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8 Great Travel Gadgets

posted by on November 11, 2014 in Travel, Travel & Entertainment, Guides & Reviews :: 6 comments

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Smartphones are already a one-stop shop for almost every part of a vacation, from booking it to figuring out where the nearest airport bar is, checking in and getting a boarding pass.

Now a slew of new gadgets are making the arduous process of going on holiday even smoother — from a suitcase that weighs itself to sensors that track lost luggage and a bracelet that warns of impending sunburn.


Portable power

ChargeAll Portable Wall OutletChargeAll Portable Wall Outlet

That 10-hour layover could be the death of your laptop, leaving you Netflix-less until you reach your final destination. The ChargeAll battery pack provides both a three-pin socket for charging larger devices, such as speakers and TVs, and two USB ports for charging smartphones, tablets and pocket cameras. The smaller version of the ChargeAll is slightly larger than an iPhone 5 and can store 12,000mAh of power (enough for two laptop charges); the larger one stores 18,000 mAH and weighs a hefty 5 pounds.

Price: $199.95 or $229.95 at


Ultrapak Tour Portable Battery PackUnu Ultrapak Tour Portable Battery Pack

If you use your smartphone to take photos and navigate on your travels, the last thing you need is for the battery to run dry. The Utrapkak Tour portable battery can charge itself in 15 minutes enough to almost fully recharge an iPhone 5 (2,000mAh), and it stores enough juice to recharge most smartphones three times (10,000mAh).

With an LED readout on top, you’ll always know exactly how much charge you have left. And you can plug in two devices at once to charge with its 5V-1amp and 5V-2.1amp charging ports.

Price: $99.99 at Amazon


Stay sun-safe

Neatmo June UV Exposure BraceletNetatmo June UV Exposure Bracelet

Off on a jaunt to the beach? The Netatmo June measures the sun levels you’re exposing yourself to and sends protection alerts to a Bluetooth-paired iPhone. A water-resistant UV sensor set beneath a plastic jewel reads the current conditions outside and combines that with a sun-sensitivity rating based on your skin tone, eye color and hair color to recommend an appropriate sunscreen.

The accompanying iPhone app displays a Sun Dose meter that warns you when you've been out too long, based on the UV index, your sun sensitivity and whether you're wearing sunscreen. At the start of the day, the app suggests recommended sun protection such as a hat or high-SPF sunscreen.

The June comes in platinum, gold or gunmetal jewel colors with two wristbands in leather and silicone, plus a USB-rechargeable battery.

Price: $99 from Amazon


Hide valuables safely

The Lock BoxThe Lock Box

If you've planned a more active vacation, this credit-card-sized box with a combo lock is great for safely hiding keys and ID when you hit the trails, surf or slopes.

The box accommodates most car keys plus cards and small valuables, and a padlock-style U-shackle lets you attach it somewhere safe, such as beneath your car.

The box and U-shackle are secured via a combination lock, so there's no key to lose while you're hanging ten or rafting the rapids.

Price: $35


Track your bags

TrakdotTrakdot Luggage Tracker

Pop the Trakdot into your checked-in luggage. If the airline loses your bag, this compact device helps you find it by connecting to a cellphone network when the plane touches down. It can then send its location via text or email, handy if you're traveling internationally without cellular roaming and can only connect via Wi-Fi.

While GPS signals can be blocked by thick walls (such as airport basement storage), the Trakdot's GSM connection means it can be tracked anywhere in the world that there is cellphone coverage, except countries that don’t use GSM such as Japan and South Korea. The Trakdot runs on two AA batteries.

Price: $49.99 from Trakdot or from $64.50at Amazon; one year free service, $19.99/year after that


LugLocLugLoc Luggage Tracker

Similar to the Trakdot but without the annual subscription fee is the LugLoc. It also uses the GSM network to track luggage but connects only to iPhones and Android phones via the LugLoc app. Instead of shelling out a yearly subscription fee, you purchase individual traces only when you actually need to find your luggage. The LugLoc runs on a rechargeable battery.

Price: $59.95 from , traces from $2.99 each


Techie Tags

TileTile Location Stickers

If you're worried about losing smaller items such as your passport, tablet or kids' backpacks, these micro-location sensors stick on the back of your belongings and can be tracked from up to 100 feet away by a Bluetooth-paired smartphone. If a lost item is outside that 100-foot radius, the app will show the tag’s last known location on your phone's maps app, based on the last time the Tile connected to the app.

The Tile app displays the distance to all tagged items. Tap each on-screen item to make the Tile tag play an audible melody. As you get closer to your tagged item, the app’s tracking circle will fill in, letting you know you’re getting closer.

Tile sensors last about a year, at which time you’ll need to replace them. The device works with iPhone 4S or newer and Android 4.3 or newer.

Price: Starts at $20 for one from


The ultimate smart suitcase

Bluesmart Carry-on Luggage WeigherBluesmart Carry-on Luggage Weigher

Forget waiting until check-in to discover that your carry-on luggage is too heavy. Just lift the handle on the Bluesmart, and its sensor records its weight and displays it in a companion smartphone app. And GPS lets you track the suitcase via the app so that if it ends up in a different city, you can pinpoint where it’s gone.

If you forget to lock your suitcase, proximity sensors clock when the suitcase is separated from you and then locks automatically. You'll receive an SMS alert when your suitcase is outside a set distance from you, handy if you should leave it behind while browsing the duty-free shops. The Bluesmart app tracks your suitcase to record trip stats such as where you've been, how far you've traveled and how much time you spend per journey. It also syncs with your calendar (and, down the line, other travel apps) to send flight alerts and packing reminders.

On the design end, a handy pocket at the front holds laptops and tablets for easy removal during security screenings, and its built-in USB charger holds enough juice to refresh your smartphone six times. The lock itself is TSA-approved so baggage inspectors can easily open it, and you can share access with trusted friends via the Bluesmart app.

Price: Funding from $295 (retail expected at $450) at Indiegogo; expected delivery July 2015

Discussion loading

another important item

From Ron Man on November 11, 2014 :: 2:00 pm

A Travel Router is a great thing to have—create your own wireless network from a corded Internet line—in hotels or wherever. Can be bought for $20.


What is the purse in

From Jeri on November 12, 2014 :: 8:11 am

What is the purse in the photo? I love the outside pockets, just right for passport, tickets, etc.


What you should not forget also

From Karl on February 15, 2015 :: 11:29 am

I believe a good precision timepiece can also serve well during your travel.


LocLoc is useless

From F.M. Asher on June 14, 2015 :: 9:50 pm

LugLoc is a useless device. It’s been two hours, and still the app is saying that it’s trying to communicate with the device, i.e. with the LugLoc. Customer service? There’s no phone number. I’ve sent several emails. No answer. If you need help with lost luggage, you need a responsive company. This most certainly is not one.


LugLoc works great

From J. Michael on September 15, 2015 :: 2:41 pm

I saw that another post had issues with his device, luckily I never had any problems. LugLoc takes a few minutes to be traced sometimes, but its location is shown in the map which is great. I had to contact customer service at one point, and they answered my e-mail almost immediately, giving me a call afterwards. Would definitely recommend, since I’ve got my luggage lost several times and don’t want to go through that again.


Lock Bock

From Adams on March 05, 2016 :: 2:37 am

Is it not too bogus and inconveniencing with this lockbox?


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