I know people who give the same kind of Christmas gifts over and over again, year after year. Some of them are useful, but why not infuse more fun into the gift-opening night or morning by getting your family and friends some gadgets that will surprise them and let them know that you personalized their gifts, tailored them to their interests and specific needs. Following are some such cool gadgets that I think pretty much every geek and traveler will be happy to receive this holiday season. They include electronic gizmos like a laser-projected keyboard, a mini foldable keyboard, and clipon camera lenses for smartphones, as well as some travel accessories that are needed more and more every day, like power banks, including a solar panel charger, a universal travel adapter with USB ports, and a digital luggage scale with lifetime warranty. For more fun and comfort I'm also presenting a popular bluetooth audio light bulb, sleep headphones, portable camping stoves, and more.
Cool Gadgets for Geeks and Travelers This Christmas, Many of Them Bargains Under $20
Popular and very useful gadgets that make great Christmas gifts for geeks and frequent travelers (and not only for them). Bargain tech products and outdoors gear. Updated Nov. 2020
Fiotok Retro Phone Handset
There are many phone handsets around, and they’re very popular these days, not only with geeks, but also with people looking to reduce radiation from their mobile phones. You can buy a retro desk phone that docks your smartphone, or just the phone handset. This one comes with noise reduction technology and a hands-free function.
This Fiotek handset is a nice retro phone made for comfort, great sound, and allowing you to easily work on your iPhone or Android phone if you need to while you talk. I think it will make a great Christmas gift for many people. Better than retro phone that also work as docking stations, because those may not fit all types of smartphones.
Fiotok Retro Handset / Retro Cell Phone Receiver, Anti Radiation
Camera Lens Kit for iPhones and Some Android Phones (Samsung Galaxy and others)
These camera lenses for smartphones have really taken off ever since they became popular on the market a few years ago. The Xenvo Pro lens kit is by far the most popular on Amazon at the time of my updating this article, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee. It includes a 0.45X Tru View Wide-Angle Lens and a 15X Clarus Macro Lens. The wide-angle lens captures 45% more elements in your images, and it does so with little distortions and no dark corners. The premium coated class also greatly reduces reflections and lens flares and other unwanted light effects.
The macro lens works best at half an inch from the object of your photograph.
The kit also includes a rechargeable natural LED light with three brightness settings. It also comes with a travel case and lanyard. A great Christmas gift for anyone who’s into high-quality mobile photography.
Xenvo Pro Wide-Angle and Macro Lens Kit for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Note, and Other Smartphones
Laser-Projected Virtual Keyboard
Another gadget that’s been popular lately, not only with geeks but also with people who travel a lot, is laser projected keyboards. They connect via Bluetooth and allow you to easily write long emails or posts about your trips as you travel light. What’s not to love? This virtual keyboard from AGS sells for $39.99 -- admittedly a little above $20, but not by much.
AGS Wireless Laser-Projected Keyboard
Foldable Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
A cheaper novelty keyboard for geeks and travelers is the flexible silicone keyboard, but it fell out of favor with users since some people found that certain keys didn't work properly. So instead of foldable flexible keyboards, savvy users and companies have veered onto very thin foldable plastic keyboards, like the one below from Jelly Comb, which is an Amazon's Choice (TM) at 29.99.
(NB: It's more expensive than $20 but that's what you get for better quality. In the first iteration of this article I had picked a silicone keyboard from Delicol, available for $12.80 from a seller on Amazon as I edit this.)
Jelly Comb Foldable Keyboard, Portable, Mini
Digital Luggage Scale
The market is now flooded with digital luggage scales (no more trying to fit your luggage over your bathroom scales!), but they’re not all made equal. This luggage scale from Tarriss Travel Gear has a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, out of thousands of customer reviews. Some of its plusses are that it’s accurate (even above 30 pounds), weighs up to 110 pounds, has a durable stainless steel design, and the company provides great customer service should you need any. It sells for $12.97 and comes with a lifetime warranty, which makes it a great stocking stuffer for travelers!
Tarriss Jetsetter Digital Luggage Scale, Lifetime Warranty
Universal Travel Adapter
This is not a new gadget by any means, but by its vary nature it's very popular with travelers. There are plenty worldwide adapters on the market, but they are not the same quality or with the same options. This one comes with four adapter plugs for more than 175 countries, and it's quite sturdy, compared to some other travel adapters, especially those with separate plugs. This one also includes 4 USB ports, which is very useful considering the scarcity of power sockets in most hotel and guesthouse rooms.
4.8 stars on Amazon from 867 reviews
Note that this plug adapter, like virtually all such travel adapters, is not a power converter, so you won’t be able to use things like hair dryers or irons, but you will be able to charge your phones, cameras, etc. Laptops are also generally fine to charge using travel adapters like this one. Available now from $19.95
Universal Plug Adapter with 4 USB Ports, All-in-One
Belkin SurgePlus Mini Travel Charger with 3 Outlets and 2 USB Ports
This mini charger from Belkin is a great gift for travelers within Type A countries (USA, Canada, Japan, and others) who need more outlets for their electronics and other gadgets, some of them chargeable via USB ports. This Belkin travel charger is also great because it comes with surge protection. It sells for $19.99.
Belkin Surge Protector and Charger, 3 AC Outlets and 2 USB Ports
Cute USB Hubs
For those looking only for more USB ports, there are many fun USB hubs out there.This "pink rabbit" one is currently Amazon's Choice (TM). It has 3 USB 2.0 ports and it can charge three devices at once fast. There is also another cute USB hub I'd like to include here, a Hubman with 4 hi-speed USB 2.0 ports.
