Top 20 Essential Travel Tech For Every Trip - Do You Have These?
ARTICLE Curious about the latest tech essentials for travel? Look no further. You've found the right place for the inside scoop on the best travel tech...
I’m constantly asked for recommendations on the best tech and tools to take when traveling. I understand everyone’s needs are different, but I’ll eat my hat if you don’t discover something awesome from my list. I admit I’m a gadget geek, so some of these items may be a bit 'extreme' for you, but feel free to filter as you wish, and I hope to at least excite and inspire you with a few new nifty finds.
#1 BOSE QUIET COMFORT 45 HEADPHONES
The original noise-canceling headphones invented for the frequent flyer, these are one of those items I never travel without. Well, I mean I will go to the shops or cinema without them, I just mean when flying. The amount of engine noise they eliminate on a plane (not to mention crying children) is startling. Come to think of it, I often call them 'baby canceling headphones - maybe that’s a new market for Bose!
From movie dialogue to your favorite jazz soundtrack, everything becomes crystal clear, without sacrificing a nice deep bass response. This 'over the ear' model is also more comfortable than the “around the ear” version in my opinion. There are many different Quiet Comfort models available at different price points, so don't worry too much about the exact model. The main feature of newer versions is the ability to connect to devices via Bluetooth, in addition to the standard wired connection.
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#2 TUMI ALPHA 3 BUSINESS BACKPACK
When I first saw the price of Tumi travel bags I just about fainted. I thought the price tag was a misprint. But as I’ve become older and wiser, I’ve realized the old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely holds true when it comes to luggage. Tumi luggage is extraordinary because it lasts for many many years - I replace mine on average every 10-12 years or so, and I'm using it every week! They should make aircraft out of the same material, because it’s virtually indestructible! The bags are also extremely practical, with plenty of compartments designed for multiple purposes. I love it!
#3 TUMI ALPHA 2 INTERNATIONAL 4 WHEEL SLIM CARRY-ON
I’ve had this carry-on bag for longer than any other in my entire life, and it effortlessly breezes through an average of 4 trips a month! It thrives on abuse. This is how luggage is supposed to be. Just be prepared to mortgage your home the first time you buy it, but remember you’ll be saving yourself from those cheap cases you have now, that don’t even survive a single look from a baggage handler. Replace your luggage every 6 months, or once every 10 years? You decide! This really is luggage in a league of it's own.
#4 SOLAR CHARGER 30,000MAH PORTABLE BATTERY PACK
This is another one of those “can’t live without” items. It’s the most powerful battery pack you’ll own, and I guarantee it will save your bacon. Since there’s still a shocking number of hotel rooms that don’t have a convenient power outlet, this little baby allows you to charge your phone or tablet multiple times. I get a whopping six charges of my iPhone out of it, it’s like I have my own portable power grid! It’s got two USB charging ports and a nifty little LED display that shows how much juice is left. It's also waterproof, it has a flashlight built-in (great for emergencies), and of course you can charge it either from a power source or via the Sun!
#5 iPHONE LIGHTNING CHARGING CABLE PACK
I recently found out that not all iPhone lightning cables are made equal. The newer designs feature not one, but two lines of power, which significantly speeds up charging. Who knew?! Now, I’m no nuclear scientist, but I can assume that two thingies of power is gonna be better than one. And my anecdotal research has indeed proved that to be true. Just don’t be suckered into paying the prices of your local big box electronics store. $25 for an iphone cable? Yeah, I think I’ll pass. This set features 5 cables for less than the price of a couple of Starbucks Grande Lattes. I also like the fact that it includes 3', 6' and 10' lengths, it's handy to have the assortment.
#6 APPLE MACBOOK PRO 13″ LAPTOP
Have you heard of this little company called Apple? I think they’re going places. In my BA life (Before Apple), I used to carry a heavy laptop (yes one of those Windows ones) in my backpack – until I realized how much time and money I was spending at the chiropractor lugging that beast around. My new MacBook is a dream, I feel like I’m just carrying a handful of feathers, but unlike feathers which serve no practical use whatsoever once they’ve left the bird, the Apple MacBook laptop allows me to work anytime, anywhere. Battery life is a healthy 5 or 6 hours in real-world scenarios, and my only peeve with it are the USB C ports, which makes it a bit more challenging to connect other stuff.
#7 IPAD PRO WITH 12.9″ SCREEN
#8 JBL CHARGE 2+ PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER
I’m a stickler for good quality sound. Okay, so I’m not one of those audiophiles who spends $300 on a single cable because that would be insane (no offense to any audiophile readers), but I do care greatly about listening to music in a way that doesn’t make my ears bleed. Tiny (and tinny) speakers just don’t do it for me. After auditioning all the portable Bluetooth speakers on the market with a comprehensive sonic evaluation (wait, now I am starting to sound like an audiophile), JBL models easily have the best sound in my opinion. And I especially like the Charge range because they have a USB port that serves as a nice backup for when your phone runs out of juice.
#9 APPLE INTERNATIONAL WORLD TRAVEL POWER ADAPTOR KIT
This is one of those silly little accessories that hardly seems worthy of mention, except for the fact that if you’re abroad without it, you’ll definitely wish you had it! It includes 7 x adaptors that you can swap out with your regular Apple power plug. They include adaptors for Japan, China, UK, Continental Europe, Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, and even the U.S. – which is odd. Why would you want a spare 2 pronged adaptor? Hmmm, that’s a head-scratcher. Maybe they sell the same kit all over the world, where the U.S.A. is in fact a foreign country? I think I just solved the mystery. You can sleep well tonight.
