Ostrich Pillow
The Ostrich Pillow

20 Utterly Ridiculous Travel Gadgets You Probably (Definitely) Don’t Need

Years ago, we published a list of our favorite completely ridiculous (and arguably useless) travel gadgets. We started to wonder about the latest developments in stupid travel gadget “innovation”.

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Thankfully, we weren’t disappointed. It’s clear that manufacturers are working harder than ever to create gadgets that you probably (definitely) don’t need. Here are twenty of our favorites …

#1: Hair of the Silence Ear Plugs

Hair of the Silence Ear Plugs

The photo should speak for itself, no? But Trendhunter reports: “the bright yellow ear plugs will completely fill up your ears and prevent any noise from reaching you, while the dark black hairs sticking out of your head are sure to scare away anyone who tries to disturb your blissful silence.” OK, so maybe they’re not entirely useless.

#2: Ostrich Pillow

Ostrich Pillow

We’re eager to post this without comment … but the Kickstarter project for this bit of insanity somehow raised nearly $200,000 USD (!). How?!

#3: Travel Door Alarm Stop

Travel Door Stop Alarm

Granted, the concept of a 100 db security/door alarm isn’t that bad. But, really, if you’re crashing at a motel with a high probability of an axe murderer breaking into your room … maybe you should consider shelling out an extra $10 for better accommodations.

#4: The Seatback Organizer for Obsessive Packers

Deluxe Seatback Travel Organizer

Seriously, how much sh*t do you pack for a 3-hour flight that you need like 68 pockets to organize it all?

#5: Sun-Mate Solar Powered Electric Fan Hat

Solar Safari Cool Hat

You remember on that last trek through Kruger when you were all, “Yeah, no … I’m pretty good. I just wish my hat had a little more built-in solar-powered electric fan power.” Your wish has been granted (and it looks quite stylish to boot!).

#6: Handheld Hotel Room “Inspector”

Handheld Blacklight Hotel "Inspector"

I think we can all agree that people are just animals. No where is this more evident than the state of the average hotel room. But you just don’t need a handheld black light “inspector” to confirm that room is in fact gross. I’ll save you the $15: it is. That’s just a fact of life on the road.

#7: Leather American Flag Fanny Pack

Leather American Flag Fanny Pack

I can think of few products that scream “Mug me!” more than this. ‘Merica!

#8: Portable Travel Sauna

Portable Sauna

This can’t be real. It just can’t be.

#9: GoGirl Female Urination Device (FUD)

GoGirl Female Urination Device (FUD)

I’ve been a man for most of my life. So I s’pose it’s unfair that I comment on this one. But I don’t see this catching on, in spite of the gal picture above who appears to be having a pisser (I’m here all week, folks). I’m sure a few ladies out there will tell me I’m dead wrong and that the FUD (food?) is the bee’s knees.

#10: Plane Sheets


These made our list in 2007. Lo and behold they’re still selling them (in cheetah print even!), so they’re making this year’s list too. Getaway describes them as “an extra layer between your bottom and back, and the supposedly horrendous germs and food stuffs left behind by other travellers.” If your level of germophobia is on par with What About Bob, you probably shouldn’t be traveling anyway.

#11: Personal Air Purifier

Sleeping man wearing Personal Air Purifier

[see previous comment] Some people need the world bubble-wrapped for them. But … at least it looks cool.

#12: Wireless Call Notifier Necklace Charm Thing

Wireless Call Notifier (gold)

From the manufacturer:

Most women carry their phones in their handbags, and miss 50% their calls.

(According to a survey they made up for this product page? Where are they getting these numbers?)

Attach the Wireless Call Notifier to your bag, and its flashing LED lights alert you to incoming calls. If a call is missed it continues to blink.

Do you think there’s somewhere on earth where all unsold, useless travel gadgets go to die? If so, I’ll hazard a guess that it’s full of a lot of these.

#13: Upright Sleeper Adult Pillow

Upright Sleeper Adult Pillow

It seems there’s an entire niche of travel gear for silly travel pillows. Hey, whatever works for you I guess …

#14: Stainless Steel Travel Chopsticks

Stainless Steel Travel Chopsticks

I’m guessing these are for the kind of hotshot who carries a $2K pen? I can’t imagine the level of hell I’d catch from my friends if I pulled out a pair of stainless steel chopsticks at the next hibachi night. The best part is that people are actually taking the time to review them? Don’t chopsticks kind of either work … or they don’t?

