09 July 2017

Make Your Vacation a Little Smoother with These Handy Gadgets

Traveling can be stressful enough with overcrowded flights and trying to find your way in unfamiliar surroundings. Running out of power for your phone or getting lost in a strange city should not be something you have to deal with. From suitcases that can find themselves, to ensuring you never run out of outlets for charging your devices, these gadgets and apps can help make your next trip just a little easier — and a lot more fun.

Portable Power

Today’s travelers never leave home without a smartphone, and usually bring along a tablet or laptop as well. Keeping all those devices powered up can be a challenge, so we recommend a few essential items.

Belkin’s Travel RockStar is a 3-in-1 device that plugs in to any AC socket and provides extra outlets and a USB port, if you’re in a hotel room with very few outlets. It’s also a surge protector and has a built-in 3000 mAh battery so you can charge your devices on the go.

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Belkin’s Travel RockStar is a 3-in-1 device that provides extra outlets and a USB port, for when you’re in a hotel room with very few outlets.

If you’re bringing along a laptop, you know how cumbersome and heavy the power cords can be. And you can’t share unless everyone you’re traveling with has the same laptop. Universal laptop chargers are trying to ease that pain point. Dart by FINsix is about four times smaller than the standard power brick and provides an extra USB port, plus a six-foot cable for charging a phone or tablet. Dart will work with most major laptops, as it comes with nine interchangeable power tips, but we highly recommend checking their compatibility chart first to be sure it works with yours. There’s also a Dart-C version for USB Type-C laptops.

Schneider Electric has a universal APC laptop charger that’s a little less expensive than Dart’s. They work with most manufacturers but only come with the specific tips designed for your device. Again, check compatibility, but it’s nice to have a second charger in case you forget yours at home.

Mobile Wi-Fi

If you’re traveling out of the country, data roaming can get very expensive — and international phone plans limit you to one device and cap the data. For a less expensive way to post your travel snaps to social media and access Google Maps while you roam unfamiliar streets, rent a MiFi mobile hotspot from XCom Global. It’s a small device you carry with you that provides constant 4G/LTE connectivity. You can connect up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices so the whole family can use one connection for a flat rate of $7.77 per day with no data limit. The device is sent to your home the day before you travel and all you need to do is send it back in the pre-paid envelope when you return.

Comfortable Headphones

If you’re flying or traveling a long distance you’ll want to bring along comfy headphones to listen to your downloaded Netflix shows or drown out the sounds of the baby crying at the back of the plane. Plantronics BackBeat 500 is a wireless Bluetooth headset with 18 hours of battery life; great for long trips because it’s lightweight, and the soft memory foam cushions make it super comfortable to wear. It also comes with a carrying pouch and 3.5mm cable for connected listening in the hotel or on the go.

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The BackBeat 500 Bluetooth headset has 18 hours of battery life and is great for long trips because it is so lightweight.