Of course, you won’t forget your smartphone, considering it’s the one device you bring with you everywhere. On a vacation, a digital Swiss Army Knife is your camera and camcorder, music player, GPS navigation tool and mobile wallet. Just make sure you’ve loaded any available apps from your airline. That way, you’ll get real-time notifications on important changes like delays and gate switches. Loading free apps for ride-sharing services such as Lyft or Uber can also help you find transportation if you get stuck in a new city.
Here are a few other suggestions for helpful gadgets to bring along on your next getaway.
There’s nothing worse than when your tech conks out before you do!
Because smartphones can do so much today, their batteries run down frequently. That's why you should seriously consider bringing a portable battery booster, which eliminates the need to search around for a wall plug to charge your smartphone, pocket camera or wireless headphones.
Many of today’s models let you juice up a smartphone multiple times and more than one product at a time. Plus, you’ll see small LED lights on the battery that indicate when it’s time to charge up again (perhaps once you reach your hotel room).
Solid options include the small mophie powerstation XL ($70), a 10,000mAh battery that can power up a typical smartphone about three times, and the Beatit Tech Portable Charger ($55), an 18,000mAh solution that can also give your car a boost with its red-and-black jumper cables.
A great solar pick is Goal Zero’s Nomad 7 Plus ($100), a foldable waterproof panel with removable kickstand for adjustable positioning. Compatible with most USB-chargeable devices, including smartphones, GPS and headlamps, this charger includes an easy-to-read LED indicator that displays the strength of solar conditions and the charging speed.
Tablets make for exceptional travel partners, as they're ideal for reading ebooks, digital newspapers and magazines. Extremely thin and light, they can last all day on a single charge. And some tablets have integrated cellular connectivity, so you don’t have to hunt for a Wi-Fi hot spot to get online.
Typically, tablets range in size from 7 to 12 inches. As with a smartphone, you can choose between Apple’s iOS (iPad) and Android (everyone else), plus there are some Windows-compatible tablets.
A few models to consider: the 8-inch Asus ZenPad 8.0 ($129), Lenovo’s 10-inch Tab 4 10 Plus ($249) and the Apple iPad (128GB storage) with WiFi + Cellular ($559 or $69 on 2-year plan with carrier).
Those who want to read books only should try the Kindle models from Amazon, including the new Kindle Oasis ($249), the first waterproof e-reader you can bring to the beach or pool. Its 7-inch display is easy on the eyes, and turning pages is fast and intuitive.
A pair of comfortable, great-sounding, noise-canceling headphones are like an instant upgrade for your next plane or train ride.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones ($179) are engineered to block out ambient noise around you while providing deep, powerful and balanced sounds. Though they're not wireless, you can remove the cable from the headphones should you want silence. Available in multiple colors, these come with a matching travel case.
Sony’s MDR-1000X ($399) wireless headphones are high quality and super soft. Powered by Bluetooth, the headphones allow you to block out ambient noise around you or to select the “Quick Attention” feature, which lets you cup your hand over the right earphone if you want to temporarily stop noise cancellation to talk to someone.
The Balanzza Mini Rechargeable Scale ($25) is a small digital luggage scale that lets you easily weigh your luggage before heading to the airport (all the better to avoid airline weight overage charges). Simply attach the strap to your luggage, use the handle to lift it up, and hold until you hear a beep. For the same price, Samsonite offers an electronic luggage scale, which weighs bags up to 80 pounds and features a built-in tape measure.
A smartwatch can give you a break from reaching for your phone every time you want to send a text or look up directions to the next destination on your sightseeing list. And just for fun, many now let you customize the face to match your style, mood and outfit. Examples include Fossil Q Gen 2 (from $153; for Android and iPhone) and Apple Watch Series 3 (from $329; for iPhone)
If you prefer the feel of a physical keyboard for typing long emails or writing a journal, Logitech’s aptly named Keys-To-Go ($70) is an ultra-portable, standalone Bluetooth keyboard that can be used with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android devices and Windows machines. Available in blue, red or black, this mechanical 9.5-inch-long keyboard is covered with FabricSkin, which can be wiped off if spilled on, and has an integrated battery that lasts up to three months on a single charge. Alternatively, Microsoft’s compact Universal Foldable Keyboard ($99) is a clamshell companion that unfolds to a full-sized keyboard and can be simultaneously paired via Bluetooth with a mobile device — be it an iPhone, iPad, Android device, Windows phone or tablet.