Long gone are the days of just packing a backpack or suitcase with a few changes of clothes and a toothbrush to explore a new city. It’s almost imperative that we include a mobile phone to stay connected, find our way throughout our destination, and share our favorite snaps on Instagram, but lately, the tech doesn’t stop there.
Thanks to some genius, creative (and some gay) minds, there is always new gadgets to keep our travels safe and enjoyable, not to mention making it easier to be a road warrior (and get on Grindr).
Here are the hottest new toys to remember when packing that extra pair of socks (and charging cords).
For those of you that prefer nature and outdoors over high thread-count sheets and rainforest shower heads, this simple device might be a literal lifesaver if you plan to go off the grid. The goTenna is a radio-wave antenna for when you find a corner of the planet that offers up no bars or you are saying, “can you hear me now?” more than anything. Just the size of a large marker this device will allow you to text, share location via GPS and create networks with other travelers where cell towers won’t reach. At $149 for a pair, this might be the difference between a memorable trip versus a nightmare of a trip.
AT&T Unite Explore
Mobile roaming is not cheap and if you’d rather not call your wireless provider before heading overseas, find a mobile wi-fi link that travels with you. At about $50, the unlocked AT&T Unite Explore mobile hotspot accepts any sim cards that you can easily purchase at your destination for a fraction of the cost of any home-based plan and can connect to up to 15 devices so there is no fighting over access. The beauty of this device is that you can monitor the amount of charge and see if the 4G signal is strong enough to FaceTime your friends back home to brag about your travels.
FitBit Alta HR
Even if you dread the gym at home, many trips will have you out and about as you explore the areas or even check out a museum. There is no better way than tracking your steps, fitness, and activity while on the road with this smart looking FitBit Alta HR wristband. It measures your heart rate continually so an easy stroll or a night out dancing at the club can add up to lots of healthy habits. The $150 tracker comes in a variety of colors as not to clash and can even ensure you aren’t too jet-lagged since it will keep track of your shut-eye each night.
Here’s one to move on quickly if it interests you. This Kickstarter campaign touts a duffel bag that cleans itself with the touch of a button on the bag or your smartphone. After activated, the system will deodorize, sanitize, and kill bacteria in your bag leaving your belongings smelling as fresh as they are clean. Sporting plenty of pockets to store a phone, laptop, and clothes, the Paqsule will even fit in the overhead bins of your favorite airline as long as you didn’t buy the most basic of fares and can charge devices on the go. At publishing the cheapest pledge is $229 with a proposed delivery in June 2017.
Everyone loves to get some great pictures on their travels. Even if you don’t plan to bore your friends with a slideshow, it’s always nice to get that one shot that brings you back to the moment or at least a new Jack’d profile pic. Olloclip will help turn your phone’s camera into one that can produce National Geographic-worthy images. Starting at $100, this clip-on lens will go fish-eye, wide angle, and macro to score that awe-inspiring shot. With lenses that fit iPhone 5 or newer as well at iPads it comes with interchangeable lenses for even more features like telephoto and polarizing so you’re sure to get a great picture. For those on the clumsier side, Olloclip also has a few cases that protect your phone while amping up your photography skills.