“Going on an adventure!!” isn’t limited to the Hobbit. Travelling abroad can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in your life, but you also need to be prepared for the trials and tribulations you may encounter. Thankfully, unlike Bilbo Baggins’s encounters with trolls, dragons, and the like, you have access to the Internet, and so you can prepare yourself with these eight nifty travel gadgets.
Solar-powered phone charger
Let’s face it, phone batteries can be disappointing even when you’re at home with a charger. So when you’re in another country and they use different power sockets, or you’re out in nature… well, let’s just say your phone usually spends more time off than on. Luckily, there are plenty of solar chargers out there. Though they take a while to fully charge a phone, it’s the difference between being stranded on an island with no hope of rescue and being stranded, but patiently waiting a response to your SOS text.
Special Phone/Tablet Cases
A waterproof, fall-proof, nature-resistant phone or tablet case is out there for you, and it’s just a Google search away. These nifty accessories will ensure that whether you’re climbing Kilimanjaro or you drop your phone in the Caribbean, your devices are always protected. Special mention goes to the Lifeproof Nuud, which protects your iPad while still allowing you to use its buttons and touch screen.
If solar-powered chargers are too inefficient for your tablet, laptop, and phone all at the same time, then Powerbag has you covered. This line of backpacks features a built-in battery system that can charge a standard smartphone up to four times. So while you’re climbing to Machu Picchu, you rest easy that your food and gear is well-stashed, while your electronics are being charged for use in the tent later.
This is a no-brainer, but with the threat of theft or misplacement, it can be easy to talk yourself into not bringing your phone, and that would be a mistake. There are so many travel, map, hotel, flight, hiking, and camping apps out there for you to use that it would be silly not to bring your phone, as it can really help you get the best out of your travel experience. Not to mention you can play games or listen to music on those long flights or train trips.
Oh, and that SOS call button? That’s international… emergencies only please.
There are a lot of great cameras out there, but the Olympus TG2 is on here for two big reasons. One: at $379 it’s much cheaper than some of the fancier alternatives. Two: it’s indestructible (or close to it, anyway). This camera can be taken below 50 feet underwater, to below freezing temperatures, covered in sand, or dropped onto concrete. Put simply, unless you’re deep-sea diving or exploring Antarctica in mid-winter, it can handle anything.
Again, a bit of a no-brainer. While reading books is a staple of travel culture, lugging around a small library can be cumbersome and spine-damaging. So get a Kindle (or other e-book reader) and stock up on some digital books. You’ll be able to bring far more “books” than you ever would have otherwise.
Whether it’s a party hostel in Berlin, or a hotel right by street traffic in Paris, chances are you will find some places where it is hard to get a good night’s sleep. Oh, and the whir of a plane can make it hard to listen to your music, anyway. So plug yourself in to something relaxing, block out the world, and go to sleep.
Noise-cancelling headphones are also handy when you’re on a train and you’re intent on ignoring that guy who keeps trying to chat you up.
Reef Stash Sandals
This one is the niftiest, and lest tech-heavy, of the bunch. Going to the beach in a foreign country can be a trying experience: you’ll get neck pain from all the times you look back at your spot to see if your stuff is still there and isn’t being hauled off by a pair of thieves. The Reef Stash sandals have a secret compartment for you to chuck in your keys, cards, cash, etc. So when a potential burglar ransacks your towel area, he won’t be finding anything of value, and that’s because you’re a sneaky, prepared, and clever traveller.
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Jessica Swift is an avid fan of technology, and an even more avid fan of meeting foreigners in foreign places. If she ever needs a tablet for her next adventure, she uses Flexirent.