#15: Rufus Roo BIG Travel Jacket

Rufus Roo BIG Pocket Travel Jacket

I want to hate this. But the idea of being able to stick it to the airlines by skirting their insane baggage fees (in style!) brings me so much joy.

#16: Dual Voltage Travel Iron

Travel Iron

A travel iron? I pity the person who overpacks to this degree. If you’re the kind of traveler who cares to iron their clothes, chances are you’re already staying in a hotel with an in-room iron (or at least one that’s available from housekeeping). And if you’re not staying in a hotel with an iron (say a hostel or a tent), you probably don’t care all that much about ironing your clothes anyway.

#17: The GasBGon® Flatulence Odor Control Seat Cushion

GasBGon® flatulence odor control seat cushion

[A] high performance air filter designed to look and feel like a conventional seat cushion incorporating a sound dampening filter and a proprietary activated carbon odor filter. The seat cushion functions as a powerful passive control device to effectively muffle the sound and adsorb the odor associated with flatulence.

Sweet. I know a few folks who could benefit from this. I may pack a few to pass out on my next trip to particularly offensive seatmates.

#18: Quivvers Travel Pack

Quivvers Travel Pack

“It’s Fanny Pack REMIXXXXXX, bitches!” It’s stunning what actually gets funded on Kickstarter.

#19: Upright Sleeper

Upright Sleeper

If the Upright Sleeper Adult pillow above isn’t quite enough support for you; if your head weighs as much as a Fiat and only a rudimentary scaffolding device can hold it up properly … the Upright Sleeper is for you.

#20: Laptop Compubody Sock

Laptop Compubody Sock (concept)
© Becky Stern

Last and certainly least … the Laptop Compubody Sock (via Engadget). It’s thankfully just a concept for now, but give it time. You laugh, but there was a time when we all thought Twitter was pretty stupid too.

Founding Editor
  1. That’s what happens when people have too much free time, crazy things appear. Some of them almost look like some funny gadgets to own…maybe some parents of teenagers would actually buy the black light tester thingy…the last one is pretty scary though…

  2. Hi Mike,
    Thank you for making this list. I was surprised to see my travel gadget made it to your list and you provided a link to my site (www.hotelinspector.biz). I sold a couple today online and wanted to thank you for driving traffic to my site. You are absolutely correct, hotel rooms are gross but there are some items as guests that we expect to be clean like our pillow cases, bed sheets, toilets, etc. With a UV light such has the Hotel Inspector, you have proof to share with the hotel manager and can share your review on Trip Advisor for all to read and see how clean or how careless a hotel chain is. If you are paying a premium for your room, you expect it to be clean. Some people want to know and some peopled don’t For those that don’t want to know, I usually say, “then go ahead a sleep on that pillow with someone’s saliva or something else on it.” I enjoyed reading your list!

    1. @Gilda: Awesome – thanks for checking in!

      I’m thrilled you liked the list and even more thrilled that your product’s doing so well. It’s proof that I have no idea what I’m talking about with posts like this =)

  3. The Go Girl is similar to a device I take for hiking/backpacking trips. They are priceless when you’re on a crowded trail with nowhere to find privacy to do your business and you don’t want to drop your trousers. On Kilimanjaro, at one point, we were on a narrow trail with people ahead of us and people behind us, only option was for me to use mine and face into a wall of rocks.

  4. In China, India or some other countries in Asia toilets are mostlz just holes in the floor. I don’t have a big problem with that but a friend of mine would have to take off her shoes, socks and pants to be sure to not piss on them. I guess for that situation the go girl would come in pretty handy ;)

  5. +1 for the FUD! Also used it on kilimanjaro, and was grateful not to have to bare my butt to 100 other hikers. Have also used it on other trips where long car rides and lack of rest stops or other facilities, in environments with few trees and bushes, would put a girl without a FUD to a tough choice. It’s super lightweight too.

    1. Hahaha – thanks, Sarah!

      I’m a huge travel gadget geek and love the completely useless products almost as much as the ones that I actually use =)

  6. Christmas shopping this year…is not going to be helped by this post. :) But, that ostrich pillow looks way more comfortable than any of the airlines’ pillows.

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