The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. – Saint Augustine
Do you love to travel? Whether by land, by air or by sea, the knowledge, wisdom and experience that we take home from our travels are precious and priceless. That’s why the Hubby and I love to explore new lands and learn new culture along the way. And in the process, we learn new things about ourselves too. Things like, our preferences, what matters most to us, where to save and where to splurge, what type of attractions we like, how we make the journey memorable, how we can improve on the next, and all the way to the little yet necessary things like must-have gadgets for Travel. We’ve been doing cross-country road trips since 2008. Most recently, we concluded 2013 with a 9-day road trip from Virginia to Maryland, Boston, Rhode Island, New Jersey and back. So it’s safe to say that we know what we’re doing. That’s why I’ve been making travel guides to help those who are new to the game or those who want to make sure they don’t forget anything for their next trip. I’ve shared with you my 10 road trip essentials in terms of food, drinks and first aid kits previously. And today, I’d like to share my must-have gadgets for travel.
Must-Have Gadgets for Travel
(1) Navigation System or a Smart Phone that has a GPS app + phone holder
If you’re traveling by land, then a navigation system is a must. After all, you would need some sort of a map to get to your destination. Otherwise, you can get lost. There are a lot of affordable GPS systems you can find at most retailers and electronic shops as well as online. The three most popular brands are TomTom, Garmin and Magellan. If your car has a built-in Nav system, then you won’t have to buy a separate one. Just make sure that the maps are up-to-date. Most brands would require a fee for map updates though. That’s why the Hubby and I prefer the TomTom app for the iPhone. It works just like any TomTom GPS but offers free updates and doesn’t use data. And since our navigation system is all in the iPhone, we don’t have to bring an extra gadget with us anywhere we go. Even better when you’re traveling by plane and then renting a car at your destination. You still have a GPS right at your fingertips!
(2) Tablets/Laptops, Handheld game consoles or Movie player
Any (or all) of these three tech gadgets are a must when traveling with kids. Kids these days get bored so easily and they are so attached to computer games and other tech devices more than ever. I personally believe kids should play more physical and outdoor activities than sit and play with tablets and game consoles. But admittedly, these tablets, game consoles or a DVD player will come in handy when traveling with little ones. Otherwise, they may drive you nuts saying they are bored and they want to do something or stop and play or whatever. I don’t want you to get disturbed while driving (or disturb other people when flying). Safety first. So let them play with these electronics before they cause you road rage. Haha. Oh, and don’t forget the earphones/headphones for these!
Capture those moments with your fave camera. Those photos are the best souvenirs you can take home with you. Whether it’s your camera phone, point-and-shoot or a DLSR, make sure to bring its charger, cable, extra batteries (if applicable), so you won’t miss a thing! Oh, and make sure to fully charge it before the trip.
(4) Memory Cards
If the memory card in your camera (or phone) has little capacity, then it’s nice to have extra memory cards. This is essential if you love to take a million photos and/or take the highest quality possible (since they take up more space). While you’re at it, consider WiFi SD Cards that come with a built-in WiFi. So you can share your photos while on the go. This is important especially to bloggers and journalists who need to share or send photos while at events, traveling or while on the go.
(5) Portable Hotspot
If you need to stay connected while traveling and data on your phone is not unlimited, I suggest getting a portable hotspot. It’s a little device that gives you Wifi no matter where you go, of course, given your provider has coverage in the area you’re going. So before you dive into this, make sure to check if your destination has coverage. Our friend Stephanie suggests Karma below. Photo credit: Karma.
(6) Power bank
External battery charger, also known as power bank or battery pack, is something that I can’t live without! Anyone who needs to be online at all times know the importance of these gadgets. As a blogger and a Poshmark seller, my life revolves around the inter webs. Thanks to RAVPower for sending this Deluxe 14000 mAh Portable Power Bank, I am able to stay connected when I’m on the go. I no longer worry about running out of battery when traveling, whether I’m in the car, plane, subway or walking trails, malls or shores among other places. I’ve posted a review about this gadget on our other blog, On The Road with Z. So you’ll know the specs and where to get this gadget!
(7) USB Car Charger
Another thing that’s a must in both of our cars is this Dual port USB Car Charger which was also provided by RAVPower. These days, families have so many gadgets. Every family member has his or her own smartphone. Then there are the tablets, laptops, cameras, etc. Having dual port USB car chargers is a must. So at least you can charge 2 mobile devices at a time. Thankfully, my car has a couple of ports in the front and back. So I can charge more at a time.
(8) Handheld Luggage Scale
Now this one is for those who are traveling by air. You know how strict airlines can get. So it’s always best to know your luggage weight as you pack. Do you know how much excess baggage can cost? It depends on the airline and where you are going but all I can say is that those fees are unnecessary expenses that you can avoid. A small handheld luggage scale will help you avoid those fees. Bring it with you too so you can stop the unnecessary out-of-town-shopping. But if shopping can’t be helped, at least you’ll be informed if you’re gonna be paying excess baggage fees. So you can put aside some money for that and not be surprised at the airport. I love luggage scale sets that come with matching TSA locks. When buying locks, make sure they are TSA approved so you won’t end up having broken luggage locks, encouraging theft.
Other Must-Have Gadgets for Travel
To make sure I didn’t miss anything, I asked fellow bloggers and My Fashion Juice readers to add in to my list. So I’ve gathered them below to share with you guys!
- Portable battery chargers. I rarely leave the house without one. – Staci Salazar from 7onashoestring.com
- Eye-Fi wireless SD card. So I can upload my DSLR photos to my phone and update social media in one seamless step. I also never travel without a portable white noise machine. – Jessica Bowers from suitcasesandsippycups.com
- Hand Held Luggage Scale. Saved me overweight charges more than once. – Tammy Litke from threedifferentdirections.com
- I ditto all of those (above), especially the charger for all your gadgets and the handscale from The Container Store! As well as this baby (Grid-It Organizers). – Autumn Rose Reo from mamachallenge.blogspot.com
- Karma wifi Hotspot, if I need internet access. Canon S100 or S110… my fave point and shoot with wifi and RAW capability. – Stephanie Drenka from geekglam.net
- Make sure you always bring your phone charger cable and a usb power pack, a DSLR that shoots both images & videos. – Andrew Zaragoza from ontheroadwithz.com
- My iPad, smart phone, GPS System and my laptop – Siterria Nelson
- Camera, charger/car charger, iPad, memory cards, laptop, Nintendo 3DS/video games for the kids and phone are our travel gadgets – May Mayoush
- My super-portable & convenient 5 inch Garmin GPS (lifesaver), smartphone (my smartphone has a camera, Internet, Instagram & all my fave apps in one device), Stanley Tools Portable Battery Charger and Jump-Start (this nifty tool not only jumps your car if it stalls, it charges your car battery AND has an air compressor for tires when they’re getting low). – Stephania Green
Hope you find this travel guide useful. If I missed any tech gadget, please jump in on the comments and let us know! Now, where to next? Well, we were supposed to celebrate my Christmas Birthday there, but decided we’ll do it on our way back to Texas instead. Where to? The sunshine state is next!