Travel Accessories That Aren’t Worth the Money and You Don’t Need from Sundance Vacations
Here at Sundance Vacations, we always see companies marketing their latest “must-have” travel accessories as “Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Needed,” but how about travel accessories you don’t need?
Oftentimes these clever accessories seem like a neat idea, and are certainly unique ways to solve your vacation worries or make your trip easier, however, a lot of them are just plain unnecessary.
These companies invest thousands of dollars to make products to solve problems you didn’t even know you had! Yes, some products can be very useful, but there are also a lot of travel accessories you don’t need to pack.
Before you argue that your selfie stick was worth every penny of the $5 you spent on it at your local 5Below store, keep in mind that we are talking about more than just your sweet dollar store finds.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the more expensive products that Sundance Vacations deems superfluous spends!
RFID Protected Accessories – Wallet, Purses, Bags, Etc.
Many companies have recently started releasing RFID (radio-frequency identification) protected products, proudly boasting that their line of expensive accessories will protect your from credit card fraud while on vacation.
We’ve all heard the whispers of how thieves are using devices to scan your wallet as you walk by, and unbeknownst to you, leaving with your credit card information. That does sound frightening, but part of this fear stems from a misunderstanding of RFID technology.
The little visible chip on the front of your card is not a RFID chip, it indicates you have an EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) card, which is a new global standard that incorporates computer chips to authenticate transactions.
Instead of the stationary bar strip on the back of each card that can be easily replicated and counterfeited, these new chips create a unique transaction code for each transaction that cannot be used again. This means that if a person stole your chip information from one specific sale, the card would be denied if they tried to use that same data again on another purchase.
Long story short, these EMV chips are NOT the worry and are not the things that scammers try to steal.
What thieves could be after, however, is a RFID-enabled credit or debit card.
What is that?
RFID, or radio frequency identification cards, are marketed for wireless payment such as PayPass, Blink, PayWave, Express Pay and more.
In fact, according to Roger A. Grimes, an InfoWord security columnist with over 40 computer certifications and eight published books on computer security, these cards don’t even represent a statistically significant number of Americans to be worth the worry.
“It’s not zero percent,” Grimes commented about the number of people who have an RFID-enabled card. “But, it’s so far below one percent that it might as well be zero percent.”
It’s also important to note that even if you do have one of these RFID cards, most hackers have far bigger targets than attempting to steal one person’s information on a street corner.
“It would be a lousy use of a criminal mastermind’s time,” Grimes said. “Today’s smart criminals break into websites and steal hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of credit cards at a time. Why would a criminal go to the effort and expense — RFID readers are expensive! — of stealing credit card info one card at a time when you can steal a million in one shot?”
Now passports do contain RFID chips as well, however the chip can only be read if the sleeve of the passport booklet is open; if your passport booklet is closed, hackers can’t scan through it. This is a new security feature of passport booklets released after 2008.
Still think it’s still worth the extra protection to be safe? Go ahead and invest in an RFID protected wallet, but be sure that your card even has RFID technology inside it first! Still, this is really one of those traveler accessories you don’t need to pack on your vacation!
You’ve seen the ads for high-tech, smart luggage like Bluesmart and are considering spending the $449 to buy a souped-up suitcase that serves all your needs.
These luggage carriers connect to your smart phone to give you alerts and special control of your travel bag. It has a digitally-controlled lock to secure your bag right from your phone and boasts a host of other options like: trip data and location tracking, a built-in scale and battery charger and a few other features to make traveling hassle free.
You would never have to worry about finding an outlet to charge your devices with the two USB ports, plus, the bag has a built-in laptop storage compartment, allowing you to ditch your 15” carrying bag.
Some reviewers, however, claim the gadgets aren’t all they are talked up to be and why we rank it under travel accessories you don’t need to pack.
Teena Maddox, a writer for Tech Republic, had this to say about her smart luggage’s reliability in her article Do you need a smart suitcase? 5 things to know before you buy.
