By Gary M. Kaye, Chief Content Officer, Tech50+ (www.tech50plus.com)
Think about this for a moment. Back in the day, when we packed for a trip we made sure we had our cameras, lots of film, and possibly some batteries. Now we pack our smartphones, our laptops, our tablets, and of course SD cards for our cameras (if we’re not relying only on smartphones to capture our memories). We’ve put together some of the products that you might want to consider packing for your next trip, whether you be a tourist or a road warrior.
Trackers: Whether at home or on the road, these small battery powered devices can help you find your keys, your luggage, your wallet, or your smartphone. Most work using Bluetooth, so you pair them with your smartphone before attaching them to whatever you want to keep track of. If you misplace the smartphone, you can push the button on the tracker and it will make the phone ring, even in silent mode. Some, such as TrackR have an entire ecosystem, so that even if you are out of range of your luggage, someone else in the TrackR universe (they’ve shipped 4.5 million of them) may be able to locate your bag or other lost object. TrackR comes in a variety of models and colors, but their standard is the TrackR Bravo which sells for about $30 for a single unit, but just about $90 for a five pack, a substantial savings.
Chargers: There are literally hundreds of these on the market. Some will slip into your pocket. Those are generally the ones that will give your smartphone some extra juice. Others will charge laptops, tablets, and in some cases will even power a television. Power output is generally measured in milli Amp Hours or mAh. Here are a few that we like:
MyCharge makes an entire range of chargers from nearly impervious cases for the outdoor adventurer, to tiny fashion oriented units. Among them: MyCharge Style Power – small enough to slip in pocket or purse, this will give most smartphones a complete charge. They come in a variety of colors and cost about $20. MyCharge Amp ProngPlus – This unit will give a smartphone about four complete charging cycles. It comes with prongs so you can plug it into a wall socket to recharge. Price is just about $50. MyCharge HubMax – This unit will give your phone about 5 ½ charges and includes both a micro USB cable and a lightning cable for iOS devices. Price for this powerhouse is about $130.
Ventev also makes a variety of chargers that will plug into your car, or your wall. Their Ventev Wallport r430 has three standard USB ports plus one of the new USB type C ports which are being used on new laptops and smartphones. This is a great device for those of us who need to charge up several devices each night while we’re on the road. Price is just about $40.
OmniCharge 20 – This is for the true road warrior – The OmniCharge comes with a standard AC outlet to power AC operated devices including laptops and small televisions. Of course it will also juice up all of your USB powered devices as well. You’re not going to be tucking this one into your pocket, it weighs in at 1.4 pounds, carries more than 20,000mAh of power, and will cost just about $300.
FINsix Dart laptop power supply – If you need to travel with a laptop but don’t want to carry a brick, the Dart claims to be the world’s smallest laptop power supply. It comes with connectors for almost every major brand, and will fit into your pocket. Price is just about $100.
Secur Ultimate Solar Charger SP600 – If you’re planning to venture off the grid, but want to keep your smartphone, camera, or other device charged, this solar charger has a built-in 10000mAh battery and dual USB outlets so you can charge it up in the sunlight, then charge your devices overnight. Price is $125.
Kanex Multi-Sync Foldable Travel Keyboard – If you need to do some serious typing on your smartphone or tablet, but don’t want to carry a full-sized keyboard with you, this will connect by Bluetooth to most of your devices and won’t take up too much space. Price is under $50.
Nite-Ize Slide Lock Carabiners – We’ve found that when you travel there’s almost always a reason to attach one thing to another. A water bottle to a backpack. A travel pillow to a rollaboard. Attach keys to your belt loops. So, we pack a set of assorted stainless steel carabiners and s-biners from Nite-Ize. Prices range from about $3.40 for one clip to about $11.45 for an assorted package of three.
Sound Grenade mini personal alarm. Ever worry about walking down an unknown street at night? This powerful alarm emits a screaming 120 decibels to alert anyone nearby that you need help and hopefully scare off the bad guys at the same time. Price is about $20 for one, $90 for a five pack. Other models connect directly to 9-1-1.
Iron & Glory Mini Plier Multitool – This Brooklyn based company makes some of the most innovative and high quality travel gadgets we’ve seen at a modest price. This multitool in only 2” long but includes a plier, flathead and Philips screwdrivers, nail file and tiny blade. And all for $12.
For a complete list of our travel gadgets, take a look at our Travel Tech Roundup on the Tech50+ website, www.tech50plus.com