick one up in Cuenca before venturing into the wild.

What is it? 

A water filter that is portable enough to fit in your day pack without taking up much space. The technology behind some of these is really quite impressive. We particularly like the design and functionality of the LifeStraw, but there are numerous other worthy options out there too. 

Why should you buy it? 

Cuenca happens to be one of the few cities in Ecuador where the water is generally considered safe to drink. Thank you beautiful Cajas. 

Move even a little bit outside of Cuenca and you’ll find that expats start to choose bottled or filtered water. 

But, try hiking through the Andes with a 5-gallon jug strapped to your back. Not ideal. 

Enter personal water filters. Whip one out of your day pack and you now have safe access to natural water sources. 

6. Language translator

Voice Translator Gadget for Traveling
Voice translators can help you out even if you don’t have internet

What is it? 

A digital device about the size of a small phone that translates your voice from one language into another. The best bit, no internet access is needed. 

Why should you buy it? 

You’ve got Google Translate on your phone already. This is great when you just need to text & you have internet access.

But, cell phone coverage can be less than reliable and Google Translate only works with text, not voice. 

A digital language translator can translate your voice from English to Spanish (and vice versa) whilst you are offline. Perfect for those remote treks – or even to the local tienda that never has cell phone coverage for some reason. 

7. EMF shields

EMF Phone Pouch and Clothes Gadgets for Traveling
Hats and Phone Pouches are two popular products for EMF protection

What is it? 

A device that prevents radiation from passing through. Common examples include mobile phone pouches and clothing. 

Why should you buy it? 

This one isn’t for everyone. It isn’t even for me. Honestly, I only learnt that EMF was a thing after watching Better Call Saul on Netflix. 

But, I also understand that it’s a very important issue for some people and these types of products can be difficult to find in Ecuador. 

I know that they are available at Cosas Prep, a YapaTree card partner, so I’m including it mainly to provide a buying option for those readers that do suffer from EMF. 

Where to buy these travel gadgets in Cuenca?

Cosas Prep stocks most of the products mentioned here. The only product from this list I’m confident they don’t currently stock is the gimbal (I purchased my Zhiyun gimbal from DigitalBox in Quito). 

YapaTree cardholders receive 8% off all products purchased in either of Cosa Prep’s two Cuenca shops: 

Store 1: Inside the Sunrise Cafe at Calle Larga 9-40 or

Store 2: Simon Bolivar 13-49 y Estevez de Toral;

Not in Cuenca, that’s ok, Cosas Prep still has you covered with their online store and delivery throughout Ecuador (Servientrega). 

If any of these gadgets have changed your life, we’d love to hear about it below. Or think we’ve missed something important out? Please let us know in the comments and we’ll keep it up our sleeve for future article updates

And remember, don’t forget your yapa. 

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