8 gadgets and techie tools for your summer trip

- August 9th, 2014

While there’s no shortage of gadgets and techie things we can take on a summer trip, there’s always a shortage of space – whether it’s room in one’s backpack, suitcase, trunk of the car or your smartphone’s memory.  Nevertheless, here’s an eclectic mix of eight things that may come in handy and you might want to consider taking along for the ride to ensure smooth sailing this summer.

They take up very little room, so take along an extra pair of earbuds or if you must, extra headphones.  There’s nothing worse than forgetting your earbuds somewhere, having them accidentally destroyed or developing a loose cable connection by having them get tangled and torn up by the armrest on the plane. Now if your tunes are a must, you could possibly buy another pair, but you might be overpaying or not really getting the ones you want.

If you’re traveling with a companion, another good thing to throw into your carry-on is a headphone splitter like the Wicked Audio Splitter, which we reviewed last December. This little accessory could come in handy when you want to share your audio with a friend or significant other, or in the event your onboard entertainment doesn’t work and the two of you want to enjoy a movie on your iPad.

nTrustPhone

If you’ve lost or forgot your wallet, or maybe you’re somewhere you prefer not to use your credit card, a secure cloud money service like nTrust can come in handy. They’re a licensed and regulated service certified as offering a Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. nTrust allows you to upload, move, send, spend, receive and request money in six different currencies as easy as sending a text message. Depending on what you’re doing and where you are, many of these services, like transferring funds to and from your bank or sending money to others within Canada, are free. Other transactions, like sending money overseas, are inexpensive. For example: from Canada to places like the Australia, the U.K. or the Philippines transactions are only $4.99. nTrust is a nice alternative from having to scrounge around to find an ATM or a currency exchange bureau.

 TalkingTranslator

Bonjour!

If you’re heading to a country where you may not speak the local language, it might be a good idea to download a translator to help you get by. For iOS users, Talking Translator!, a free app by GreenLife Apps offers both a translator and a dictionary in many languages including Japanese, German, French, Italian, Korean and others. The company also offers free individual language apps for Android as well as Talking Translator Pro ($2.99) a comprehensive app that translates many languages and includes an off-line dictionary.  You never know when it might come in handy.

SmugMug

SmugMug

 

When you’re on a trip, chances are that you’ll take lots of photos and maybe shoot video too. You’ll want to ensure those memories are saved, because sometimes you only get one chance to capture that moment. In the event your phone gets lost or stolen, dropped in the water, or you simply run out of memory, it’s a good idea to have a copy stored elsewhere. There are lots of storage cloud service choices like Apple iCloud, DropBox, OneDrive, SmugMug, Google Drive and Flickr. But regardless as to what you choose, make sure you configure it, try it and learn how to use it before you head out on the road.

 SanDiskConnect

There are also wireless portable storage devices like the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive that allows you to backup your pics and flicks. It’s also a place where you can store and stream your favourites back to your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Portable Juice

In addition to your AC or USB charger, take along a gadget charging pack or extra battery. It’s good to be able to stop and recharge your gadgets at night, but having something portable means you can juice up or recharge while you’re on the go. The 7800mAh mega-capacity SmartLantern by Bracketron can charge gadgets like your iPhone up to five times and act as an emergency light to boot.

While it doesn’t run on batteries, and it’s not a techie-gadget per se, take along a quality thermal mug. Yes, even in the summer. We often associate thermal mugs with keeping our coffee hot, but they’re also great for keeping drinks cool. There’s nothing less appealing than warm juice, water or “iced” tea. Drop a couple of ice cubes with your daily cool brew and even the ice will be there for hours. In fact, many thermal mugs can keep your morning coffee hot until after lunch, and help keep cold items cool for the better part of the day.

 ContigoRandolph

Now forget about the half dozen freebie mugs you picked up at those trade shows. Make sure you invest in a decent model like those made by Contigo; they have double-walled insulation and vacuum-sealed rubber gaskets to maintain temperature and avoid spillage. In fact some, like the Randolph and the Aria, have locking mechanisms so you can simply drop them in your backpack. Expect to pay $20 or more, but you can also find selected models at Costco, Winners or Home Sense at a discount. When traveling by car, I usually take two – one for coffee and the other for water.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Photos Courtesy of their respective companies.

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Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

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