The best travel tech of 2017

Work, fly and breathe easier, literally, with these smart accessories
By Joal Ryan, Contributor on
1 of 20 Travelmate Robotics

Travelmate autonomous suitcase and robot

The pitch on this project, now selling working prototypes priced starting at $399 via Indiegogo, is as straightforward as it is cool: The Travelmate is "an all-purpose robot that carries your stuff for you."

The GPS-equipped bag with built-in scale can roll alongside you and/or motor up to 6.75 mph. It's estimated to ship to backers in June.

2 of 20 Kanex via PR Newswire

Kanex MultiSync Foldable Travel Keyboard

The situation is, you need to compose a lengthy email. The hitch is, you're on the go, and you don't want to haul out your laptop or tap on your phone. A solution is this slim, "fold-and-go," ergonomic keyboard that wirelessly connects to and switches between up to four devices. It lists for $49.95, but at last look Amazon.com had it for $39.99.

3 of 20 Micro via PRWeb

Micro universal adapter

This compact, modular gadget puts the universal in universal adapter -- it's said to be compatible in more than 150 countries on all seven continents. A single Micro is being offered for £23 (roughly $30) on Kickstarter, where the campaign hit its goal -- and then some -- in a single day. Delivery is estimated for December.

4 of 20 Tink Labs

Handy hotel phone

The Handy isn't something you can pack; it's something you can use if you stay in one of the ever-growing number of hotels worldwide that make it available for guests. Its chief feature is free -- as in, it offers free local and international calls, and free unlimited internet access.

Nearly one in four London hotels now provide a handy Handy; the device should be coming to the United States in the coming year, CNET reported.

5 of 20 Google

Google Trips

Launched last September for Android and iOS, Google Trips has been hailed as a "killer travel app for the modern tourist." CNET said its ability to build itineraries, track plane, bus and train reservations and suggest a nice spot for dinner made it a "kind of personal assistant."

6 of 20 LocTote Industrial Bag Co.

​Flak Sack

You never know what -- or who -- you're going to run into on the road. With that in mind, this $149 drawstring bag is made with the same high-strength fiber used in police vests. It's designed to withstand slash-and-grab thieves, and block Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) theft. All that, plus it comes with a lock.

7 of 20 Travis the Translator via Facebook

Travis the Translator

This handheld device could open up the whole wide world for you. In a face-to-face conversation, Travis' built-in microphones listen to what's being said; seconds later, it repeats back the dialogue in the language of your choosing via built-in speakers, earphones or a headset.

When the device is online, it can process up to 80 languages; when it's offline, 20. The more you use it, the better Travis gets thanks to its AI brain. Prices start at $149 at Indiegogo; devices are expected to ship in September.

8 of 20 Mymanu via Facebook

Mymanu CLIK earbuds

These wireless earbuds aren't just billed as smart -- they're billed as "the world's smartest." Use them to hear alerts from your phone, or enjoy real-time translation, in person or remotely, in 37 languages. The UK-based Mymanu is expected to ship CLIKs shortly; the pre-order price is £155.00 (roughly $201.50).

9 of 20 Dyson via Facebook

Dyson Supersonic hair dryer

This accessory is getting outsized buzz -- and not just for its $399.99 price tag. The Supersonic uses a so-called "digital motor" to get the stylish job done fast -- and in relative quiet. While not specifically travel-sized, as Wired pointed out, it's compact enough to "fit into a carry-on bag without having to sacrifice a day's clothes."

10 of 20 E-Case via Facebook

E-Case smart luggage

This is the check-in bag designed to take the worry out of, well, checking your bag. Download the E-Case app, and track your bag's every move on your device via GPS. Use its built-in scale to eliminate luggage-fee surprises. Open its lock via fingerprint recognition, or via the app or SMS.

The E-Case line, available in three sizes, including a 20-inch carry-on, is available for pre-order via Kickstarter; prices start at $279; July delivery is estimated.

11 of 20 Beeline via Instagram


If you journey by two wheels, you may want this "smart compass." The Beeline, which retails for £99 (or, roughly $128), attaches to your handlebars, connects to your Android or iOS device via app, and then points you in the direction you've told it you want to go. It can store favorite routes and destinations, and share them, too.

12 of 20 Lumix via Facebook

Lumix DC-ZS70

This "travel zoom" camera, listing for $449.99, and shipping this summer, adds a 180-degree tilting monitor to the resume of Panasonic's Lumix brand. The feature allows you to take selfies with ease and in 8-megapixel resolution via Panasonic's 4K Photo mode.

13 of 20 Modobag via Facebook


The Modobag is carry-on luggage you mount, and zoom away on -- it motors up to 5 mph indoors, up to 8 mph outdoors. Its battery fully charges in one hour. While you're tooling around, it returns the favor and charges your devices. And, not to worry, it has brakes.

Pre-orders are being taken, for $1,095 and up, on Indiegogo; estimated delivery is May.

14 of 20 Barracuda via Facebook

Barracuda Konzu backpack

This bag, another Kickstarter success story, with limited pre-order options still available, starting at $158, comes with a built-in battery that wirelessly charges when you're at home or the office, and then turns around and acts as a device-charger when you're out and about.

Other standard features include a sensor that alerts you to an open, unzipped bag, and RFID-blocking pockets. The bags are expected to delivered to backers in May.

15 of 20 Lockjaww via Amazon.com

Lockjaww in-flight device holder

Lockjaww is a bit older (by about a year) than most of the travel-tech items listed here, but with the existing airplane ban on laptops possibly growing in scope, it's newly relevant.

The Lockjaww latches onto the seat-back tray table, holds your smartphone steady and makes bearable the prospect of staring at or working on the device for hours on end. (It can also secure tablets, but those have been nixed under the current ban, too.) You can find it on Amazon.com for $19.95.

16 of 20 Woollip via Twitter

Woollip inflatable travel pillow

In five puffs and 15 seconds, the Woollip goes from the size of a book to a huggable pillow with arm slots that allow you to, as TechCrunch put it, "face-plant into [the] airplane tray table." Available in three colors, the Woollip lists for €49 (approximately $55).

17 of 20 Lewis N. Clark via Facebook

WaterSeals Magnetic Waterproof Pouch

If you're spending your summer on or near the water, you may want to consider this clear, watertight pouch to keep your smartphone dry -- and useful. Even when sealed inside, the phone remains fully functional. You can take pictures, swipe and otherwise proceed as usual. The WaterSeals pouch with magnetic closures lists for $29.99.

18 of 20 DetoxAir via Facebook


It's time to get up to speed on 20 of the latest pieces of tech-savvy travel gear. Prices listed were current as of this writing.

You may look like Darth Vader, but the Washingon Post assures you won't sound like him when you use this personal, portable air filter. It lists for $22.95.

19 of 20 Sprayground via Facebook

Sprayground Smartpack

Slim, but versatile, the $65 Smartpack has space (and separate compartments) for your laptop and tablet, and works as either a backpack or, thanks to tuckable straps and side handle, a briefcase.

For fun and flash, its interior is lined with cash -- or looks like it is, owing to a velour print.

20 of 20 Uztzu via PRWeb

Uztzu four-in-one T-shirt

Lacking a front or back, and inside or outside, the made-in-Italy Uztzu can be contorted into four different wearable looks -- that's why it's billed as a "Quad-Face T-shirt," or "Q-Shirt." The versatility comes in handy when you want to pack light. Pre-orders are being taken on Kickstarter, packages start at €59 (approximately $65). June delivery is estimated.

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