What The Tech: Travel Gadgets
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many people are going on vacation for the first time in 2-3 years. Whether you’re traveling by air or highway it’s important to pack light. It’s also important to pack enough.
And by enough, I’m talking about things you’re going to need to make sure you have enough power to keep all of your gadgets charged and ready to go for a day of sightseeing.
Hotels and condos never seem to have enough outlets to charge everything. Phones, laptops, watches, tablets, earbuds, and all the other things. If you haven’t hit the road for a few days since 2019 chances are you are packing more gadgets that need charging each night. Ha, the first thing my family does in a hotel room is to search for an outlet they can claim for the week.
You can convert one outlet into 5 with a portable power strip. You can pack one of the old power strips often found in the garage. You can also pack a power strip just for traveling. Anker, one of my favorite tech brands, has several portable batteries. They’re small enough to toss in a suitcase. With 3 AC outlets, a USB-C port, and two standard USBs you won’t need charging blocks.
Rather than packing separate cables for your devices, take a look at a 3-in-1 charging cable. You can find these online and in some big box retail stores. It’s genius really. The cables have a micro-USB plug but also have 2 connected adapters for an Apple Lightning cable and a USB-C. When you need to charge a device with a different plug, just connect the adapter to the micro-USB. These are especially handy tossed into a backpack so you always have the right cable when you need it.
You will need a portable charger at some point and there are many brands to choose from. iOttie makes a sleek-looking portable battery charger that’s totally wireless, just place the phone on the charger. Anker has portable power banks for all devices, and a new portable battery model that connects to iPhones 12 and up with a magnet so you’ll never have to worry about cables or wires.
One word of caution when purchasing a portable battery charger: make sure you have the right cable to go with it. Some new charging packs only have outputs for USB-C cables. Double-check what you’re getting.
Vacation photos look better if the phone camera is steady. Joby makes a pocket-sized tripod that needs no mount, just fit the phone inside the clips for steady shots. The mini (I might even call it a micro) tripod is tiny but does the job whether you’re taking shots of the kids by the pool or trying to capture a video of a sunset.
If you need readers when you want to sit by the pool and read you might find yourself propping up the readers you have inside your sunglasses. Nothing looks worse. Thin Optics makes a very thin style of readers that rests on the bridge of your nose. They’re small enough to tuck inside your sunglasses. I picked up a pair of these years ago and finally wore them out. You can find inexpensive versions online. Wear them behind your favorite sunglasses and no one will notice you have them on. They’re tech-related because they fold into a small case that can be attached to a phone, tablet, or e-reader so you’ll always have readers with you. They come in all strengths.
Here’s my tech packing list that I take on vacation:
● An e-reader such as a Kindle that needs no internet connection and is splash-proof with
● Portable power strip.
● Portable battery (I usually pack a couple because someone always needs a charge).
● A fast-charging block for when I return to the hotel room and need to refresh my phone
● 3-1 charging cable with micro-USB, Lightning, and USB-C outputs.
● Thin Optics readers.
● Smartphone camera lenses to get even wider shots of sunsets.
● Joby mini-smartphone tripod
And when we travel I make sure to download movies or TV shows onto a phone or tablet so we can watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu even when we don’t have an internet connection.
But, don’t forget the sunscreen too. Like these travel gadgets, it’s more expensive if you have to buy it in the airport or hotel gift shop.