The traveler's guide to gaming on the go
Whether you are traveling by air, road, rail, or sea, here are the best gadgets to pack when you want to stay in the game.
Think about your gaming setup at home. There’s a comfy chair or sofa to power you through your session. Your audio settings have a just right mix of bass and treble. Maybe you even have a go-to drink (or snacks!) to refuel without delay.
Whether you’re traveling out of the country, headed to the beach, or simply spending a night away from home, you can still game in style. It just takes a little preparation.
Below, our recommendations for the ultimate gaming-on-the-go toolkit.
The right bag
Sure, you can stuff your favorite system in a suitcase or backpack, but it might not be the most practical choice if your itinerary involves many stops or particularly crowded modes of transit like buses or trains.
A day bag—less bulky than a backpack, more padded than a drawstring bag—is the solution.
For console gamers, the Rick Steves Civita Day Pack is a soft microfiber with three zippered compartments, a side pocket, and a mesh water bottle holder. The main compartment holds up to 850 cubic inches—about 300 more cubic inches than Sony’s PlayStation 5, giving you room for the cables and controllers that go with it. And when you’re done using the bag, you can easily roll it for storage.
For PC gamers, the TIMBUK2 x ASTRO Gaming BP35 Backpack comes with internal and rear sleeves that hold up to two laptops. A padded interior pocket provides ample room for controllers and cords, while the magnetic front-folded flap pocket eliminates the pesky issue of zippers getting caught.
A custom carrying case
OK, so a day bag isn’t good enough for your gear—got it. A carrying case tailored to your system of choice can protect your gear with a more customized fit.
Top choices include:
For Xbox Series X: At 15 pounds, the Case Club Compact Travel Case is hefty, but its hard shell and water and dust resistance (IP67 rated, it can be submerged without water penetration) will protect your XSX from just about anything that comes in its path. The pre-cut foam offers secure spots for the console, headset, controllers, and games.
For Switch: Nintendo’s Switch was designed to be played on the go, and this tomtoc Slim Carrying Case keeps that in mind. It’s slim and lightweight yet can still hold the Switch and up to 10 games.
For PS5: The USA GEAR PS5 Case gives you a durable home in a tidy 17x14x8-inch exterior. The interior is adjustable and spacious enough to store your console, controllers, headphones, cables, and other accessories.
For PC: The CURMIO Desktop Computer Tower and Monitor Carrying Case offers a thick, durable nylon shell that’s both wear- and water-resistant. As the name implies, there’s enough room here for a desktop tower and monitor, plus accessories like a keyboard, mouse, hard drive, and cables.
For Steam Deck: The JSAUX Carrying Case has an “anti-sloshing” belt to keep the case tight to your body while walking, running, or riding a bike. Its multiple pockets allow for Steam Deck docking, power banks, AC adapters, and more.
One more thing: Don’t forget a cleaning cloth to remove dust, smudges, dirt, and other grime that collects on your screens, keyboards, and controllers. For most systems, a simple microfiber cloth will do the trick.
The best headphones
We’ve come a long way from the days of Pong’s blips. Whether it’s the play-by-play of a sports game or the creepy sound effects of a horror title, audio is essential to today’s in-game experience.
Sure, sure, you could technically use your scuzzy earbuds for a quick gaming sesh, but why not try a little harder, eh?
Earbuds explicitly designed for gaming offer a far better experience. The Razer Hammerhead HyperSpeed wireless earbuds feature a low latency connection with dual Bluetooth and 2.4GHz. These earbuds also have active noise cancellation and dual environmental noise-canceling microphones, so if you need to communicate with a teammate or trash talk an opponent, you’ll come in sounding crystal clear.
If you prefer over-ear headphones, it’s hard to beat the combination of sound quality and price of the Wyze Noise-Canceling Headphones. Beyond the noise cancellation features, a transparency mode amplifies outside sounds—such as your coffee order being called out—while you still enjoy your audio, and they can auto pause if you need to take your headphones off your ears. They also charge very quickly; 10 minutes will give you four hours of battery life. Which is perfect for when you’re about to head out and realize the headphones are almost drained.
A portable charger or power bank
There’s perhaps no greater disappointment than your system powering down while you’re in the midst of competition. Having that portable charger or power bank handy saves those agonizing moments for those complex battles.
The Anker PowerCore 10000 is a small and light portable charger, delivering a quick charge for most devices that use a USB or micro-USB cable. It’s compact enough to fit into a pocket while on the move.
If you’re going overnight camping or traveling with a larger group, you may prefer the Apowking Portable Power Bank. This portable power bank has a capacity of 146Wh/39600mAh lithium-ion battery pack and features seven different outlets. Two AC outlets power laptops, tablets, fans, lights, and more, USB ports charge phones, and a DC 12V output charges more elaborate appliances, like a car vacuum. You also have three methods to recharge the power bank itself, including an energy-saving solar option.
In a perfect world, every country would use the same types of outlets and plugs. Unfortunately, there’s quite a variety worldwide, so an adapter is necessary to keep your items charged while portable gaming.
The Ceptics World Travel Adapter Kit is designed for international gamers on the go. It comes packed with six international adapters to fit outlets in nearly every country, all in a neat lightweight travel pouch. Even if you’re staying within your home country, this adapter features two USA outlets, two USB outlets, and a micro USB cable, letting you charge several devices at once.
Now that you know how your ultimate gaming on the go toolkit will look, there’s just one final decision to make: What will you play first?
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