Whether you’re hitting the road or flying to your next summer destination, it’s more than likely you’ll be bringing a smartphone, in addition to other indispensable gadgets. But with so many other travel gadgets on the market today, there might be a few you haven’t thought about that are bound to make your travel an easier and more relaxing experience. While each of these may not be practical for every type of traveler, here are just a few of the best travel gadgets to consider for your next summer vacation.
Beats by Dre Headphones
For air travelers hoping to relax or avoid extended conversations from chatty passengers seated next to them, a set of headphones or earphones can be a godsend. Even better are of the wireless Bluetooth variety that eliminates clutter, especially on a crowded airplane such as the Beats Solo3 Wireless and Powerbeats3 Wireless. Either option offers exceptional sound quality although Beats headphones features far more battery life yet with a larger price tag than the more compact wireless earphones or earbuds. Still, there are plenty of other headphone and earphone options to meet anyone’s price range. While Beats Solo Wireless3 and Bose QuietComfort are among the most expensive, there are plenty of more affordable wireless and wired devices on the market, including Apple’s Earpods, Skullcandy’s Uproar, JBL’s T450BT, Sennheiser’s HD 200 Pro and Klipsch R6 In-Ear Headphones.
Although tablet computers may not be able to mirror all of the functionality of a laptop, tablets are far lighter, more compact and have a longer battery life. But tablets do not come equipped with practical keyboard although the new iPad Pro and Surface Pro have certainly made typing much easier. But even Apple and Microsoft offer a more functional keyboard as an accessory as smaller firms like the award-winning Brydge. Offering keyboards for the Surface Pro and variety of Apple tablets such as the iPad Pro 12.0 inch and the new iPad, Brydge is a Park City-based tech company that has been generating so much universal acclaim from both consumers and leading tech review sites that it might just be the best supplier for tablet keyboards on the market. But at prices from $49 and up, these keyboards are not for everybody. For travelers looking for something more affordable, the TacType Keyboard and Hippih’s Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard from Macsales.com are solid alternatives.
OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock
A docking station like Other World Computing’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock certainly isn’t for everyone, especially for those traveling without a laptop. But for that very specific type of business or leisure traveler who must connect multiple gadgets, it can be quite convenient and can eliminate unnecessary cluttering. Featuring 13 ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports and four for USB 3.1, the Thunderbolt 3 Dock weighs just 1.2 lbs., with a width of 9.1 inches and a length of 3.5 inches, making it light and portable enough to easily fit inside a laptop case, backpack or other type of carry on. Compatible with both Mac OS X 10.12 or later and PC or Boot Camp: Windows 10 or later, the Thunderbolt 3 Dock is currently available as a preorder through OWC’s MacSales website and its resellers and distributors. For travelers who need to purchase a device like this now available for purchase and shipping is the Thunderbolt 2 Dock, also available through Other World Computing for just $199.
Portable Battery Charger
Until wireless charging becomes commonplace, it makes sense to bring along a portable battery charger for a smartphone. This is especially important for travelers who spends a considerable portion of their day on their iPhone or Android device, whether it’s texting, checking emails, phone calls, photography or posting on their favorite social media platform. While universal car chargers can keep a smartphone charged on a road trip, travelers without a car are presented a different challenge. Take for example the very common sight at airports where all of the electrical outlets are in use by other travelers who need to do the same exact thing – recharge their smartphones and other electronic gadgets. Fortunately, there is a seemingly endless supply of portable chargers in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. Among the most popular are Anker PowerCore+, Belkin Travel RockStar, Tzumi PocketJuice, Just Mobile TopGum, Morphie Powerstation and the PhoneSuit Flex XT that conveniently attaches directly to an iPhone’s Lightning port. Of course, there are also cell phone charging cases, such as Morphie’s Juice Pack, Apple iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, Anker’s Ultra Slim and the Resurgence Power Case from OtterBox.
Among the most common aggravations a traveler experiences is having to pay for a mediocre wireless connection and even more for a slightly faster service. Compounding the issue is that wireless services offered by hotels, coffee shops and airports typically operate on an unsecure network, leaving open the possibility of someone accessing personal information on an unsuspecting traveler’s laptop or smart device. The solution is a reliable mobile hotspot device such as Verizon’s Jetpack 7730L and Jetpack AC791L. Smaller that a smartphone, Verizon Jetpacks are perfectly suited for someone on the go, very easy to set up and capable of connecting multiple devices simultaneously on a secure network. Moreover, Jetpacks offer 50 percent faster peak speeds in more than 450 cities across the U.S. and also in more than 200 other countries. For travelers using AT&T as a phone provider, there’s the Unite Explore, while other major carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint also offer a mobile hotspot service plan. Lastly, Verizon’s Hum and AT&T’s ConnectedCar both offer connected car technology while on the road.