Travelling is one of life’s joys: from the high-end playground of Las Vegas to Vietnam’s lush greenery, this planet is full of amazing sights and experiences.
The more you travel, the more you appreciate the art of careful and selective packing to make the most of the experience (and limited baggage allowances) and, if you’re a gadget lover like me, the tech that you couldn’t travel without.
For the journey, it’s important to rest well and travel with minimum distractions from a noisy, cramped aircraft. The top gadget for this: noise cancelling headphones. Swap the thrum of the engines and the white noise roar of blasting air conditioning for some relaxing music or an audiobook about your destination.
While Bose are widely recognised as the gold standard in noise cancelling headphones, they also run quite expensive, especially if you’re not a frequent traveller. However, you can achieve good isolation (and better all-round sound quality) with a good pair of over ear or in-ear headphones. In- ear are best if you’re hoping to sleep and I’ve been a fan of RHA’s range for a few years now as they combine quality sound, sensible pricing and, most importantly, a great selection of earbuds to fit pretty much every ear.
After sound, the next thing to block is the light, especially if you want to sleep during a day flight. Always pack a blindfold or, for something a bit more innovative, a purpose-built travel jumper.
Stay in Charge
Once you’re on the ground, it’s phone out and devices at the ready. Like it or not, we live through our tech so it’s imperative to keep some spare juice onside.
Battery packs have come a long way so if you’re using an older model, it’s definitely worth the upgrade, particularly with smartphone screens draining batteries seemingly faster than ever. Look for a pack that’s at least 10,000mAh, which should fully recharge a standard phone two to three times. If you’re doing some serious exploring, you can now get packs up to 30,000mAh.
Another lifesaver is a power-sharing lead. This clever wire connects two USB devices to syphon power from one to the other. So if you’re lost with your phone dying, give Maps some energy from your tablet; sometimes it’s better to find your destination than to have the next series of Game of Thrones ready to watch.
For more relaxing holidays, I also pack a watch winder box for my treasured automatic watch. This protects the watch through travel and is great for popping in the hotel safe when I’m not wearing it. Best of all, it keeps my watch fully charged and ready to slip on for the evenings – and it makes me feel like James Bond, like all good gadgets should!
The last cluster of travel gadgets will help you get the perfect photo – preferably not a selfie – in any situation.
For making the most of the natural light for outdoor photos, The Photographer’s Ephemeris app is invaluable. Available for Android and Apple devices, this powerful tool shows you how the light will fall on the land, day or night, wherever you are. So whether you’re trying to capture magic hour or the perfect shadow from a mountain or building, this is your go-to planner.
For positioning your camera, a flexible portable tripod or GorillaPod is a must. With flexible legs to twist around any surface, it’s an easy way to get timelapse photos, steady videos or just perfectly timed snaps with no effort.
Finally, if you’re less serious about your cameras (or forgot to pack your DSLR before hitting the road), the new range of smartphone camera accessories is genuinely impressive. At the simple level, check out clip-on camera lenses from Olloclip or Moment which will throw open a whole range of wide angle and close-up options for your picture pleasure – perfect for snapping a desert vista one minute, then a cute bug on a cactus the next. For a more high-tech, though expensive, experience Sony’s QX cameras create a local wi-fi network to connect to your device and create great results.
Happy tech travelling!
Guest Blogger: Ed Phelan