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Overrated Travel Gadgets That You Don’t Need

Technology has made our lives so much easier, especially on the move. Google Maps stop us from ever getting lost again, e-readers mean we can carry an endless supply of books with us wherever we go, and iPods ensure we never have to interact with garrulous locals on the bus (…kidding!).

However, in the need to constantly innovate and impress, some inventors are so desperate to dazzle that they sometimes come up with completely useless travel gadgets. Some of these sound great in theory but turn out to be ineffective in practice, others are just a terrible idea from the get-go.

Here’s a look at eight of the most overrated inventions from the world of travel gadgets:

Solar chargers

Okay, okay, so this one sounds fantastic in theory – charge all of your gadgetry by harnessing the power of the Sun wherever you go… except that it doesn’t. Not only do they take an age to charge up, they’re also frequently only able to impart a small burst of energy to your device – and that’s if you can locate the right attachment. In the increasingly advanced world of smartphone battery packs and electronic chargers, the solar charger is on the verge of super-nova.

Personal air purifiers

Purporting to purify the air around you wherever you go, these little devices come in the form of a necklace or a wristwatch. They might make the perfect present for germ-freaks or OCD-sufferers, but they usually have no more than a placebo effect… unless of course, you only inhale from the vicinity of your wrist at all times.

Travel pillows

These come in various guises, from faux neck brace chic to full pillow strap-on helmet. All of them claim to support your neck and head, which they achieve with varying degrees of success… but 100% of the models make you look absolutely ridiculous. Plus, they take up unnecessary baggage space, which can cause a real problem in today’s world of extortionate excess fees. If you’re committed, though, try an inflatable pillow so that you can pack it more easily.

Compression clothing bags

Whilst sucking all of the air out of your individualised clothing bags might save you space in your luggage, it certainly won’t save you money. You can get essentially the same benefits of expensive vacuum bags with inexpensive bin bags or plastic carrier bags, if you roll them from the bottom up so the air can’t re-enter the bag. For more tips on how to pack like a pro, check out these handy tips.

Compression clothing bags

Shoe bags

Designed to safeguard the rest of your belongings from dirt when you pack soiled trainers in with your delicates, these cotton bags are far more expensive than plastic bags—and far less waterproof. Take the sensible option and make a Bag for Life friends for life with your footwear.

Travel socks

Aeroplanes, trains and bus journeys can take a long time, and there’s nothing worse than having cold feet when you’re trying to sleep. The solution? Over-sized, thin, poorly-made travel socks which can go over your normal hosiery! Or… just thicker socks in the first place.

Wi-Fi detector

Ever wondered if the café, bar or restaurant you’re sitting in has Wi-Fi? Why go through the hassle of manually switching on your smartphone, laptop or other device and checking yourself when your completely unnecessary middle-man, the Wi-Fi detector, can do it for you?

Selfie sticks

This one is sure to raise a few eyebrows and heat up a few collars, but tourist attractions around the world have begun to ban these extendable photo aids. Why? Because selfie sticks run the risk of damaging the architecture, artwork or patrons of some of the world’s finest tourist destinations, that’s why. So leave that stick at home and instead just ask someone to take a photo for you, like we did in the good old days

#SelfieSticks are fun for the whole family!   A photo posted by Pure Gear (@puregear) on

What do you think are overrated travel gadgets? Or do you think we’re being too hard on the poor old travel pillow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!