With all the excitement that comes with planning a trip abroad, many people get a bit carried away packing things they’ll probably never use and neglect the more practical items.
I know you’re unlikely to leave your phone, iPod or camera behind, but have you ever thought about where you’ll store them, or how you’ll protect them? And what about charging all those electronics?
To help you out, here are ten über useful travel gadgets to take along with you on your travels - you can thank me later.
1. Portable Battery Pack
WHAT? Aptly named the ‘PowerMonkey’, this gadget is a portable battery pack that uses solar energy to charge your phone, laptop or tablet when you’re away from mains power. Amazingly, it holds its charge for up to a year and is perhaps the most useful of all the travel gadgets, as you can use it anywhere at any time to power up any piece of electronic kit.
BUY? You can buy your PowerMonkey from manufacturer PowerTraveller for £65, or head to a decent high street outdoor shop like Millets.
2. All-in-one Travel Adaptor
WHAT? A plug adaptor is an absolute necessity when travelling and you can either opt for a simple one, or you can go all out and get a versatile all-in-one adaptor that works in various countries. These can be used to charge an array of electronic devices, and feature different plugs that slide in and out of the unit. How’s that for practicality?
3. iPad Mini
WHAT? This one doesn’t need much explanation as it's simply a smaller, more compact version of the iPad - making it the ideal travel companion.
BUY? You can get your iPad mini from the Apple store, where they have models in silver and space grey starting at £249.
4. Kindle e-Reader
WHAT? Another very compact device. Whilst you may be one of those that prefers to flick through the pages of actual book, you can’t deny that having numerous titles in one light gadget is far more practical. Ebooks can be downloaded in seconds too - just make sure you do this before you go as it certainly won’t function as well in less-developed countries with poor internet connection.
BUY? For the best prices, head to Amazon to buy your kindle. The latest touchscreen model starts at £59.
5. Undercover Tablet Sleeve
WHAT? A tatty-looking envelope? Nope, think again. This clever gadget is actually a protective case for your tablet, made from tearproof and waterproof resistant materials. Not only does it enable you to transport your tablet safely, but it also protects it from the wandering eyes of thieves and anyone else mistaking it for their own.
6. Trusty USB Thumb Drive
WHAT? A USB thumb drive is, in my opinion, an absolute essential when on the road. This tiny stick can be used to store thousands of pictures, documents, songs, films and more and is a useful way to back up files - even if you're taking a laptop along too. Just be sure not to lose it!
BUY? After doing some in-depth research, I've discovered that the 32GB SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive is the best flash drive on the market and the one to buy. It's without doubt one of the highest-performing USB disks around today, and at just £25 from Amazon, it's pretty much a no brainer.
7. GoPro Camera
WHAT? The GoPro Hero 3+ is a small but serious camera and has won dozens of awards, including being named 'Gear of the Year' by National Geographic. The photos and films you’ll be able to capture will blow your mind, as it comes with fittings that allow you to attach it to the handlebars of your bike, the side of your skateboard, on top of you ski helmet, or wherever else you can imagine.
Did I mention that it's also waterproof, so you can even take it into the sea with you? Be sure to take along a GoPole (AKA ‘selfie stick’) too if you want to snap images of yourself without the need for a tripod.
8. A Decent Pair of Earphones
WHAT? You’ll no doubt spend a great deal of time on planes, buses and trains throughout your travels, so it’s important to take along plenty of entertainment to prevent you from being bored to sobs. For music and films, earphones are a must (go for earphones over headphones - they’re invariably smaller and much easier to transport).
Noise-cancelling ones are best, otherwise you may receive scathing looks from the other people on board - not everyone shares your taste in music, remember! However, it's rare to find a good pair on the market for less than £100, so depending on your budget you may opt for a cheaper, noise-isolating pair.
BUY? The Digital Silence DS-101A is a rare example of an affordable, noise-cancelling, in-ear headset that actually works relatively well. Don't expect the quality you'd get from the £260 Bose-manufactured equivalent, but at just £18 it's so much cheaper than other noise-cancelling models out there that you can't really go wrong, can you?
WHAT? Scottevest specialise in travel vests, which feature several pockets and compartments to store all your other gadgets. Both practical and comfortable, these garments will keep items like your phone, iPod and wallet secure whilst keeping you warm and cosy.
BUY? You can get a travel vest from Scottevest’s website - the standard travel vest for men and women is available for $125 (£76).
10. Indestructible Phone Case
WHAT? No matter how careful people are with their phones, they seem to have a mind of their own and will somehow escape your grip when you’re least prepared. For this reason, several companies are producing indestructible phone cases for Blackberries, iPhone, Android, Motorola, HTC and Samsung phones.
These are made up of two separate layers, one which keeps the phone locked in place, while the other absorbs shock. You will usually get a built-in screen protector that prevents scratches and cracks from occurring, too.
BUY? Probably the most popular indestructible phone cases are those manufactured by Otterbox, which you can purchase at otterbox.co.uk.
With all these gadgets, you’ll no doubt be the envy of your travelling partners. Let’s just hope you have enough space in your luggage for them all. And if not, just stuff them in your Scottevest!
Any must-have travel gadgets not mentioned here that you'd recommend? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: © shophex.com
on 23 / 09 / 2014