Must have travel gadgets

Whilst travelling can often be a way to get away from technology, I find myself taking more and more tech with me as the years go on. With wifi more readily available and roaming charges less than they used to be using a device abroad isn’t the potentially bank breaking exercise it once was. In addition a small amount of tech can save valuable space and weight; books, maps and journals, for instance, can all be replaced with a few apps and a smartphone.

Smartphones aside, what do you consider must have travel gadgets and how do they aid your travelling experience? I’m always looking for an excuse to buy a new gadget so hopefully someone can provide me with one!

Stu James 06/02/14    General travel chat Link Report

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A head torch is my most essential gadget! Aside from that, I’m hankering after a SteriPen – a device that, using UV tech, kills all evil bacteria in tap water so it makes water from almost anywhere safe to drink within minutes! (Corr, what a sales pitch, they should be giving me commission!)

Lottie Gross 06/02/14    Link Report

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I must admit, I do find myself using the torch on my phone a lot so maybe a head torch would be a good choice! And I love the steripen idea, just had a quick look and you can pick them up for £30-40 so I think you’d make your money back fairly quickly, based on the price of bottled water.

One other thing that is a must have for me is a portable speaker, I always take a holiday playlist and the speakers on my phone just don’t cut it!

Stu James 07/02/14    Link Report

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Yep – head torches are great for those 4am starts when you don’t want to wake up dorm room mates!

Also – if you ever find yourself without a speaker but in need of music… Put an iPhone (speaker-side down) in an EMPTY wine glass, it amplifies the sound surprisingly well!

Lottie Gross 10/02/14    Link Report

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Yeah I’ve used a pint glass on a few occasions! The speaker I currently use is called an X-Mini 2, it’s £12, lasts for 11 hours on one charge, is nice and compact and has great sound. Plus you can daisy chain them together, which worked great when my friends and I were in Thailand as we all have one.

Stu James 10/02/14    Link Report

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Doesn’t need to be just an i-phone; my Android Samsung S 111 with stereo speakers work well in a bucket!

Terence Francis 19/03/14    Link Report

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  • That SteriPen looks SO USEFUL. I could drink the tap water in Sicily!

    For me an ereader is non-negotiable. I love paper books, but they’re heavy, they tear, crumple and stain (especially if they’re travelling with me!), and once you finish them they do not magically turn into a new thing that you can start reading. I have a (by now) ancient Kindle Keyboard which has a battery life of approximately forever and free 3G; the browser is slow and buggy, but being able to access the Internet from anywhere without paying was a huge help when I was on Jailbreak a few years ago. Plus, you know, books.

    Rampant capitalism aside, my current wistful dream is of noise-cancelling over-ear headphones. There are some obvious benefits (maybe being able to sleep on transport?), but especially if I’m travelling alone I find that, even if they’re not switched on, having an imposing-looking pair of headphones on that make it seemingly impossible for me to hear you makes being hassled by random strangers a lot easier to navigate.

    Rei Haberberg 07/02/14    Link Report

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    Haha, like the headphone idea. I don’t think it’s such a wistful dream, you can pick a pretty good pair of sound isolating headphones for under £40. Search for Sony MDR-V55 on Amazon, they got 4.5 stars out of 5 with over 400 reviews. Obviously depends on your style though.

    Stu James 07/02/14    Link Report

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    great read

    Super Admin 10/02/14    Link Report

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    I found this really interesting

    Scott 10/02/14    Link Report

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    I love the Steri Pen idea!

    Kia 10/02/14    Link Report

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    That’s interesting…

    Terence Francis 19/03/14    Link Report

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  • I agree with the previous suggestions entirely! Especially an ereader – a long plane or train journey without books is painful to consider for me, but weight is always an issue…

    A Japan-specific must-have gadget is the denshi jisho. They’re electronic dictionaries, and you may see a few East Asian tourists with them on trips here. They’re spectacularly useful – the size of an e-reader, and much easier to navigate than a standard Japanese dictionary. You can even draw in the kanji that’s perplexing you, or hear the pronunciation!

