Tech You Can’t Travel Without

Most of us have a daily routine each time we leave the house. Wallet? Check. Phone? Check. Keys? Check. Then it’s off to our destination. When traveling, the checklist is even longer.

There’s so much more to consider when traveling in a technology-driven era. These days, luxuries like Bluetooth-enabled audio sunglasses (yes, even your shades can now speak to you) are becoming the norm. While we won’t get that extreme, we’ll leave you with these must-have tech gadgets that will help elevate your vacation to the next level.

Headphones on a computer.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

What’s worse than a flight halfway across the country—or, better yet, a trip halfway around the globe—with screaming babies, jet engines, and chronic snorers? This is where a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones can block out the world. Regular headphones and earbuds don’t cut it, but noise-canceling headphones will drown out even the loudest neighboring music.

If you travel with others, these can even come in handy in the hotel room when it’s time to sleep. If you can, spend the money on a pair of Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or Sony WH-1000X headphones. Bose has an entry-level model for $129 on Amazon. If you don’t like the bulky feel of traditional headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 20 noise-canceling earbuds are a strong alternative.

A woman charging her phone with a portable charger.

Portable Phone Charger

We use our phones for everything these days—really, everything. From texting friends and family and navigating directions to using food apps to find trendy new restaurants, our cellular devices are an extension of our hands. But traditional wall chargers and car chargers can only do so much when you’re on the go and using your phone all day. Throw a portable charger in your suitcase to give you some added power when you’re running low.

Unless you recently spent hundreds of dollars on a brand new phone, there’s a chance your current device isn’t optimal for holding long charges. Portable chargers are a lifesaver if you’re walking around all day or in a setting where plug-ins aren’t accessible. Many brands now make sleek designs small enough to fit in your pocket, like the POWERADD Pilot 2GS. To go cordless, Belkin makes a wireless charging pad that is ideal for the car, airport, or restaurant. 

A man looking at a tablet on top of a mountain.

Tablet/iPad/E-Reader

Remember the days of reading a physical copy of a book or magazine on a trip? Instead, the digital media age has turned paper into electronics. In place of bringing a backpack full of reading material, a tablet stores everything in one convenient place with the added functionality of also being a music player, email hub, web browser, and movie- and TV-watching capabilities. Bigger than a phone yet smaller than a computer, tablets bridge the gap to aid in your travel. Plus, it’s an easy way to occupy children. Just hand them a tablet with their favorite show or game.

iPads come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the iPad mini and iPad to the sleeker iPad Air and the advanced iPad Pro. However, not everyone is in love with the Apple interface or the price tag. You’ll find value in the Microsoft Surface 6, Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, or the Amazon Fire Tablet 10. An e-reader such as the Amazon Kindle or the NOOK GlowLight Plus by Barnes & Noble will meet simpler needs.

A wifi hotspot and a laptop.

Mobile Hotspot 

More and more establishments provide Wi-Fi, but it’s always wise to travel with a cellular or Wi-Fi hotspot. Using your phone as a mobile hotspot is the cheaper route, although this will kill your monthly data limits and drain your battery in the process. Instead, AT&T users should look into the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router, and Verizon customers need to check out the Jetpack MiFi 6620L. Beware of international travel, as data charges can soar. The GlocalMe 63 4G LTE is a strong choice if you’re going abroad. 

These hotspots allow you to work from just about anywhere—or keep in touch with family and friends—assuming you aren’t climbing Mount Everest or stuck in the middle of the ocean. Actually, if you find yourself in a remote location without service, there’s even a product for that. The goTenna Mesh allows you to stay connected when you’re off the grid. 

A man checks his step tracker near the beach.

Step Tracker

Even though we all enjoy relaxing and recharging, there’s something satisfying about staying active while you’re on vacation. That doesn’t mean you need to run a 10k on the beach each morning, but it’s still nice to keep track of your activity.

Step trackers range from basic FitBits (the Charge 3 has a heart rate monitor and is swim-proof) and Apple Watches (the Series 4 boasts GPS or GPS plus cellular) for the general tourists to more specific hardware for hardcore hikers, bikers, and swimmers. For example, the Suunto Traverse tracks altitude, vertical speed, and total ascent. The Rip Curl Search GPS 2 displays real-time surf conditions with a built-in GPS tracker.

A woman plays music through a bluetooth speaker.

Bluetooth Speaker

The days of your parents lugging an AM/FM radio to the beach are over. And there’s no need to fool around with the alarm clock radio in your room, hoping to get lucky with the scan button to land on an acceptable genre of music. Whether you’re hitting the coast or heading inland for a weekend retreat, make sure you have a Bluetooth speaker to keep the vibes upbeat. (On second thought, don’t be that person on the beach who forces everyone around them to listen to their loud music. Waves, wind, and birds… what other sounds do you need?)

Convenience is key here. Throw on your favorite playlist and enjoy. The Beats Pill+ is a popular choice, blending sound in a size no bigger than a jumbo hotdog. Bose SoundLink Micro is small enough to fit in your pocket yet loud enough and waterproof to carry outdoors.

A person watching streaming services in a hotel room.

Streaming Stick

Raise your hand the last time you paid to watch a movie in your hotel room. In a world where many use streaming services in their homes, it makes sense to incorporate them into your travels. Traveling with a streaming stick transforms an ordinary hotel TV into your own personal living room. You can pick up a Roku, Chromecast, or Fire TV Stick for relatively cheap these days. 

Plug it in, log in to the Wi-Fi, and connect to your streaming devices to watch a movie or binge a Netflix series. It’s especially useful if you have children tagging along, as you can queue up the screen with their favorite shows in the morning. You may find some hotel TVs don’t have HDMI ports. However, like any type of technology advancements, they are more and more prevalent.

A man diving underwater while holding a portable camera.

Portable Video Camera 

Are you an adventure seeker needing a little more firepower than your phone or typical handheld camera? An action camera, such as a GoPro Hero7, allows you to capture high-definition 4K videos in the palm of your hand. Better yet, use a selfie stick attachment to record a hiking adventure or take a plunge in the water to document a snorkeling trip. You can even get Quik, a software program useful for quick and easy video editing.

Now that you’re up to date with the most important travel gadgets, it’s time for Roomkey to assist you with your next trip. We compare low loyalty rates from our hotel partners around the globe. If you see something you like, we’ll take you right to the hotel’s website to complete the booking process. We’ll filter out the nonsense so you can get on with your trip. No tricks. Just travel.

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