With so much technology on the market these days, it’s hard to tell which gadgets truly are must-haves for making the most of your trip—and which over-complicated extras you’re better off leaving at home. Here’s our list of easy-to-use travel tech we wouldn’t leave home without.
What tech do you take on tour? Tell us in the comments!
2-in-1 camera & MP3 device
Multi-use items are every traveler’s best friends. A variety of 2-in-1 digital camera and MP3 devices are available at a fairly low price point, freeing up space in your day bag for maps and mementos. Some easy-to-use options are the Fujifilm FinePix 40i ($44) and the Ematic 4 ($35); both snap quality photos and hold enough music to lend a personal soundtrack to your trip.
Stay connected while on the road with your own wireless hotspot. Frequent travelers favor AT&T’s MiFi 2 ($50 device, plus monthly 2-year contract), which features a touch-screen and can connect up to ten WiFi-enabled gadgets. Or keep your smartphone connected by subscribing to Boingo Mobile ($7.95 per month), perfect for emailing your tour photos to friends and family while on the go.
Packing your own power strip (and plug adapter) can be your saving grace for staying charged while traveling. Smaller, more travel-friendly power options include the Belkin Mini Surge-Protector ($14), with three AC outlets and two powered USB ports or the 2-port PowerGen Dual Port USB Travel Wall Charger ($10).
Fortunately, bringing enough reading material to keep yourself occupied between destinations is no longer a backbreaking endeavor. The size of a single book, eReaders can store loads of books and magazines in one lightweight, easy to use device. iPads ($329) and other tablets are popular options for both reading and staying connected to email, but if you are just looking to tote ample reading material, a basic Kindle ($70) or Nook Simple Touch ($80) can offer a solution at a much lower price point.
It’s happened to the best of us: you have the perfect photo set-up, but the camera battery dies. Fortunately, packing a backup battery can fix this frustrating problem, simply plug-in and you’re back in business. The PowerMonkey Extreme ($180) can be charged through an included solar panel and will hold its charge for up to a year. Just plug in your device and it will start charging immediately. Another great option is the Dreamgear Sound Portable Power Max ($150), which holds up to 480 hours of power and works with USB-powered devices.
Underwater cell phone cover
Forget buying low-quality disposable cameras, and snap photos of your snorkeling adventure with your smartphone. The TAT7 iPhone Scuba Case ($84) and the ECOPOD ($39.99) cases protect the iPhone and other smart phones. Snap away and send pictures to your family instantly, no need to wait until your home to develop them.