7 Essential Travel Gadgets
Going travelling has never been easier: cheap flights, tried and tested routes, and an increase in technological advances have ensured that the world is a much smaller place than it was a decade ago. Gone are the days of wandering around cities carrying guide books as big as your rucksack, and hoping you’ll eventually discover a hostel, bus station or road to get you back on track. Gadgets are springing up everywhere in order to make travelling as smooth as possible – from GPS services to state of the art binoculars, there’s plenty available to suit where you’re going and what you’re doing.
Forget about trying to refold maps or searching for street signs: with GPS trackers located worldwide, you won’t have any problems trying to find your next destination with one of these. Available as handsets, apps on smartphones or sets for your car, you can tailor your tracker to whatever mode of transport you’ll be using. They’re a life saver when you’re exploring new cities, as well as reducing the need to carry around bulky maps. Prices vary depending on how advanced you want the device to be, so there’s plenty of choice regardless of your budget. The Nuvi 3597LMTHD is a great choice; its wonderful 5” display may be on the larger side, but the thin design of its body is great for travelling
There’s little point in carrying around a mobile phone, a camera and a portable music device when you could just take a smartphone. Combining nearly everything you need, taking one along has never been more essential. You can check emails on the go, stay in touch with loved ones through internet calls and messaging, as well as having all of your music and photos at your fingertips. Friends millions of miles apart won’t feel half as far away, and with apps such as iTrip and PocketGuide, you can plan your travels as you go. If you are looking for a new smartphone then one of Samsung’s latest offerings is usually a safe bet. The Galaxy S4 features a generous 5” display and a 13-megapixel camera. This combination will allow you to easily review your holiday snaps, and perhaps share them on Facebook at the same time.
3. Portable power
You might not always be able to guarantee that you’ll have access to a power socket or somewhere to charge your electricals, so it’s well worth investing in a portable power source to help prolong the lives of your gadgets. Due to more and more people taking tablets and smartphones away, there are plenty of these power sources available to buy, all differing in strength and style. Some are hefty enough to charge the most complex tablets, and others are perfect for those just taking a smartphone. You’ll never have to risk being without battery life again. The GMP10K has proved to be a popular choice in 2013. Its 11, 000mAh battery and dual USB ports allow you to simultaneously charge a smartphone and tablet.
4. LED headtorch
While every traveller should have a portable flashlight in their rucksack, another vital piece of kit is a headtorch. Say goodbye to crawling through dark tents or hostel rooms, clutching a torch in one hand and finding your way with the other: LED headtorches are perfect for illuminating the path you need to take, without disturbing other people around you. At just 78 grams the Princeton Tec Fuel is a fantastic little device. 3AAA batteries power the 4 ultrabright LEDs for up to a staggering 146 hours.
5. Noise cancelling headphones
Endless plane, train and coach journeys are an inevitable part of going travelling, and with using public transport comes losing your own private space. However, with noise cancelling headphones, you can drift off into an audio book, your favourite tracks, or simply play background music to help you get to sleep wherever you are, and whatever you’re surrounded by. State of the art technology matches the soundwaves of your surroundings, and matches it to the volume of what you’re listening to, creating your own personal oasis. Long journeys will fly by with these headphones; they’re an essential investment. There is little to choose between the elite headphones. However, the Harman Kardon NCs may just have the edge as they can be re-charged via a USB port. This is ideal for the avid traveller.
Whether you’re an avid reader or someone who picks up a book by the pool, an e-reader is one of the best gadgets to take away with you. Ditch the stacks of guidebooks weighing your bag down, and download them onto an e-reader: with handy highlighting tools, you can keep all your favourite bits and must-see attractions in one place. Some e-readers also have their own portable 3G connection, meaning you can connect with the rest of your life regardless of where you are. Light, compact and an endless source of books; e-readers are a must have for any traveller. It’s nice to root for the underdog sometimes, however it’s equally hard to look past the Kindle Paperwhite . The new backlight and access to the Amazon book store are hard to argue against.
7. Digital recording binoculars
If you aren’t the best photographer, but want to have a record of the awe-inspiring things you’ve seen and done, get yourself a pair of digital recording binoculars. This James Bond-esque gadget has incredible zoom, and the ability to record a few hours of footage. Some are available in HD, but many can be found without if you don’t want to blow your budget on a pair. They’re the perfect mix of binocular and camera, meaning you can save space in your bag, as well as having a less conspicuous item on show: not many people will realise the double usage of the device! If you are willing to spend a considerable amount then Sony’s DEV-50V/B come highly recommended. They even record footage in 3D! However, it is worth noting that two of Sony’s previous models (DEV-3 & DEV-5) have both seen a considerable price drop, but they still boast some of the same features that make the DEV-50V/B such an attractive option.