CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Great deals on two great travel accessories

Or: What I learned on my summer vacation. (Hint: never take a trip without these items.) Plus: two bonus deals!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

Enlarge Image

I'm back! Good heavens, California is beautiful. Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Cambria, Carmel...I think I know where I'm going to retire. (Now if I could just win the lottery. Or, better, two lotteries...)

This was an anniversary trip with the equally beautiful Mrs. Cheapskate (happy 20th, babe!) and it taught me a couple things about traveling with tech. Namely: It's time to rethink how we charge on the go.

See, we each had our phones, and we each had a tablet. I'd also packed my new favorite mobile charger, which, conveniently, has two USB ports (dare I say his-and-hers?). In fact, that charger is one of today's two deals, so let me start there.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Vantrue (via Amazon) has the Solove Titan 20,000mAh mobile charger for $32.99, shipped free with Amazon Prime. That's after applying coupon code SOLOVE12 at checkout. It's available in silver or green; both are gorgeous.

Seriously, these slim, rounded, metallic beauties look like they should have an Apple logo stamped on the top. The Titan weighs a little over a pound and slips easily into any travel bag. Want something slightly smaller and lighter? The Solove Roco, which I've featured before, weighs a little under a pound and is about a third narrower. You can get it (in silver or rose red) for $25.99 shipped with coupon code SOLOVER9.

Enlarge Image
There's a lot going on inside this seemingly simple USB charger. Aukey

My advice: get the Titan. The extra $7 gets you twice the capacity. Ah, but here's the rub: Both versions come with a standard Micro-USB cable, but not a wall plug for actually recharging the charger. You're going to need one -- and not the little low-powered plug that came with your phone nor the low-powered port on your laptop. As I learned (the hard way), these provide nowhere near the juice needed to recharge such a big battery.

Next time I'll bring something like the Aukey Quick Charge 2.0 USB wall charger, which you can get for $7.99 with coupon code 266PPQ4P. Regular price: $15.99. It's designed to quick-charge mobile devices that support Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology, but it also supplies 2 amps to "regular" devices -- like, say, a mobile charger.

I know it's hard to get excited by a USB wall plug, but the 900-plus user reviews average out to 4.6 stars -- and you're getting it for a full 50 percent off. Never again will I pack a wimpy, low-power plug. For modern devices, you need more amps!

Bonus deal: I don't know how much longer this will last, but as of this morning, Meh has the refurbished Ooma Telo Bluetooth Bundle for $63, plus $5 for shipping. That's the lowest price I've seen for this voice-over-IP-powered landline replacement, which has been a staple in my house for years. You can enjoy nearly free calling (you may have to pay a few bucks in taxes) forever, or pay $10 per month for some seriously awesome extras, including call blocking.

Bonus deal No. 2: While I was gone I shared on deal on a lifetime subscription to TigerVPN, which proved to be amazingly popular. (One point of clarification, though: iOS support won't be available until next month. My apologies for neglecting to discover that the first time out.) If you happened to miss that post, you still have one more day -- today! -- to grab the deal.