USB Hubman, 4 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Ports
Wowoone USB Port Hub 3 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Ports
Ultra Thin INIU Power Bank / External Battery 1,000 mAh
INIU advertises this power bank as the thinnest 1,000 mAh on the market in 2020. They also say their external battery charges 1.4 times faster than some others, due to INIU's UPower+ technology. It also includes a flashlight. It's especially friendly to lovers of dogs and cats and other fur babies as it comes with a lit paw indicator.
This portable charger can come in handy if you use WhatsApp or the Internet a lot on your phone, or if you go places with poor reception, which also tend to use up your battery. The solution to this power drain are these portable chargers. At $16.99, it's one must-have gadget for both serious travelers and those of you going away someplace remote for the weekend.
Ultra Slim INIU Power Bank
Waterproof, Lightweight and Foldable Nekteck Portable Solar Charger
This portable solar panel charger works on SunPower Maxeon solar cell technology, which makes it better than other similar solar power banks on the market. It's also waterproof and highly durable, a great choice for camping or traveling in all sorts of weather. The Nektech solar charger power bank also has 2 USB ports. It's lightweight (it weighs only 23 oz) and foldable, and it comes with hooks and eyelets so you can easily wear it on your backpack.
A power bank that you can charge at home before leaving on a trip is always great when traveling, and having a solar one that charges on the go is even better. Great gift for campers and hikers! It's now available at $59.99
Nekteck 28W Portable Solar Panel Charger, 2 USB Ports
Audio Light Bulbs
There are many LED light bulbs with built-in speakers on the market nowadays. The TexSens ones appear to be the most popular right now. The one I'm showing below offers not only quality stereo music (with a nice bass), but it can also cycle or face through colors, or pulsate light in sync with the music. It's a nice gadget for late garden parties or for any parties at home, for that matter. An Amazon's Choice (TM) at $16.99. Note that it's not waterproof.
TexSens LED Light Bulb Bluetooth Speaker, with White and RGB Colored Light
Comfortable Sleep Headphones
Headphones are always a great gift for geeks, and these lycra headphones from CozyPhones are designed for extra comfort. They are wonderful for everything from plane travel to sports, meditation, relaxation, and snug drifts to the land of nod. No more aggravating earbuds! A great stocking stuffer, I’d say! Currently priced at $15.97.
CozyPhones Comfortable Sleep Headphones
Camping stoves come in many shapes and forms. I'm showing two designs, one from Ohuhu and the another from Hike Crew. The first one, made in stainless steel, works with whatever twigs and wood you can find as well as with solidified alcohol tablets, and it's both lightweight (0.8 pounds in all!) and collapsible.
The second one, also in stainless steel, is a propane grill and stove burner. It's more compact but it weighs 12 pounds, which to my mind makes it better suited for RVers rather than occasional campers, who'd rather travel more light, especially if they also hike to their camping grounds. This Hike Crew one has the advantage that the lid, when open, protects from the wind. It also comes with a ceramic griddle pan, which can be quite useful.
Both have their advantages, and the price is also something to take into consideration. Take your pick!
Ohuhu Portable Wood-Burning Camping Stove
Hike Crew 2-in-1 Portable Propane Gas Camping Stove
Sawyer Mini SP128 Water Filtration System
Sawyer Mini Personal Water Filter
With more people going camping than usual this year and possibly the next ones as well (and into the future, as they discover more of the beauty of nature in the wild), a water filter becomes a must, as not all hiking places have all the necessary amenities, or you may want to camp by a remote place by the beach sometimes, where you don't have a faucet, a minimarket, or a vending machine. For a budget option (around $20) I recommend the Sawyer Mini water filter. It has a 4.7 average score on Amazon out of over 18K reviews.
Foldable or Collapsible Water Bottles
If you're traveling light by day as a backpacker, it makes sense to use a foldable plastic water bottle. While not as sturdy as a collapsible bottle, it does make more room in your backback when empty and weighs less. On the other hand, if you're going camping in a van, you may want to use a collapsible version. I'm showing both.
Nefeeko Collapsible Water Bottle
Vapur Flexible Water Bottle
Emergency Radio / Flashlight / Solar Power Bank
The latest version of the Esky all-in-one emergency radio and flashlight is an Amazon's Choice for "hurricane radio." It has a 1000mAh battery that charges via USB, solar, or by hand crank, and according to reviewers its design is indeed durable and water-resistant as advertised. All this for $15.99. Very useful not only in home emergency but also on travels, and it's only a little larger in length than a large smartphone. It gets a 4.5 average score on Amazon out of almost 4K reviews. Some reviewers note that sometimes the product doesn't work well enough but it's easily replaced by Esky is this is the case.
Esky all-in-one flashlight / radio / power bank
BreakShield Emergency Tool 7-in-1 Device
7-in-1 Emergency Tool
If you're going to travel in a car, it's a good idea to be able to get out of it in case of an accident, or at least to be able to send an SOS siren and keep an SOS light on while waiting for help. This 7-in-1 emergency took from BreakShield can break car windows, cut seatbelts, flash an emergency red light and send an SOS alarm siren.
It can also be an emergency power bank for your phone if you manage to get out of your car in case of fire, for instance.
Possibly the Best Translator Gadget
On a happier note, here's a translator gadget for no less than 106 languages! That's 106 languages online and 8 languages offline. It uses both audio and text, and it comes with character-recognition online photo support for 44 languages.
It's a bit pricey at $129.99 but what a great gift for a globe trotter -- or simply for someone who looks to practice foreign languages at local ethnic stores, dance gatherings, you name it.
Birgus Language Translator Device
Have a great holiday season!
Enjoy the holiday season! I hope you will give and receive great gifts!