There’s quite a range of travel tech on the market today. For big spenders, a real-life, to-scale Delorean car conversion kit or an underwater RV will certainly impress your friends — but they may not be the most practical purchases.
There are countless gizmos and gadgets specifically for travelers that aren’t quite as ostentatious. From tech to keep an eye on your home or pets while you’re out of town to handy gadgets for translation or keeping your smartphone powered up, we’ve rounded up a few useful technologies for frequent jetsetters below.
1. August Smart Lock
These secure locks are quickly becoming an integral part of any smart home. This keyless entry system consists of an easy-to-install lock (compatible with existing single cylinder deadbolts) and a mobile app, from which you’ll be able to alter settings and grant access to friends, family or neighbors indefinitely or for a set number of days.
If you’ll have a house-sitter while you’re away on vacation, you can easily grant (and revoke) access to your home remotely. August utilizes the same technology that many financial institutions rely on for online banking to ensure utmost security, so you can rest assured that your home is safe. Additionally, if your phone is lost or stolen you can easily disable authentication for the device online at august.com. The smart lock is currently compatible with iPhone and Android devices.
Star Trek fans may remember the universal translator, a fictional device that deciphers alien tongues into a user’s native language. Sigmo is a technology that exists IRL today; the successfully crowdfunded, portable gadget translates 25 languages in real-time.
Google Translate, which can be downloaded directly to your smartphone, is another option for language translation. Although the new technology doesn’t seem to have all the bugs worked out when it comes to translating idioms or other colloquialisms, it may prove invaluable for simple commands and finding your way around a foreign city.
3. Travel adapter
Power outlet adapters are staples of any frequent traveler’s assemblage, but this particular model is compact enough to easily fit in your pocket or purse, and its unique design ensures that you won’t be searching the bottom of your suitcase for small pieces or detachable parts.
For pet lovers who can’t shake the anxiety of leaving Fido behind, there’s Petcube. The compact cube connects to your home’s Wi-Fi, and a video stream enables you to keep an eye on your pets when you’re out of the house — you can even speak to and play with your furry friends via the device’s two-way audio stream and built-in laser pointer.
Petcube is one of the most successfully crowdfunded pet products to date, and the next round of shipping begins in February — perfect for those of you planning trips around spring break. The accompanying free mobile app is available for iOS and Android as of January 2015.
5. GoPro Hero4
Touted as “the most advanced GoPro yet,” the Hero4 comes in two versions: Black and Silver. Both versions feature built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy access to the GoPro app, and fast and powerful photo capturing capabilities (up to 12MP photos at speeds up to 30 fps).
The Black model also features improved image quality with a processor twice as powerful as its predecessor, as well as ultra-high resolution. With the Silver version, users can take advantage of a built-in touch display for easy framing, image adjustments and playback. Never miss a shot in low-light or at nighttime with customizable exposure settings and easy manual control.
6. Power card
Image: Uncommon Goods
Taking up about the same amount of space as a regular credit card, the Wallet Titan is a lifesaver when you’re on the go and can’t be tethered to a power outlet. This little guy has a sleek design that easily slips into your wallet, and is compatible with USB devices including smartphones, digital cameras and more. The card can power your iPhone up to 60% and gets high ratings from users for compactness and ease of use for travel.
7. Onyx group communication system
Consider Onyx the 21st century version of the Walkie-Talkie, in a much more compact package. This wearable group communication tool by Orion (formerly OnBeep) is useful for collaboration or keeping tabs on the whole family while you’re out and about on travel excursions or at the amusement park.
The device connects through your smartphone and works anywhere with a data connection — so whether you’re next door or halfway around the world, you can easily communicate with friends and travel companions without having to deal with the fiasco of group texting.
8. Wacaco Minipresso
For serious caffeine addicts, having your morning fix on the go is an essential, not a luxury. Compatible with any Caffitaly capsules, this adorable mini machine will make your morning espresso on the go.
Ideal for hostels, hotels or camping, the Minipresso weighs less than a pound, includes a built-in cup and fits easily in a backpack or carry on.
9. Prynt smartphone case
It’s one thing to have albums and albums full of beautiful travel pics on your phone, but nothing beats tangible photos. Prynt is a smartphone case that turns your mobile device into an instant camera and photo printer: It has a rechargeable internal battery so as not to drain your phone’s power, does not require an Internet connection and doesn’t even require an ink cartridge. Simply plug it into your phone, snap a photo and instantly print as many copies as you want for $0.50 a piece using the Prynt app.
10. Wi-Fi and USB cufflinks
These Ravi Ratan cufflinks, fitting for a 007 movie, discretely provide wearers with both a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 2GB mini USB. Perfect for business meetings on the go (or at the airport), these cufflinks are modern and chic — and even engraveable for additional personal flair.
11. Luggage monitor
If you’ve ever dealt with the headache of lost luggage, the Trakdot Luggage Tracker is a worthy investment. Track your checked baggage anywhere your mobile phone works, and even receive text messages for peace of mind upon landing at your destination that alert you to the status and location of your belongings.
12. Switch customizable pocket knife
Though you’ll want to be sure that you don’t carry Switch to the airport, the handy and customizable pocket knife is perfect for a road trip emergency kit or for a weekend of camping. The modular pocket knife comes with 12 interchangeable attachments; you can mix and match the parts depending on the most useful tools for your trip. The knife includes: a blade, a wood saw, a serrated blade, a bottle opener/flathead screwdriver, a micro flathead screwdriver, a micro Phillips screwdriver, a file, a Phillips screwdriver, pliers, scissors, an LED flashlight and a mirror/tweezer/pick/pen.
13. The Rolls Royce of selfie sticks
Even if you’re not normally the biggest fan of selfies, chances are you’ll want at least a few pictures from your travels to forever remember an unbelievable sunset or a can’t-miss tourist attraction — and prove that you were there to witness the spectacle. Selfie sticks are all the rage right now, and the PolarPro PowerPole is one of the top-of-the-line models: It’s compatible with GoPro cameras, and will extend film time up to 10 hours with the built-in 5200 mAh battery. The device extends 17-30 inches and is splash-proof.
Have any favorite travel tech gadgets to share? Let us know in the comments.
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