Thu, October 6th, 2011 - By

4 Cheap but Useful Travel Gadgets

Whether you’re a tech travel geek or you are gadget-phobic, it seems that now travel gadgets these days are just part of the packing process. Whether it’s something to read, something to tell you where to go, gadgets can be useful but can also be a pain when they break down or require power.

But what gadget are the must-haves? Here are some suggestions on some cheap-n-cheerful products that you will use and will be glad you brought with you.

Portable Phone Battery

If you haven’t, probably soon you’ll be upgrading to a smartphone with that all-important 3G access and a list of apps a mile long. And even if you go abroad and shut off your roam feature, you’ll probably still be using apps like maps and games that will still function offline.

3G and apps burn through smartphone batteries like mad. Even newer generation Android and Apple phones still can barely last a full day of battery while in constant, regular use. And let’s remember one of the primary functions of a phone, namely as an emergency tool and contact device. So be sure to carry with you a portable charger – not just your cord, but an extra battery that you can just pop into the phone for an extra hour or two of use.

Decent Headphones

Ok, so headphones are so ubiquitous that we don’t think of them as gadgets unless they’re the ultra-hipster-modern-retro look, or the noise-cancelling-so-you-cant-hear-them-calling-you-for-your-flight kind. ┬áBut really, a decent set of headphones is all you need. Not so cheap that it feels like you’ve got aluminium foil in your ears, but not so expensive that you’re more worried about them being stolen than your laptop. You can get just what you need at Argos or a similar shop.

Reading Device

Reading is always a great thing to do on long flights, long layovers (don’t all layovers feel long?), or just when you’re enjoying some downtown. And now, you have so much choice:

  • The Nook, if you’ve got wee ones and want that useful colour feature
  • A Kindle, which has a lot of free book options and probably the most value in terms of cost versus features
  • An iPad, which you can get a free kindle app and still read books, well as things like the personalized magazine apps (though many of these don’t run offline)

A Pen and a Journal

Don’t laugh. ┬áSometimes, the highest tech solution isn’t all that high tech. You absolutely need to put a pen and hopefully a small journal in your carry-on bag or day pack, because you never know when you need it.

  • Your phone is dead (because you forgot the extra battery pack in your room), and you need to write down some directions.
  • You’re crossing a border or landing in a new country, and you have to fill out one of those damn landing cards. (Have you ever tried asking a flight attendant for a pen? Watch out if you do!)
  • You want to jot a note down about a restaurant you’ve spotted for dinner, or confirmation number for your guided tour tomorrow, and your phone is buried deep in your pack.

Sometimes, a phone just isn’t as useful, and sometimes, a pen really is the perfect travel gadget. (And, it’s cheap!)

Photo by boostsamurai

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Thursday, October 6th, 2011 at 11:00
Category : Holiday Tips
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