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2014 Travel Trends: Best New Travel Tech Gadgets and Accessories
Have you given up trying to go “off the grid” when you travel? Find the latest ways to stay connected, powered up, and plugged into the world with the hottest new travel gadgets and accessories.
You may have noticed that the concept of “getting away from it all” has changed a lot in the past 5 to 10 years. Now, thanks to emerging technology that strives to keep us connected, synced, and fully charged on all of our adventures, you usually have the ability to check in from just about anywhere—whether you want to or not!
But for every traveler who still wants to disconnect completely, there are those who are grateful for the advances in travel tech that now allow us to conduct a little business (or social media updating!) between far more important pursuits—like catching wave in the Hawaiian Islands, exploring temples in Thailand, or feasting on carne parrilla in Argentina.
Whether you’re a business traveler who needs to keep in touch with the office, or a backpacker in constant pursuit of extra juice and more space for your travel photography and videos, you’ll want to get your hands on these essential travel tech gadgets and accessories.
1. Digital Power Boosters
Travelers are increasingly relying on smartphones, tablets, and other devices to take photos, look up directions, or communicate from long distances while they’re on the road. The trouble is—the battery life on these devices isn’t exactly stellar. That’s where chargers such as the USB World Traveler Adapter (MSRP $30) and external batteries like the Anker ($50) come in: they help keep a variety of devices powered up and ready for the next adventure.
The USB World Traveler Adapter wall charger offers a simple solution to charge your electronics through a USB cable. The Anker provides a slightly more sophisticated solution as a stand-alone battery pack that can charge any type of device with smart-sensing technology and a nifty shake feature that displays the charging progress on the side of the block. It will operate without a power source, but for the fastest charge time, the USB World Traveler Adaptor and included USB cable are recommended.
2. Battery Power + External Storage
If you need both juice and the external storage capacity, then opt for the Mophie Space Pack (MSRP $150), It adds a few ounces and inches to your sleek iPhone, but for tech-centric travelers, it’ll be well worth it. The first device to provide the extra battery storage for the iPhone, the case is a great option for those who plan to take a lot of photographs and want to keep their entire music library at the ready for a long flight.
3. External Keyboard
Carrying a laptop adds weight and bulk to a carry-on, but if you need functionality beyond the confines of a smartphone or tablet screen, they’re usually a necessity. If you’re only being held back by the tiny touchscreen of a tablet, opting for a much slimmer and lighter Bluetooth keyboard might be just the ticket. The well-rated Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 (MSRP $100) transitions seamlessly between tablets and smartphones, and knocks more than a pound off your load (when compared with the full weight of a laptop). The light-up feature on the sleek keyboard makes it handy after lights-out time in your hotel, villa, or yurt.
4. Shockproof / Waterproof Smartphone Cases
Photojojo makes an extensive range of smartphone add-ons for the avid photographer; their set of portable lenses serve as a perennial favorite on all types of trips. Now, for those venturing to the open waters or other precarious places, there’s the Optrix iPhone Adventure Suit (MSRP $100), an aptly named clear case that protects against high-impact falls and up to 15 feet of underwater depth (while staying fully functional). An integrated alternative to the GoPro, the Adventure Suit also features a built-in wide-angle lens for superior photo quality as well as rail adhesive and suction mounts for helmets and other moving targets.
5. Mod Notebooks
OK, so you could technically live without this modern take on the traditional travel journal, but we’re not sure you’d want to! Once you fill out one of these paper notebooks—a staple for anyone who wants to sketch observations on the road—it can be digitized by the company and then synced to the cloud. This means you don’t have to forego the romance of detailing dinners, romantic trysts, or your deepest feelings from the perspective of a shady park bench in Paris, and you’ll return home with a perpetually and beautifully preserved version of your travel musings.
No matter what kind of travel devices, gadgets, or accessories you choose to take on your adventures, always be sure to protect them by storing them inside a Pack-It Protect-It Cube, a tablet sleeve, or backpack with built-in digital security.
Kelly O’Reilly is a lifestyle and travel writer (and former hotel publicist) and a recent NYC-to-Colorado transplant. When she’s not hitting the trails or racking up frequent flier miles, she’s looking for art and good pancakes.