Kirsten Alana a RoamRight Blog Author

Best Gadgets for Travelers

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog post are the blogger's own and do not represent an endorsement by RoamRight.

Travel and technology now seem to go hand in hand. Sometimes, whether we like it or not. More and more people are earning their living in the digital sphere and working with the gadgets they take with them everywhere they go. Whether you are a nomad, business traveler or casual traveler, hopefully you’ve discovered how to whittle down what you can, or in some cases cannot, live without. No matter where you fall on the scale, hopefully this list will come in handy:

A laptop that travels well

It may seem like an obvious choice but every time I board a plane it seems like I see some fellow passenger dragging around a laptop that could be mistaken for a slab of concrete by the way it weighs down their tray table. Do yourself a favor and pick up a lightweight, fast machine like the MacBook Air or a laptop that doubles as a tablet, such as the Dell XPS 12 ultrabook, which the team at Too Many Adapters recommends.

A smartphone

It can’t be overstated how handy a travel gadget the right smartphone can become. It is multiple travel gadgets all in one, replacing a GPS unit, translation device, camera and portable DVD player. All things we used to carry around with us! Apple’s iPhone set the bar high when it premiered and the current 5 is still at the top, particularly when purchased already unlocked. Pair that with a local SIM card in a foreign country and there’s very little that can’t be accomplished with a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Samsung is making waves with their devices and their newest, the Galaxy S4 Active, even claims to be waterproof. I’d say its durability is almost unmatched in the smartphone market and if I were not an Apple loyalist, I’d pick one up myself. Perfect for the active traveler!

Combo Tablet/eReader

While the right smartphone may negate the need for a tablet or eReader, if you’re simply determined not to carry paper books yet not to rely on your iPhone for reading, a combination device should be your next purchase. The iPad in both sizes (mini and original) doubles as a tablet and a full powered e-book given that it supports both iBook and Kindle purchases. If you’re buying a Kindle, consider the Fire over the Paperwhite because it does a better job of doing more than just allowing you to read, supporting apps and functions far beyond that of a simple e-book.

Portable Battery Charger

With multiple devices and never enough outlets in any airport or public place, it’s inevitable that eventually you will find yourself in need of a charge yet unable to find it. That’s why a portable battery charger is so high on this list. My favorites are the Juice Pack Powerstations made by Mophie, who also manufactures battery cases for iPhone, HTC and Samsung smartphones. I also like XTG Technology’s Solar Powered Backup Battery and Charger.

For many travelers, gadgets are essential items to pack. Here's a list of some recommendations.

Portable External Hard Drive

If you travel enough, a portable hard drive will become a necessity. Yet their penchant for burnout or failure, at least in my life, is worrisome. So invest in one that’s going to take a beating and keep on running. My favorites are the ioSafe Rugged Portable Drive and the orange-wrapped Rugged drives by LaCie. ioSafe gives you a bonus recovery service that covers you up to $5000USD, they also claim to be both waterproof and crushproof.

Power Adapter/Multiple Device Charger

Regardless of what country you’re from, the need for a power adapter will likely arise frequently and often inconveniently. To avoid being saddled with an inability to charge your devices, carry an all-in-one adapter and convertor like the one Conair makes or the Kensington 33117. And if you’re from a country that uses the AC outlet, the travel-sized power strip by Monster will enable you to convert only one plug while charging multiple devices. Belkin too makes the SurgePlus USB Swivel Charger which allows up to 5 devices to charge at once while only using one outlet. If you’re only charging USB devices, the Squid 7 Port Hub might be all you need. Brookstone, a store found in many airports around the world, often has a good supply of both convertors and adapters.

Travel Speakers

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a hotel room or rented apartment and desired to have music fill the space, feeling tired of the headphones hurting my ears. So I’m currently lusting after the X-mini Capsule Speakers because they seem to be the best value for the price in the saturated market for portable sound amplification. However, I’ve also heard good things about BassBoomz portable speakers.

Water Purification Device

So it doesn’t play a movie, text a friend or upload a photo to Twitter but the Steripen might just save you from agony in a foreign country. Both a water tester and purification device in one, it’s small enough not to be cumbersome if you’re living out of a suitcase or backpack.

Kenu Highline

For iPhone and iPod users (pre-5th generation) the Highline ensures your device is almost completely theft-proof. It also keeps your device safe from being dropped or inadvertently lost by locking in to the 30 pin connector with a Kevlar cord and stainless-steel hooks and then attaching to a belt loop, hook, purse handle or backpack strap.

Overwhelmed yet? The most important thing when traveling is the ability to still stop and enjoy what you’re experiencing. I left a camera off this list because there are so many options now, they deserve their own post; and too often we get caught up in capturing and forget to enjoy. So by all means, travel with gadgets but remember not to let them get in the way!

What travel gadgets do you recommend?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Kirsten Alana

Kirsten Alana, a RoamRight Blog Author Kirsten is a photographer, writer and conference speaker who wanders the globe in search of people to help, stories to tell and ways to inspire others as to how important travel is. When home in New York City, she enjoys discovering the concrete jungle with her boyfriend and sometimes-travel-partner. She has been on camera for CNN, Expedia and AMC and was the first host of the web series: Bites of the Big Apple. Her favorite travel magazine is AFAR and she’s proud to be one of their Ambassadors. Visit Kirsten's blog, Aviators and a Camera, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.

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