#10 SANDISK 512GB USB 3 THUMB / FLASH DRIVE
Yes, I know that 512Gb might seem a bit excessive for portable storage, but the main point here is, any decent size flash drive is gonna serve you well while you’re traveling. There’s all kinds of situations where you might need it. For example, if you need to print out some documents at a hotel, if you meet someone that needs to transfer large files to you, if you want to create a backup of your laptop, and so on. It’s so small and light, there’s really no reason not to have one with you.
#11 ROAM WORLDWIDE PORTABLE 4G WIFI
This nifty gadget works in most countries to pull in high-speed internet via wifi, and you can then connect your phone, laptop etc, rather than paying $30 a day at the hotel! I really like the fact that there’s no contracts or minimum commitments, you just pay as you go, when you use it.
#12 ANKER ALUMINUM IPHONE /IPAD STAND
Let’s face it, the tray tables on planes are hopeless for supporting a phone or an iPad. Fortunately, there’s a solution that not only looks great so you can impress your seat-mate neighbors, but it’s inexpensive and it works every time. It’s a little stand made from aluminum, and it allows you to support your device at any angle. I’m not sure what else I can tell you about it. It’s a stand. It props things up.
#13 1BYONE, FOLDABLE BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD
Let’s stick with those airline tray tables for a moment, because the other problem with them is they’re not really practical for anything but a very small laptop. So, if I need to make notes, I like to use my iPhone or iPad with this fold out keyboard. It’s remarkably small when folded, and it’s definitely easier to type on than the flat touch screen option of your hand-held devices.
#14 MOLESKINE CLASSIC NOTEBOOK
I know it’s a bit of a stretch to call this tech, but it seems to fit in just fine here in this list of essential travel items.
#15 PRIORITY PASS LOUNGE CARD
There was a time at airports when I used to peep a look through the doors of lounges and marvel at how the other half lived. Well, now I’m in that other half, and you can be too, with the Priority Pass lounge card.
#16 FOUNDERS CARD
If you like discounts, then you’ll love Founders Card. It’s a club that gives you some seriously amazing pre-negotiated discounts and perks on all kinds of travel, lifestyle, and business benefits. For example, you can get instant Diamond status with Total Rewards (for Caesars group hotels and resorts) which is amazing. Every time I go to Vegas I get treated like royalty. You can also find discounts on flights with major airlines, as well as perks and status with hotel and car rental brands. In addition, there are many lifestyle discounts with companies including Audi, BMW, 1-800-Flowers, Entrepreneur Magazine, Cirque du Soleil, Reebok, SecondHouse, and many others. I mainly use the app when I travel because it’s so convenient, but the silver members card is beautifully made, and will definitely impress your travel buddies.
#17 NETFLIX MEMBERSHIP
If you’re one of the 23 people left in the world that doesn’t have a Netflix account, you should really think about it. I think Netflix has proven its staying power now, don’t worry. For all those times when you’re stuck in an airport with a long delay, or you’re spending the night in your hotel room with nothing much to do, it’s perfect. personally, I’m a big fan of some of their original series, as well the impressive range of documentaries. Did you know that you can also download a lot of the content on your device, so you don’t even need wifi access to watch anymore.
#18 AMAZON PRIME VIDEO MEMBERSHIP
If you like Netflix, then you should also consider Amazon Prime Video. It’s bundled in with the annual Amazon prime membership for free 2 day shipping and a bunch of other benefits. Although the library isn’t as impressive as Netflix, there’s no shortage of good stuff to be found. It seems like Amazon does better with TV shows than movies, but that may change as they do more deals. As with Netflix, you can also download content for later viewing on Amazon. Just be aware the license expires after a few days if you’re not connected to wifi.
#19 TILE MATE TRACKING DEVICE
This small white square can attach to anything you want to track. Yes, I guess you could put it on your kids if you wanted to. Personally, I have one in my backpack, one in my carry-on bag, and one on my keys. It connects to a smart phone app which keeps tabs on the whereabouts of whatever you’ve tagged. There’s also a clever ‘reverse’ function where if you press the little button on a tile, it’ll cause your phone to ring, so that’s handy if you’re one of those people who lose things a lot. If you're a die-hard Apple fan, you might consider their AirTag, which is very similar.
#20 2 PRONGED AIRLINE HEADPHONE ADAPTER
It’s quite amazing the power that a simple 2-inch piece of plastic can wield in your life. If you have it with you while traveling, it can bring hours and hours of enjoyment as you sit back in your airline seat and view 6 x Star Wars movies in a row. But without it, it can reduce you to tears. Why? Because if you’re using your own headphones (which you should), you’re most likely gonna need it, depending on which airline and plane you happen to fly.
Airlines in their infinite wisdom thought it would be a great idea to use a different style of connector at 30,000 feet, compared with what the rest of human civilization has been quite happy with for the last 70 years. Be warned. Buy three of them, you won’t regret it! The two-pronged style is the most common, although some airlines use a style with one large prong and one small one. Remember the days when the headphone cable on planes was a rubber tube?! If you’re under 30, ask your parents.
I sincerely hope this was helpful - see you on board!
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