I’ll be honest; I used to be a true minimalist before I started blogging professionally. I still try to pack as light as possible, but blogging on the road, while also taking many photos and videos, means I now have to carry more gadgets with me than I did when I was 20. My job also entails doing more research and testing out cool new gear and gizmos so that I can give my readers packing list inspiration. The following items are for travelers who want to have the beauty of technological advances at their fingertips without having to give up too much space in their backpacks.
1. TorchWhile I’ve seen coats with built-in heaters before, I love being able to heat the coat — or coats, as it’s transferable — I already own. This gadget is a battery-operated, velcro-adhered heat pad you stick into your coat to provide added warmth for up to five hours on a single charge. It works on everything, from suit jackets and pea coats to rain coats and beyond. Price: $89.95.
2. SpireSpire works to increase mindfulness and productivity by tracking breathing patterns. It also tracks steps and calories to help keep travelers fit on the road. The gadget is backed up by science, too: it was developed by experts in the fields of respiratory and digital health alongside Stanford researchers (and Apple even sells it in their stores despite it not being one of their products!). Spire works by noting periods when your breathing indicates a tense, focused or calm state of mind, providing instructions based on clinical studies for pain relief, reduced anxiety, lowered blood pressure and healthier living. Price: $99.95.
3. HumanChargerOne thing I dread when traveling overseas is jet lag, which can sometimes take days to recover from. The HumanCharger looks like an iPod with ear buds and uses drug-free, blue-enriched white light therapy, having UV-free light flow through the ear canal to photosensitive receptors in the brain. I found this gadget super simple to use: put the headphones on, press start, go about your day for 12 minutes until the HumanCharger powers off, and voilà! Once it’s done you should feel more awake and re-charged. There’s also a free paired app that uses your travel details to provide the ideal HumanCharger schedule (with alerts), like when to find or avoid light. Price: $183.99.
4. TileIf you’re anything like me, key rings and neon cell phone cases are no match for your ability to lose your things — which is why I’m so thankful for Tile. This tiny Bluetooth tracker pairs with your smartphone to help you find lost gadgets, wallets, keys and anything else you don’t want to lose. You affix the small tiles to anything important and use your phone to make them ring. The tiles can show you on a map where you last had your items before misplacing them. You can also have a Tile ring your smartphone even when it’s on silent! Price: $24.99.
6. PryntThis photo-focused phone case allows you to instantly print your digital photos for 50 cents each via the paired app. The case doesn’t require ink and neither does it use your phone battery. Price: $140.46.
7. LuMee CaseIf you’re into selfies, this is a must, as the light-up case is designed to illuminate and beautify your face. The case works with iPhone and Samsung phones, featuring an outline of LED lights — which also work great as a flashlight when camping or when needing to shuffle through your belongings late at night in a shared hostel dorm. Price: $41.43.
8. PowercaseWhile not as exciting as Prynt or LuMee, this case is what you’ll usually find my iPhone wrapped in. It’s uber budget-friendly at less than $20. Powercase provides thick and protective wrapping around the front edge of your phone. It also gives your phone a full extra charge once it dies. For extra protection, I pair it with tempered glass — bought on Amazon for $6.99 vs the Apple Store where it’s more like $35. Price: $15.99.
9. GoPro Hero5This tiny camera packs quite a photography punch! While I admit I prefer my DSLR for photos, GoPro Hero5 takes up much less space and offers 23 megapixel photos, 4K video, a waterproof design up to 33 feet (even without housing) and a variety of editing options right in the camera. Depending how much into video you actually are, you may also want to get a GoPro microphone, which really ramps up the GoPro’s low-quality sound. Some other GoPro accessories I love include the 3-way arm tripod and GoPro head strap (just remember not to move your head rapidly while filming or you’ll give viewers an upset stomach!). Price: $389.
10. Joby GorillaPodThe GorillaPod SLR Zoom travel tripod mounts your GoPro, smartphone and DSLR, and features bendable legs you can wrap around poles or just manipulate for a different shot perspective. It’s also how I take starry night sky shots like this one without needing to pack a massive tripod.
11. SleepPhonesI’m obsessed with ASMR. In fact, it’s my secret weapon for sleeping sound and keeping stress at bay while on the road. I usually listen to ASMR sounds or watch YouTube ASMR videos on my iPhone, though sleeping with traditional headphones is super uncomfortable. Enter SleepPhones, a soft headband with flat, built-in headphones. You can get SleepPhones that pair with Bluetooth or ones that plug into your device. Price: $39.95.
being disconnected can be a blessing, if you need to get in touch with your AirBnB host when lost or let your tour guide know you’re running late, being connected is so much easier than scrambling for Wi-Fi. Price: $29.99.
15. ThimTravelers often have to deal with their sleep cycles getting messed up. Enter Thim, a soft ring worn on the finger that engages in “sleep re-training,” which can help users fall asleep 30 minutes faster and sleep 70 minutes longer than usual. The gadget operates under the thinking that falling asleep over and over again in quick succession can re-train people to have a good night rest. Thim gently wakes the user up every three minutes for an hour for one night. Price: $139 (pre-order).
17. DARTFunnily enough, my MacBook Pro charger is one of the items I typically pack that takes up the most space. Enter DART, touted as the world’s smallest laptop charger. Bonus: DART features a USB port, so travelers can also charge their smartphone, tablet and other devices. Price: $99.99.
18. PERI DuoThis new gadget is an iPhone 6/6s charging case, as well as a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-enabled speaker that works whether attached to the phone or not. And if you can get your friends to jump on the Duo train, it has the capability to connect up to 64 other Duo speakers (talk about a party on the road!). In terms of calls, expect crystal clear audio. Price: $189.99.
19. Levi’s + Google Connected Jean JacketThe focus audience for this forward-thinking project was urban cyclists, allowing them to answer calls, access navigation, play music, access third party apps like Spotify, and more via multi-touch sensors sewn into the jacket’s cuff. This top even connects to the cloud! The jacket will likely launch in fall 2017.
What travel tech gadgets would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below!
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