A portable charger
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With a portable charger, you’ll never have to see that depleted battery icon in the corner of your screen, the little red column growing smaller and smaller until – horror! – your device switches off and you’re stuck with nothing but your own thoughts for company. The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 can charge multiple devices quickly – up to 80 per cent in 35 minutes – and can do it multiple times during the course of your journey before it needs some juice itself.
A clever carry-on
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The Bluesmart One is the only carry-on luggage you’ll ever need. Bluesmart One has a built-in GPS and phone-operated lock, it charges your devices and even weighs itself. The lightweight case is water and scratch resistant and the battery charger allows for up to six recharging sessions. About the only thing it doesn’t do is iron your clothes, but they’re probably working on that.
A pair of noise-cancelling headphones
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Once you’ve done a long-haul flight with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, you’ll never go back. You’ll smile serenely at the screaming baby in the seat in front – its caterwauling cannot touch you. There are loads of options on the market but not all noise-cancelling headphones were created equal. Bose QuietComfort 35s create an aural world only you are privy to. With these, it’s not about what you can hear, it’s about what you can’t.
A jetlag fighter
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OK, it’s not a cool look, but you’re not going to be wearing these Luminette specs anywhere but in the privacy of your own hotel room. Light therapy has been shown to help with disorders such as insomnia and jet lag but until now it hasn’t been very portable. Don your snazzy Luminette glasses for half an hour or so in the morning and, if the science is to be believed, you’ll find your body much better able to cope with a new time zone and disordered sleep.
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If, like most of us, you’ve had to break into your own luggage halfway through a trip because the piddly little keys to your suitcase lock have gone missing, we have great news: Nokē has produced the world’s first Bluetooth padlock. It automatically finds and connects to your Bluetooth-enabled phone that you can then use to secure or open the padlock. It’s also possible to share access to your locked items with other people and specify the day, time, location and duration of access. The history function lets you see exactly where, when and by whom your lock was accessed, too. If you forget your phone, you can create a custom access code of short and long taps to open it manually.
A smartphone camera lens
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Smartphone cameras are getting better and better but there are still some limitations. The Ōlloclip acts as a wide-angle lens for mobiles, giving mobile photographers double the field of vision for capturing those incredible street scenes and landscapes. To use, simply clip the small, lightweight lens to your phone’s camera – there are versions for Samsung, iPhone and even iPad.
A portable speaker
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Tiny portable Bluetooth speakers are excellent for mobile parties, but the smaller and more convenient the speaker, the more likely it is to have that obnoxious, tinny sound quality. The Sol Republic Punk speaker has cleverly avoided that aural injustice with very convincing bass for a speaker the size of a bar of soap. It’s also water resistant and built to withstand the perils of travel.
A selfie button
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If you don’t post a selfie to Instagram in that exotic locale, were you really there? Master the art of the travel selfie with the Satechi Bluetooth Button Series. With this Bluetooth shutter button, you can take a snap without having to hold your phone out in front of you, or use one of those frankly undignified selfie sticks. Just position your phone and perfect that “Oh, I didn’t see you there!” face.
A water-purifying wand
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If you’ve ever had a trip ruined by Bali (or Delhi, or Bolivia) belly, you’ll know that clean water is key to preventing intestinal interruptions. The SteriPen Ultraviolet Bacteria and Pathogen Killing Water Wand (phew!) works by disrupting the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in water, rendering them harmless. Simply stick it in a glass or bottle of water, turn it on, and swoosh it around for 90 seconds (for one litre) and voila! Clean water, happy tummy and fewer plastic water bottles thrown into landfill.
A techy Swiss Army knife
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The clever designers at Victorinox know it’s important to move with the times. That’s why they’ve made a couple of nifty additions to the classic Swiss Army knife, in the form of a USB stick and a LED. The nifty @Work model is small enough to fit on your key ring and and has all the regular tools including nail file, pen, knife, scissors, screwdriver and bottle opener. So, no need to MacGyver that bottle of wine or resort to a disposable camera because your camera’s memory card is full – just use the original multi-tasker in your pocket.
A travel tracker
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Getting lost is part of the joy of travel – until you can’t find that divine little trattoria you stumbled upon in the backstreets of Bologna yesterday. That’s where Trackstick comes in. Unlike GPS systems that tell you where you’re going, Trackstick lets you know where you’ve been. The device (we like Trackstick Mini for its diminutive size) records your perambulations by communicating with satellites, and when used with mapping technology like Google Earth, it tells you exactly where you went, what you saw and when you saw it. Use the Trackstick on anything that moves – stick it in the car and it’ll remember your route; or, you know, attach it to the cat and finally find out if he really does have a second family.
A handy communication device
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Yes, a mobile phone IS a handy communication device, except when it’s going to cost you the price of a small car in fees or you’ve got no reception. The goTenna system allows two or more people with the goTenna paired to their smartphone to text each other within about 4.8 kilometres, even without any mobile service. It’s perfect for travellers who want to go off-grid, people hiking in staggered groups or for staying in touch at a large museum, music festival or market.
Up Next: The Best Apps to Keep Kids Entertained During Travel
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When it comes to keeping kids entertained while travelling, most parents would admit that apps are some of the best tools you can have in your arsenal. These are some of the best.