Our Top Picks for the Coolest Travel Tech, Gear and Apps
Travel is amazing. New cultures, new people, new foods. It opens your eyes to just how incredible, magical and massive our world is. But, like anything, the travel experience can always be tweaked to make it just a little easier. Here are our favorite new travel tech products and gear that will take your explorations to the next level.
Let’s be honest. Most of us run around like crazy people trying to pack the day before a trip. But getting organized a few days before your mini-vacay is the first step to making your travels less stressful. These apps and organizer will definitely get the job done!
Orgo Lite organizer: The inventors of this ingenious device came up with it after raging about the lack of counter space in hotel bathrooms. Its two zippered compartments can be fitted in any way to hold any manner of items, and – perhaps the best part – they slide apart to form a little table in the middle. Just think – the kiddos could store their toys inside and have a little space to play on in the back seat during long car rides (mom and dad that means less fighting)! Or you could use it to organize everything you need for your next trip.
Jet Lag Calculator: Now this one isn’t technically travel tech or gear, but it’s downright awesome and extremely handy. For those trips around the world, new time zones leave your body tired and out of sync. Jet lag is practically inevitable. To get a leg up on your lag – pun intended – this site will help you plan a sleep schedule three days before and after you travel. Your body will be in a new rhythm ahead of time and that means you can start enjoying your trip the minute you land!
Packing List: Keep track of everything you need to pack with this handy app. Sleek and simple, you can make several packing lists with the app and group lists by location and luggage. For a small fee, you can upgrade to a version that will also store your lists in the cloud, so you can easily access them from anywhere. Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Taking off in the near future? Then this next tip is just for you. Pack to tackle the two C’s! That’s right, convenience and comfort. You want conveniently packed carry-ons and a comfortable flight. These travel apps and gear will have just about everything you need!
Pinch Provisions’ Airplane Mode travel kit: OK, so this one isn’t exactly travel tech, per se, but it is fantastic. This bad boy has almost everything you’d need during a flight packed in its sparkly 4-inch pouch, including an eye mask, earbuds, a comb, lip balm, lotion (it gets dry up at 40,000 feet!), a nail file, phone stand and more. Its tiny size makes it easy to throw into a carry-on bag, and its gold exterior makes it awesome.
Binaural: Anyone who’s tried to snooze on a train or plane ride knows just how impossible it can be. This app lets you pick a beat – whether you want to relax, fall asleep, get energized or concentrate on a task – then plays sounds depending on your mood. It can mix in gentle rain sounds as well if that’s your jam. It’s available for the iPhone and iPad.
Flight 001 travel blanket: It must be an unwritten travel rule that airports and airplane cabins must be the chilliest places on Earth. Pack this little beauty into your carry-on and you’ll never shiver mid-flight again. It does double duty, both as a blanket and as a pillow when it’s zipped into its pouch. It comes in pink and blue, and is made of polyester.
Apps for your On-Foot Travels
Walking the streets of a new city is exciting stuff. New shops, new faces, new smells and sounds. But there’s also the burden of trying to figure out the unfamiliar terrain. These apps will be handy for your on-foot adventures.
Detour: Visiting a new place and don’t feel like joining a guided-tour with strangers? Then take a detour. With just a phone and some earbuds, this awesome app lets you take self-guided walks through cities around the world. Or, if you’re traveling with friends, free group sync lets everyone experience the magic together. But the best part –in our opinion of course – is the local narrators, awesome storytelling, and cool background music. It’s like walking around inside your own personal movie!
Dark Sky: Stuck inside a cafe in a new city, waiting for the rain to subside so you can go explore? Dark Sky will tell you – down to the minute and your exact location – when the showers will end. It comes with beautiful maps and a time machine feature that lets you skip to past or future weather conditions. It costs $3.99 and is available for Android and the iPhone and iPad.
Road Trip Apps
If you’re an avid fan of road trips, then you know the struggle of looking for hotels, cheap gas, and good eats. But don’t worry, these travel apps will get the job done.
Gas Buddy: Spending money to fuel up is never fun, especially if 10-miles down the road you find another gas station with prices 15 cents cheaper than what you just paid. To avoid the heartbreak of wasted money, this app will let you know where the cheapest gas is in any state. And if you like to plan ahead, which you probably do if you’re heading on a road trip, then you can even use this app to plan the total amount of gas money you’ll spend beforehand. That means you can plan your entertainment budget accordingly!
AAA Mobile: Car Trouble. It happens and it’s not your fault. This app will give AAA members access to roadside assistance quickly and options to rent cars in those bigger emergencies. It’s also perfect for finding hotels, restaurants, repair shops, cheap gas, and more. Plus, you’ll have access to all the discounts and member savings in the area at the click of a button. Available on iOS and Android.
Anywhere, Anyplace, Anytime
Need Wi-Fi? No problem. Don’t speak the language? No problem. This next group of travel tech, apps, and gear are perfect for any trip, no matter where or when you’re going!
Venture Backpack: Enough pockets and pouches to hold all your essential travel tech, built-in tracking to keep tabs on your belongings, optional on-the-go Wi-Fi, and beautiful tanned leather from Italy – what doesn’t this backpack have? At $750.00 this piece may be a little (or a lot) on the expensive side, but hey, if you’re willing to splurge we won’t tell. This is one solid and stylish piece of travel gear you won’t regret.
Micro Scooter Steve Aoki Luggage: Pack your luggage, get to the airport, and then don’t roll, but ride this baby right down the terminal. The Steve Aoki Micro Luggage is a suitcase and scooter combined, and we think it’s pretty amazing! Not only is this luggage TSA compliant and the perfect carry-on size, but at $299.99 who can complain about price. The luggage is equipped with a mesh section for your gym clothes, a padded pouch for your laptop, and so many other neat features. Stylish and multi-functional, it’s perfect for frequent travelers.
Day One 2.0: Fresh off a major update, the Day One app lets you chronicle your travels in a beautiful virtual journal. Every entry – from photos to journal entries to videos – is date- and location-stamped, so you’ll never forget a moment of your vacation. It’s available for the iPhone and iPad. It’s a little pricey at $39.99, but having your memories forever at your fingertips? Priceless.
Mophie powerstation XL: Are both your smartphone and tablet out of juice? Not a problem if you have the Mophie powerstation XL, a portable battery that can charge two devices at once with its two USB ports. And perhaps just as cool – it stores enough power to charge your smartphone three times over. And it looks sharp too, with finishes available in slate gray, soft rose and burnished gold.
Voice Translator: This app is like a modern-day Babel Fish. (Apologies to those who have yet to read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Also: What are you waiting for? Go read it already – it’s hilarious!) You just speak into the phone, and the app translates it into your language of choice. With more than 50 languages available – from Chinese to French and Arabic to Norwegian – you’ll be able to converse with the locals almost everywhere you travel. Available for Android devices.
Wallet Ninja: This little beauty is the size and thickness of a credit card, but manages to pack 18 tools into its thin frame. It contains a bottle opener, four screwdrivers, a can opener, ruler, hex wrenches and more. Pop a credit card into a slot and it becomes a cellphone stand. Bonus: It’s TSA-approved for your carry-on luggage.
For more travel tech products, go to AAA.com/TravelBytes.