Top Ten Travel Gadgets for 2013
Gone are the days when backpackers simply shoved travel towels and weighty 1000-page guidebooks in the their 80-litre packs. In 2013 it’s all about the time and money saving technology, to make that trip of a lifetime, that little bit better. With that in mind, here are our top technological, travel gadget tips, for 2013!
- SpareOne Mobile Phone
In a nutshell, this is the only mobile phone ever that you can use anywhere in the world, using one AA battery – with a whopping lifespan of 15-years! For these reasons it (deservedly so) won the prestigious Innovations Award at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Association convention. Better still this gadget is also great in an emergency with a built-in flashlight and a dedicated emergency services dial button! Just plug in a local sim card wherever you are, and you’re good to go. (w) www.spareone.com
- Private Wi-Fi
Free WiFi from the likes of St Christopher’s and Starbucks is great when you’re on the go around the world, but beyond these locations it can be handy to have Internet access without forking out for data roaming. That’s where Private Wi-Fi comes in. It’s a monthly subscription service that acts like a private network. This way wherever you are, when you sign in - your location and data are masked – allowing you to do whatever like online, in a super safe environment. This service clocks in at 10 USD a month. (w) www.PrivateWiFi.com.
- Polaroid iM1836 Snap
Sometimes your smart phone camera in addition to making everyone look jaundiced, doesn’t cut the mustard when you want to show off your travel pics. Polaroid got wind of this and decided to build the world’s first Android-powered smart camera with changeable lenses. For the photo experts out there, this baby has a 10-30mm optical zoom lens, tied into the Android’s user-friendly 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. Throw in a photo-sharing app, which allows for an instant upload of pics to Facebook and the like, and you’re all set. (w) www.polaroid.com
- TripIt Pro App
If you’re familiar with Passbook on iPhones then you’re going to love the TripIt Pro application. It’s a super simple way to organize all of your arrangements in one place. All you have to do is forward your confirmation emails to (e) firstname.lastname@example.org and let the app do the rest. This clever little piece of software organizes accommodation and travel details into easy to see itineraries, and if a flight is delayed or a gate changes, it even lets you know by text or e-mail! (w) www.tripit.com.
- Mushroom GreenZero Wall Travel Charger
When you leave something to charge over night, the end result is an overcharged device. This might not sound like a bad thing but as far as your battery life and the environment go, it ain’t great. To counter energy and battery waste, the Mushroom GreenZero Wall Travel Charger, stops the charge from the mains when your device is full! It’s simple and really rather genius. This piece of technology can be plugged into technology with 30-pin or mini-USB ports. (w) www.bracketron.com
- The Powerbag Business Class Pack
Speaking of charging your technology on the road, it’s always annoying when you run out of juice between backpacker hostels. This irksome problem is however, easily solved by the Powerbag Business Class Pack, which has a built in battery system juicy enough to charge your average smart-phone, up to 4 times. It comes with handy padded laptop and tablet pockets and what they call a: “Checkpoint Friendly” FlyFlat design. Apparently this means there’s no need to remove your laptop or tablet from the bag when you’re going through airport security, but we’ll take that claim with a pinch of salt! (w) www.mypowerbag.com
- Martian Voice Command Watches
If you’ve ever watched The West Wing and though to yourself, wouldn’t it be cool to talk into your wrist like the presidential bodyguards, then you’re going to be a fan of these watches. Basically, they act like phones, making and receiving calls and receiving and answering text messages. They hook up to your mobile phone via Bluetooth, and are compatible with both Apple and Android. If you’re feeling flash you can pick one up for around 250 USD. (w) www.martianwatches.com
- Trakdot Luggage Tracker
It’s always a gut wrenching moment when you arrive at destination after a long flight and your luggage fails to arrive with you. This is usually compounded by jaded and unsympathetic baggage loss staff. With the Trakdot Luggage Tracker, you don’t have to rely on anyone else to tell you where your luggage is. All you have to do is hook up this GSM chip-equipped monitor to an app on your phone, and you can pinpoint its exact location. This is a bit of a luxury in that you have to pay an annual subscription of 13 USD on top of a 50 USD sign up, but if you’ve lost your luggage before, it’s probably worth it for the peace of mind! (w) www.trakdot.com
- Roku Streaming Stick
This is a cool gadget if you’re on the road and in the vicinity of a Hitachi and Insignia TV - with a USB plug in port! For a mere 99 USD you can plug this baby in and get instant access to smart streaming technologies, including Vudu and Netflix. It’s being queued up to be compatible with more TV brands soon too, so watch this space. (w) www.roku.com.
- The Lifeproof Nüüd
Last but by no means least we have the Lifeproof Nüüd, which protects your precious tablet against bumps, shocks, rain, snow, dirt and more, without impeding access to the tablet's buttons, bells, and whistles. There’s no separate screen protector, just a fold over slip, making this the perfect accessory for your travel pad. (w) www.lifeproof.com
– Rob Savage