For travelers whose globe-circling ways are a regular habit rather than an out-of-the-ordinary excursion, having the right accessories can make the difference between a seamless experience and a trip out of hell. One of the unfortunate sides of this is that manufacturers have glommed onto this in a major way, hawking products they promise will make your life easier but whose sole purpose is to make your wallet lighter. It’s a tough job to search through the garbage and find those rare treasures, but we’ve done it and come with a list of eight awesome gadgets that’ll definitely enhance every trip you’re on.
1. AirPort Express
It wasn’t that long ago that hotels either didn’t have wifi, or charged exorbitant rates to use their wifi. Now, for the most part, you can log on for free and keep up with your work while you’re away. Not every hotel is created equal, and some still hang onto that archaic piece of technology known as the Ethernet cable. It’s annoying, to say the least, of having to be tethered to a cord when all you want to do is break free, and Apple’s AirPort Express lets you do that. All you have to do is plug it into the wall, plug the Ethernet cable into it, turn on your laptop, and then use the AirPort Express as a private wifi domain.
2. Tumi Ultra Slim Universal Power Adaptor Kit
One of the lousiest things tech manufacturers have done for us is require us to have a separate charger for every device. It doesn’t even matter if you stick in the same brand family, such as having an iPhone and MacBook, you still need separate cords for everything. This is why the Tumi is such a genius device all travelers need, as it comes in one package and can power all devices. The only exception is new Apple products, but you can leave the power outlet at home and just plug the rest into the Tumi.
When traveling, part of the downside is you’ll encounter way more waiting around than you’d like. A Kindle is a great way to offset any boredom, allowing you to store upwards of 200 books, depending on which version you get. Our personal favorite is the original without the backlight, as it offers an amazingly long battery life of about a month (the backlit Kindles drain as fast as your smartphone or tablet). The best part is, you’re not even stuck with buying books from the Kindle store, as you can email documents and texts to yourself if you can find material on the internet for free.
4. Headplay Personal Cinema
We’re amazed that not every airline has TV screens on the backs of the seats (United, we’re looking at you), and that not every hotel has upgraded to large-ish flat screen TVs. That’s no problem with the Headplay Personal Cinema, a device that gives you your own personal 52” TV screen. Putting on the black goggles will make you look a little geeky, but you won’t care as you have your own entertainment system and everyone else around you is stuck with inferior devices. It only weights 6lbs, too, which puts it on par with a high-powered laptop.
5. tugo Luggage-Mounted Coffee Cup Holder
You’re a busy person whose priority is to get from Point A to Point B, not stopping to check out the scenery. But because of your busy lifestyle, you have to take things on the go sometimes, and it can be more than a little tricky to balance that precious cup of coffee for an early meeting or flight. With tugo, you don’t have to worry about, as it threads and tightens to your rolling luggage sides, with the cup fitting neatly in the middle.
6. SteriPen Ultraviolet Bacteria and Pathogen Killing Water Wand
In North America and most European countries, you never have to worry about the quality of drinking water. But if you travel to other parts of the world, being able to drink good water that won’t get you sick is a very real concern. You can always purchase water purifier filters or tablets, but they’re a nuisance to carry around and work to varying degrees. The SteriPen, on the other hand, is a one-stop device that only has to be inserted into your water, taking 48 seconds to make it safe for you to drink.
7. LaCie FUEL
At one time, we loaded our smartphones and tablets with movies to keep us entertained during our travels, but stopped when we realized just how much memory it was sucking up. That didn’t mean we wanted to give up our movies entirely, and it’s a good thing the LaCie FUEL came along. Available with either 1 or 2 terrabytes of memory, the LaCie FUEL lets you store hundreds of movies and share it with up to five devices simultaneously. All you have to do is download the app, and then relax in comfort.
8. Dry Pak Alligator Wallet
When you go swimming on your beach vacations, you don’t want to risk leaving your credit cards in the hotel safe, and nor do you want to leave it on the sand with your towel. You won’t have to make the least bad choice any more with the Dry Pak Alligator Wallet, a waterproof 4”x4” wallet that easily holds your most important cards. It comes on an adjustable lanyard so you simply put it around your neck, and then go swimming without worrying about your cards getting wet or stolen.