Best Smartphone Accessories.

The Best Accessories to Soup Up Your Smartphone (and Your Travel Pics)

Tech mishaps on vacation are more than a hassle—they can be a major trip-ruiner. Take it from us—navigating the back alleys of Tokyo is no time for your phone to die. Likewise, you don’t want to be caught on the road without the right gear—Christ the Redeemer without a selfie stick is pure amateur hour. Our advice? Gear up to prevent smartphone setbacks and to take the best pictures possible. Since wading through all of the options in a product-flooded marketplace is the last thing that should take up your time before getting out of town, we rounded up the best cases, chargers, cords, and other iPhone accessories worthy of your next epic adventure. 

See recent posts by Rachel Klein


Best Phone Case for Travel


OtterBox Defender Series Case

OtterBox Defender Series is the go-to for indestructible cases at a reasonable price point. The model for iPhone 11s doesn’t have a screen protector like earlier models, which may be a dealbreaker for some (it’s sold separately), but overall, it’s still the best bet for protection and style without too much bulk. The design features a non-slip grip, a hard inner shell, and an outer slipcover to withstand impact. There’s also a belt-clip that acts as a kickstand—a nice extra for easy, hands-free use—and a port cover to help keep out dust and dirt. Have a different iPhone or a smartphone from Google, Samsung, LG, or Motorola? Otterbox has a case for that.

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Best Waterproof Phone Case for Travel

Punkcase iPhone 11 Waterproof Case.

Punkcase StudStar Series

Apple made the iPhone 11 water-resistant (thank you, Apple!), but whether you have the newest model or not, investing in a waterproof case is wise for extra protection—particularly if you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach or pool on vacation. Punkcase StudStar series makes a solid case that’s worth a look for performance and attractive design. It’ll stay dry submersed in up to six feet of water, and it has a built-in screen protector, an anti-reflective-coated lens covering the camera, and a scratch-resistant back cover. Slim and slick, it comes in six vibrant colors, in addition to black, white, and clear. While it may be a little more expensive than some no-frills brands, you get what you pay for—plus it comes with a lifetime exchange warranty. 

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Best Waterproof Phone Bag for Travel

JOTO Universal Waterproof Pouch Phone Dry Bag.

Joto Universal Waterproof Pouch

Sometimes a waterproof case isn’t enough. If you’re looking to plunge with your phone on purpose (think rafting trips and waterfall climbs), go for a waterproof pouch. This one, from Joto, has the highest waterproof rating there is (that’s IPX8, in geek-speak)—and it’s hard to second-guess the more than 30,000 Amazon shoppers giving it an average 4.5-star rating. The pouch has a snap-and-lock closure, a secure neck lanyard, and a clear window on both sides for optimum viewing and photo-taking. It fits smartphones with up to a 6.8-inch diagonal, and it’s available in more than a dozen color and design options. A win all around. 

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Best Screen Protector

Maxboost Screen Protector.

Maxboost Screen Protector

Having a high-quality screen protector is a must—especially for those who opt to go caseless. This ultra-thin piece of tempered glass, only a quarter of a millimeter thick, has a special coating to cut down on smudges and fingerprints. It comes with alcohol pads and dust wipes to ensure your smartphone’s screen is completely clean before you put the glass in place, and there’s a frame to help with alignment for installation. Bonus: there are three screen protectors per pack. 

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Best Selfie Stick

Mpow Selfie Stick Bluetooth.

Mpow Selfie Stick

There’s a strong contingent of selfie-stick-haters, but like it or not, they’re here to stay. When you travel, you’ll definitely want something compact—and this one from Mpow is lightweight, at about four ounces, and collapses and folds to about seven inches for maximum portability (it extends to 31.5 inches). The U-shape clamp rotates three quarters of a circle, and silicone pads prevent it from scratching your phone in the grip. Customers give the Bluetooth remote a thumbs-up, and say the battery life is solid.

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Best Phone Tripod

JOBY - GripTight Action Kit Tripod.

JOBY GripTight Action Kit Tripod

This brilliant, highly rated tripod does double duty as a selfie stick—a two-in-one perk that’s ideal for travel. No need to treat it with kid gloves either; this thing’s rugged and can handle getting tossed into the trunk of a car. Lightweight yet sturdy, it can be set up like a traditional tripod at a max height of 9.4 inches high, or twisted around objects, like poles or tree branches for filming at awkward or interesting angles. It also comes with a Bluetooth remote shutter release with a range of 90 feet. Rave reviewers love it for group shots.

RELATED: The Best Travel Tripods for Once-in-a-Lifetime Shots


Best Grip for Phone

PopSockets: PopGrip.

PopSockets PopGrip with Swappable Top

It’s hard to imagine our lives before these ingenious little disks that keep our phones from crashing to the sidewalk. They attach to the back of your device with a super-strong adhesive, and, like the name suggests, pop up to wedge between your fingers. They’re available in a slew of colors and designs to suit all styles—and this version has a swappable top so you don’t have to settle on just one! The OtterBox Defender Series we recommended above makes a line with a Popsocket built in

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Best Bluetooth Speaker

Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker.

Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker

Get the base pumping poolside with this powerful—and waterproof—Bluetooth speaker that’ll keep the music going for 20 hours of continuous play. Kickass surround-sound, a 66-foot outdoor streaming range, and a rechargeable battery are its major highlights, plus it’s lightweight and highly portable, weighing just over a pound. For tunes back in your hotel room, it won’t take up too much space on your desk or nightstand, thanks to its cylindrical shape and minimal footprint.  

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Best Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD.

Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD

Who wants to fight for a coveted outlet at an airport? Safeguard yourself against the dead-device travel woes by making sure there’s a reliable portable charger in your bag. This top-rated one from trusted brand Anker is about the same size as your cell phone and weighs only 7.5 ounces. It has enough juice to charge your phone twice (and your 11-inch iPad almost once), and a special charging mode for low-power devices. Keep in mind that a wall charger isn’t included, but it does have a USB-C cable and a nifty travel pouch.  

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RELATED: The Best Portable Chargers For Your Travel Needs


Best Smartphone Lens Kit

iPhone 11 Macro ProPack | Includes Clip, Five Macros, Fisheye, Pivot, BSR.

iPhone 11 Macro ProPack

This lens kit may be pricier than some of its competitors, but customers say that paying extra for the quality is well worth it. The Olloclip lens kit for the iPhone 11 has a ring-shaped pivotal grip to give you a firm hold on your device, and includes five macro lenses—7X, 10x, 14X, 15X, 21X, and a fisheye 180-degree lens. It also had a Bluetooth shutter release (BSR) so you can take shots from a distance (imagine capturing every minute Modernista detail of the Sagrada Familia). All of it packs neatly inside a slick custom InCase pouch for easy travel. 

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Best Camera Stabilizer

DJI OSMO Mobile 3 Combo.

DJI OSMO Mobile Combo 

Say goodbye to shaky vacay video. With excellent design and portability, we can’t say enough about this camera stabilizer. The three-axis gimbal helps you capture clear images, no matter which direction you’re moving in (pros call this pan, tilt, and roll stabilization). There are easy-touch buttons for quick sharing and editing access, including templates that add effects and polish to your video. The whole thing weighs less than a pound, and is powered by a built-in lithium battery. Fold it up and slip it inside the drawstring pouch, which fits nicely with the wires and other accessories inside a cute carrying case with a wrist strap. 

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Best Phone Lighting Ring

 Auxiwa Clip on Selfie Ring Light.

Auxiwa Clip-on Selfie Ring 

Clip this illuminated ring to your phone for glam shots on the go. Its 36 LEDs and three brightness levels nix shadowy, unflattering photos. Even better: it doubles as a mini makeup mirror for touch-ups, so you’ll never have to rely on awful airport bathroom lighting again. It has a rechargeable battery and a spongy patch on the inside of the clip so your device won’t get scratched.  

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Best Portable Photo Printer

 Polaroid ZIP Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer.

Polaroid ZIP Wireless Mobile Mini Printer 

This is the sexiest little portable printer (yes, we’re saying it—sexiest!) on the market—and it’s more than just a pretty package, as it turns out terrific, vibrant photos in seconds. It connects to your smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi, and there’s no film, ink, or ribbons to deal with. The 2 x 3 prints it produces are virtually tear-free, and they have a peel-away adhesive back. Downloading the app gives you access to customizable photo editing features, including adding borders and filters. Perfect for churning out mementos to people you meet throughout your travels.

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Best Extra Charging Cable

iPhone 11 Charger, Anker USB C to Lightning Cable.

iPhone 11 Charger, Anker USB C to Lightning Cable [6ft]

How many times have you cursed—and tried to resuscitate—a charging wire that’s dying a slow, painful death? If you think it’s one of those inevitable annoyances of modern life, think again. Enter this fantastic, nylon-braided lightning cable from Anker. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one that’s more durable or nearly impossible to tangle. It’s MFi-certified (meaning it gets a check mark from Apple), so you won’t have to worry about safety issues, and it has a lifetime warranty. It comes in lengths of six feet (shown) as well as three feet. 

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Best Bluetooth Headphones

 Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones.

Jabra Elite 85h

Glitchy Bluetooth headphones are annoying, and fussing with them while traveling is definitely something we can do without. There are plenty of high-end, wireless over-ear models on the market, but the Jabra Elite 85h comes out ahead for more reliable connections, better audibility, and controls that are easy to access and use. They have above-average active noise cancellation, and six of its eight microphones are used for call quality. In terms of battery life, you’ll get 36 hours with ANC turned on, and there’s also a fast-charging option that’ll give you a five-hour boost in 15 minutes. Choose from black with copper detail, gold-beige, a slick-looking navy, and titanium black. 

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Best Phone Cleaning Kit

WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit.


Is it possible to love a cell phone cleaning kit? The answer is yes if it’s this one from Whoosh!. It has two bottles—a larger, 3.4-ounce size to pack, and a tiny bottle small enough to throw in your bag and take through security. Three microfiber cloths are included that have a rough side for scrubbing and a smooth side to buff out dirt and streaks, and customers say that they don’t fall apart and leave fibers behind on your screen. We have to give it a shout-out for adorable packaging, and also for multipurpose use, as it works on everything from eyeglasses to Kindles. 

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