Going on holiday doesn’t mean your gadgets should also get some free time. Christina Goggi packs the essential travel technology.
The travel epidemic is at the ready-steady-go stage – and whether you’re planning a short trip or a longer one, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that your precious gadgets will be travelling with you. We’ve become so used to having technology around us that sometimes we overlook just how much easier our lives are having smartphones, iPads or tablets, MP3 players or iPods, Kindles, GPSs and laptops, and how they can help us not just with our everyday tasks but also when travelling.
As a writer who’s in love with both tech and travel, I have compiled a list of geeky tools that I’ll be purchasing for the many travels to come this summer. And I’m sharing them with you because I’m sure they’ll come in handy.
City travellers will have heard of things like money belts, but there are far more advanced ways of protecting your valuables.
The anti-theft features in Pac Safe’s Metro Safe 200 backpack make it difficult for thieves to get access to or snatch your valuable items.
If you’re worried about someone trying to sneak into your hotel room during the night, look for a Travel Door Alarm which acts as a warning signal and deterrent.
Losing your luggage is no fun. Consider Trace Me Luggage Tracker, a simple label and report system to recover any lost luggage.
Your gadgets need juice to keep them going. These are a few handy options to pack.
Chargepod: This handy little device allows you to charge multiple USB-connected gadgets at one go. No more tough decisions on which of your gadgets deserves charging priority.
Power Traveller offers a variety of solar power chargers. Expensive but handy for the frequent traveller. For cheaper alternatives, google Free Loader.
Afraid your phone might die on you too quickly? Check out Mophie Juice Pack Air, Power Skin and Primo Cube by Phonesuit.
Here are a few photography gadgets to enable you to take better shots.
Tripods can be large and heavy. One of the best alternatives is Gorillapod, an easy-to-use, portable yet sturdy mini-tripod which can be used with heavier SLR cameras as well.
For smaller cameras, get a bottle of water and replace its tap with a Bottle Cap Tripod for support.
Have a bit more to carry than just a camera and a spare lens? Lowepro and Tamrac have smartly laid out backpacks for photography gear.
When enjoying music on your travels requires more than just an MP3 player and headphones, check out the Jambox, a compact but powerful speaker system that is both innovative and handy.
Going for some Ray Mears type of survival adventure? The Survival Card by Tool Logic combines 11 survival tools into a credit card-sized kit, including a fire starter, compass, stainless steel serrated knife and other handy tools.
There’s a never-ending list of apps for both iPhone and Android users who want to travel. Here are some of the must-haves.
Google Maps for Android
This is undoubtedly the best map application. Recently updated with three interesting new features – indoor walking directions, integration with Google Offers and support for Google Business Photos – Google Maps allows Android users to also see which nearby stores currently offer deals.
Using its Custom Maps function, Google Maps also allows you to save driving, walking and biking directions. This means you can plan your routes in advance, share them with others, and access them from your phone using the Google Maps Android application whenever you like.
Apple iOS 6 Maps
Apple have developed a new Maps version over the old Google-based version. Its new cartography includes new points of interests, restaurants, and shops while vector-based maps promise faster loading and smoother, better graphics.
Maps also have turn-by-turn navigation, Siri integration, traffic information and more. However, a clear big miss in this app are the public transit information and Street View – a must if you want to plan your commuting at any time.
Every Trail for Android
If you’re an Android user, this GPS tracking app allows you to live track your trips in real-time and send updates to Twitter and Facebook, use travel guides, and plot camera pictures on your map instantly. This is definitely ideal for the adventurous travellers who want to keep track of their walking tours, biking, running, hiking, and sailing, as well as for those travellers who are going on a road trip.
North Face Trailhead for iPhone
The perfect exploration app for those adventurous iPhone users, Trailhead finds trails, bike routes, hikes and more based on your location. Just like with the Every Trial Android Travel App, Trailhead allows you to track your route, distance, speed, and elevation, and offers the option to share your trip on Facebook or Twitter.
Google Translate for Android and iPhone
With the option to translate up to 64 languages, speak over typing the text, listen to your translations, communicate with another person using speech-to-speech translation in Conversation Mode, access your translation history even when you’re offline, and several other features, this app is definitely a must-have.
XE Currency for Android and iPhone
For those who want an app that does the math for them, this currency convertor can convert over 180 currencies on-the-go, offers charts and stores the latest updated rates so you can use it even when offline.
Kayak for Android and iPhone
Available for any platform, Kayak is a free app that helps you search for flights, cars, hotels and bookings, and offers a flight tracker and a My Trips feature, offering you full itinerary at your fingertips.
Urbanspoon for Android and iPhone
For those travellers who need help when searching for the right restaurant, this app is a fun solution. It works like a restaurant slot machine – just shake your phone and the wheels will spin until they stop on the right restaurant that’s nearest to you.
Police Siren for Android and iPhone
This app will come in handy if you’re staying in a dodgy area or walking through a seedy street. Apple offers a free Police Siren at the App Store while you can find Siren Free on Google play for your Android.
Christina Goggi is a web marketing content specialist and a regular blogger on various tech websites.