    There are a lot of apps which do similar things, but the computing power of these means they can carry a huge range of vocabulary and grammar, which I think makes them indispensable for anyone studying Japanese. Plus (usually) they have grammar exercises, games, books, and expansion packs for Korean, Chinese, French, German…

    Rebecca Hallett 10/02/14    Link Report

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    That sounds cool. Something similar that blew my mind recently was an app that is available for Google Glass, you can look at a sign or some text, select the language you want to translate it to and it displays the translation in real time in the Glass display!

    Stu James 10/02/14    Link Report

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  • I’ve always been a big fan of PowerMonkey portable chargers – I don’t go anywhere without mine! Basically a great little portable device to charge phones, cameras, iPods etc while on the road. Perfect for a couple of days trekking to make sure your camera doesn’t die at a key picture moment! And handy to keep in the car as an emergency phone charger when you’re back from your travels.

    Olivia Rawes 20/02/14    Link Report

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    I always take the aforementioned eReader and head torch. And for my next trip, which will be for several months, I will definitely look into one of the PowerMonkey portable charger or something similar. However, my recommendations are two fairly traditional “gadgets” – a compass and a tin cup. I never leave without them. The compass may not be a necessity – unless you’re me – as I’m obsessed with knowing where I am and what direction the sun will set and rise. I love maps so I always set my map using my compass so I know which way everything is.

    The tin cup, however, I would recommend this for everyone. It always comes in useful when traveling. Whether you end up using it to brush your teeth with in grotty hostels; wash yourself with when camping or on the road; making your tea or coffee in because the cups provided in hotels are really small or even, rather unconventionally, drinking water from – my tin cup is indispensable! Most recently it came in handy when I was trekking off a mountain in Romania, and hadn’t had a drink for hours and there wasn’t any natural resources nearby. I ended up going up to an office of a solar energy plant and asking for a cupful of water. Make sure it’s tin – it will withstand falling down a mountain – that’s tried and tested! Not sure it’s a gadget, but it’s my useful travel accessory.

    Scratch Video 20/02/14    Link Report

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  • I always take the aforementioned eReader and head torch. And for my next trip, which will be for several months, I will definitely look into one of the PowerMonkey portable charger or something similar. However, my recommendations are two fairly traditional “gadgets” – a compass and a tin cup. I never leave without them. The compass may not be a necessity – unless you’re me – as I’m obsessed with knowing where I am and what direction the sun will set and rise. I love maps so I always set my map using my compass so I know which way everything is.

    The tin cup, however, I would recommend this for everyone. It always comes in useful when traveling. Whether you end up using it to brush your teeth with in grotty hostels; wash yourself with when camping or on the road; making your tea or coffee in because the cups provided in hotels are really small or even, rather unconventionally, drinking water from – my tin cup is indispensable! Most recently it came in handy when I was trekking off a mountain in Romania, and hadn’t had a drink for hours and there wasn’t any natural resources nearby. I ended up going up to an office of a solar energy plant and asking for a cupful of water. Make sure it’s tin – it will withstand falling down a mountain – that’s tried and tested! Not sure it’s a gadget, but it’s my useful travel accessory.

    Scratch Video 26/02/14    Link Report

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  • Velcro tape for shoes. Clothing rolls. Anything that needs instant compression

    gallison 07/03/14    Link Report

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  • One of the most important ways when travelling without a tripod is to fill up a medium accessory soft bag with polyester small balls, attach it under your telephoto lens (anything above 200mm a must and by holding your right biceps with your left hand rest the bag on your left elbow and the barrel of the lens on the polyester filled bag. You’ll find out that you have a perfect stable position for any lens you want to use without a tripod. It is light weight, compact and cheap essential stabiliser in your travelling kit. Safari Photo Caine

    Safari Photo Caine 19/03/14    Link Report

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  • Carrying electronics gadgets includes many advantages. But be careful while carrying them.

    smashertony 27/03/14    Link Report

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