Travelling and tech go hand in hand these days. Every traveller needs, at very least, something to help while away the hours during a layover in ‘nowheresville’. These little tech toys make the perfect gift for the travel enthusiast this Christmas, no matter what sort of adventuring they are into.
Hand Powered Backup Battery
Give the gift of preparation this Christmas by presenting your loved one with a hand-cranked battery charger. These devices generate a charge by cranking the handle and sending it to any device that can be connected via a USB. This is great in case of emergency or even if all the outlets are full in a busy airport. A minute of cranking will allow enough charge to a cell phone to send a few text messages or to make a quick one minute call. The Eton Boost Turbine Hand-Powered Backup Battery runs gift givers about $63 this holiday season.
A travel adaptor is an integral piece of tech for someone who travels the world. Not every country uses the same type of plug and not being prepared for that ahead of time is a recipe for disaster. This means no charged cell phone, camera or laptop.
We recommend getting the Satechi Travel Router/Travel Adaptor. It works as an adaptor in over 150 countries to juice up those other travel gadgets, and it also serves as a router. The router converts direct internet connection into private internet connection. This is especially handy in other countries where security is a primary concern. The Satechi Travel Router/Travel Adaptor will cost about $47. This is a bit pricier than a simple travel adapter, but being both and router and an adaptor is well worth the extra cost.
Compact Access Point
These days many hotels provide WiFi, but not all over the world. Compact access points are small little gadgets that are used to create WiFi from a wired internet source. This is especially handy for those who travel with others opposed to just by themselves. They can plug this handy little gadget into the wired internet source in say, a hotel room, and it provides WiFi for up to 16 other people. The settings can be configured easily in an internet browser to add a password and other security settings to assure that only certain people can access the WiFi. This is an essential tool for travel groups as they do not need to share the one internet access point in their room. It prevents a lot of fights over who gets to use the internet! MySpot Pocket-Sized Access Point is the most recommended as it is roughly the size of a tube of lipstick and easily fits in pockets or crowded suitcases. The MySpot's ease of use is an added bonus, it is literally just a plug and go device. It costs around $63.
Portable Speaker Stand
Even the busiest sightseer is going to have some downtime in a hotel at one point or another. Whether they are stuck in the middle of a monsoon or just not ready to sleep for the night yet, a portable speaker stand is a great thing to have. These compact speakers set up and pump out some decent sound for their size, making them a great companion for a laptop, phone or tablet.
In terms of sound quality and portability, the IFIT-1 Portable Rechargable Speaker Stand by Satechi is the best around. It comes with a handy stand for one's cell phone, making it great for listening to music or turning a phone into a bedside alarm clock. The speakers can also be plugged into laptops or other devices as well. However, the best thing about them other than their extremely small size is the nice small $16 price tag.
Video cameras have died out quite a bit with travellers since the advent of the modern cell phone and its huge storage capacity. However, there are times when taping footage abroad with a cell phone just isn't practical, like when skiing down a mountain or skydiving, for example. Video cameras that can be strapped onto helmets or around heads are the new big thing amount adventurers. These cameras are built small and durable for just such occasions and are able to capture moments that would not be possible with a handheld camera or cell phone.
The universally recommended adventure video camera is one of the many GoPro series. Many of the latest models shoot in high definition and have built in WiFi. They are easily attached to gear or even vehicles to produce some of the most awe-inspiring footage around. However all this comes at a price and it at least $200 – but can go as high as $500.
Headphones are essential for everything from bus rides to long plane rides. Every traveller knows that the one time they forget their noise cancelling headphones is the time when there is going to be a child crying the entire plane ride! Replacing the noise of a plane or a bus with music or even just the noise cancelling white noise is the best gift anyone can give. It really removes a big stress factor from travelling.
Easily the best quality noise cancelling headphones are by Bose, but those will run around $300 minimum, which is not so very fiscal for a Christmas gift. So check out the AKG Q460 mini model. These only cost about $90, and they fold up and become pocket sized.
Handheld Gaming Device
Whether it is for a boring layover, an airplane trip or a long bus journey, having a handheld gaming device is a good way to pass the time. Cell phones these days make decent gaming devices, but they will never beat the systems that are dedicated to gaming and gaming alone. Plus many gaming handhelds these days are able to play movies and music, which gives them the multi-functionality of a cell phone with the extra power for gaming.
The best handheld gaming device to give this Christmas is the Nintendo 3DS XL. The XL version comes with a bigger screen and it has improvements to durability over the regular 3DS. This means it doesn't feel like it will crack into pieces if dropped a few times, which let's face it, is going to happen quite a bit during the hustle and bustle of travel. The 3DS XL comes with the higher price tag of $200, but as long as you are near a WiFi connection, you can download any game you want off the Nintendo eStore, meaning that you no longer have to carry those easily lost game cartridges around. For those near a WiFi connection, it can even be used to watch Hulu or Netflix to while away the boring hours.
International Phone Card
Phone cards seem so 90s these days when everyone has a cell phone. However, when abroad being able to have access to a simple phone card is a lot easier than having to fuss with a phone company over roaming charges or paying a lot extra for an international plan. Plus there are always those times when one needs to make a call, but there is no service for a cell phone. Phone cards may seem lame at first, but at heart they are a life saver for travellers.
There are no real recommendations of what international phone card to buy; they are all really the same in that way. The price mostly depends on just how much time one wants to load onto them. However, it is recommended to get a rechargeable one so that frequent travellers do not have to keep buying new cards.
For who like to write about their travels, having a computer along for the ride is essential. However, laptops are big. More often than not, due to their size, laptops end up bumping into things and breaking. However, one doesn't need a super high end laptop to store pictures or do some writing. Netbooks are compact, durable and best of all, quite affordable. So when shopping for travellers who are still lugging around a bulky laptop, consider getting them a more compact travel companion for them instead. However, be sure to include a wireless mouse.
Acer is the best producer of compact and durable netbooks. An Acer netbook can cost as low as $99, but one will pay more depending on desired speed and storage capacity. However, even the top end netbooks are cheaper than the low end laptops will be.
Handheld Luggage Scale
A portable luggage scale may seem like a bit of a lame gift, however in this world of high airline fees, it is nearly indispensible. For the frequent traveller, a handheld luggage scale could end up saving them hundreds of dollars in baggage fees. It is a great tool for making sure luggage doesn't go over the weight limit before and especially after their trip. All those souvenirs can really add up in extra fees!
Handheld luggage scales usually don't cost a whole lot, but consumers get what they pay for. Nothing is more irritating than buying a really cheap one and having it break after a few weigh-ins. The Balanzza digital luggage scale costs a bit more than the other brands, but consumers are paying for durability and quality. It costs around $26.
Frequent travellers may know a few key phrases of the language in the country they’re visiting, but most of the time they will have little idea of how to actually read the language. With free apps like Google Translate, they can translate the spoken word well enough to get their point across, but translating written words can be difficult, especially in countries that use a character system. This is where the PicTranslator app shines. Just take a picture and it will translate it into whatever language the user chooses. This little app only costs $1.99 and it is a good investment to give to anyone who travels overseas quite a bit.