5 Must-have Travel Gadgets for Your Next Vacation
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When it comes to vacation time, the last thing you want is to be weighted down with a heavy laptop and a pile of unread email notifications. However, there's some tech that you definitely should take on your vacation: gadgets that can help you have fun and won't even weigh down your bag. At least not much.
For capturing memories: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS25
Though your smartphone can act as a basic point-and-shoot, if you want better photos, you'll want to carry a better camera. This will make capturing photographic proof—and video, too—of your vacation an easy task. Our favorite mid-range camera is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS25, which offers a good balance of features in a modestly-sized package that isn't too bulky to carry everywhere. The 16 megapixel camera can also capture video in full HD and has a 20X zoom. But if the Lumix doesn't strike your fancy, check our camera guide for more recommendations.
For getting away from it all: Noise-canceling headphone
For some trips, getting there is half the fun. But for most trips, getting there involves a series of long waits at airports, in lines, and crammed into airplanes. Packing a pair of noise-canceling headphones is a guaranteed way to make your travel experience fun by letting you lose yourself in your favorite music or a good audiobook. Just remember to take them off occasionally to talk with your traveling companions!
Our favorites are the Monster Inspiration Active Noise Canceling Over-Ear Headphones. Though active noise canceling is pricier than passive noise canceling—and requires batteries—we think the better noise canceling power is worth the cost. But even if you don't have room in your budget for these, be sure to pack a pair of headphones: anything is better than nothing.
For reading outside: Kindle Paperwhite
You may not want to catch up on your email while you're on vacation, but an ereader will keep the Internet away while letting you catch up on your reading. Our favorite ereader, the Kindle Paperwhite, has a display that's easy to read in bright sunlight but also lights up in the dark, making it the perfect beach vacation companion. And, as an added plus, it weighs no more than a paperback. When you finish the book you're working on you just need to connect to Wi-Fi to download a new one which might even be free. Easy!
And if you're one of those who prefers a tablet to a dedicated ereader, you're allowed to carry one so long as you remember to skip the work email while you're on vacation time.
Price: $119 on Amazon
For keeping your gadgets going: New Trent iCarrier portable battery
Vacation means always being on the go, which means you may not have time to charge your smartphone or other gadgets—which can be especially problematic if you're using your smartphone to get maps or travel guides. Fortunately, there's an easy solution: pack a portable battery and then you can charge your gadgets without having to stop for recharging.
We like the New Trent iCarrier because of its powerful 12,000mAh battery, rugged casing, ability to charge tablets, as well as phones, and modest 10oz weight.
For tunes on the go: Logitech UE Mobile Boombox
Just how are you supposed to take your favorite music, books, or other audio entertainment with you on the go—whether in your hotel room, at the beach, in the park, or anywhere else your trip takes you? A wireless speaker like the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox is the way to go.
This gadget will pair with your smartphone or other audio player by Bluetooth to play crisp, clear music. But it's not just another Bluetooth speaker: weighing just over 10oz and with a 10 hour battery life, the Mobile Boombox is supremely portable. We couldn't recommend a better companion for the beach or at a picnic.
It's the little things that count
Before you head out the door, make sure you haven't forgotten to pack:
- Charging cables for all of the gadgets you're carrying.
- Memory cards for your digital camera.
- Because hotels never have enough power outlets, you might want to bring a small power strip if you're carrying more than a couple of gadgets. We like the Belikin BST300 SurgePlus Mini Travel. It has three outlets plus two USB ports for charging tablets or phones. Price: $27.76 on Amazon.
- If you're traveling by car and like to watch movies—or have kids who like to watch movies—a car tablet mount is just the thing. We like the Arkon Tablet Headrest Mount, which is entirely worth the $27 price on Amazon.
Now that you've got entertainment covered, have a safe and fun vacation!