“The battery on all of the suitcases lost its charge fairly quickly, even if you don’t use the USB ports,” Maddox said. “It takes approximately eight hours to fully charge any of the bags I tested, and after five days, each bag was already down to under 10 percent battery life and needed to be recharged the night before my return flight home.”
It also comes with a two-year warranty against defects, but it’s really a matter of asking yourself how often you’ll use that bag in that time. If you do international business and travel for work more than once every few months, it might be something to consider, but for our once-or-twice-a-year vacationers, will you get your money’s worth?
Other similar bags such as Raden’s smart luggage offer similar products at a slightly smaller cost such as the A22 Carry that costs $295. Still a hefty cost!
Most of the features end up being totally superfluous for the average traveler’s needs, and although this may seem like the perfect carry-on bag, is it worth the splurge?
Gimmicky Travel Clothing for Hiding Personal Belongings
For some reason, anyone that travels, even within the United States, thinks that they are going to be pickpocketed or mugged! Because of this, oftentimes irrational, fear, weary travelers buy any travel accessories they can find that hides money.
Here are just a few of the ridiculous travel accessories people pack:
The Money Belt
Everyone knows wearing a fanny pack is a true giveaway that you’re a tourist, so in an act of desperation to blend in, some travelers try to get creative.
Thus the leather security money belt.
This belt truly looks like a traditional belt and comes in black or brown, and has a 20-inch zipper pocket to stuff folded cash.
The belt is $49.95 and likely a bigger loss of money than the actual cash you will be carrying with you at any given time on vacation. Besides, everyone carries cards now and those can be easily canceled if stolen.
The same company, Corporate Travel Safety, sells a TSA friendly belt for $16.95 that has a black metal-free, polycarbonate buckle and zipper and won’t set off airport security alarms.
Secret Pocket Shirts
Although these products are marketed as “secret pocket” clothing, there is nothing secret about that huge pocket dead center on your chest. That’s why these made it on our list of travel accessories you don’t need to pack. The shirts have a zipper to keep your valuables secured and the chances of a pick pocket getting it open are very slim since they’d have to be right in your face.
These shirts are $29.90, not including shipping, and are a pretty steep price to pay for a T-shirt. Clever Travel Companion makes tank tops, leggings, v-necks and more to protect your cash.
And if that’s not enough, they sell men’s boxer briefs and women’s cotton underwear to add a second layer of clothing into the mix.
A surprising number of travelers think these underpants are genius and have raved about their Men’s Cotton Boxer Briefs with Secret Pockets online, but are these accessories truly necessary?
Benjamin Thomas offered a bit of advice on the review he left on Clever Travel Companions website about his secret pocket boxers.
“When traveling – DO NOT load up the pockets before going through airport security,” Thomas said. “[I] was singled out for enhanced screening in a private room. I had to disrobe and empty the pockets to show them they wasn’t anything nefarious in the pockets.”
Skip the strip-down on the way through security and just keep your money in your jean pockets or purse like the rest of us.
SlotFlops have a hidden compartment in the shoe to stash money and cards and are sometimes seen through retailers such as Wal-Mart or Brookstone.
They offer a natural arch support and have a side flap sealed with a hook and velco-loop to protect your valuables.
There is enough room in each shoe to fit a card, cash and even a flat key so some travelers like to wear these to the pool so they don’t have to carry a purse or bag.
For $24.95, these shoes aren’t as spendy as some of the other travel accessories we reviewed, but they still might be an unnecessary purchase for your vacation.
If the point of these sandals is convenience and the freedom to not carry your money or keys, then they do the job. If your goal was to sneakily conceal your money, the compartments aren’t exactly hidden, and because they don’t strap on, these shoes could easily be stolen off your foot by a desperate thief.
Check out some of our suggestions for travel accessories that are worth packing:
Ditch the Travel Accessories You Don’t Need
Now that you know some facts about those travel accessories you don’t need, we hope that you only pack what you really will use on your trip!
Share this “Travel Accessories You Don’t Need to Pack” story with your friends and family to encourage them to say no to these high-priced travel gadgets and opt to save that money to use on their vacation!
Going on a trip this winter that you’re not sure how to pack for? Check out our Winter Vacation Packing List.
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