Essential gadgets for summer travels

What are some of the best gadgets to have in your backpack this summer?
By Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
1 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

A spare phone

Sometimes on your travels, it can be difficult to find a place to charge your smartphone — and in case of emergencies, this kind of communicative gadget can be essential.

SpareOne is an emergency phone that can be run on a single AA battery for up to ten hours of use — without a SIM card. The phone covers both GSM frequencies, and a local SIM can be used to help you avoid high roaming charges. In addition, the mobile comes with a handy torchlight. 

A SpareOne mobile will set you back $99.99. 

Via: SpareOne 

2 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

A portable camping stove

Although I'm more of a beach and city person, for those of us who like backpacking and hiking, a portable camping stove is a great addition.

The BioLite Camping stove weighs 935g and is able to cook, heat and charge your electronic devices on the go using little more than fauna around you — including wood shavings and twigs. An internal fan generates airflow which then combines with a fuel chamber to create a fire, and this can be converted to electricity using a power module stored within a lithium-ion battery to charge gadgets including smartphones.

The stove costs £149.99 ($230).

Via: Firebox

3 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Turn any pair of gloves touchscreen-friendly

Firebox's AnyGlove liquid can turn any pair of gloves into more modern, touchscreen-friendly alternatives.

With 550 drops in each bottle, the serum can work on any type of glove, but the manufacturers warn that applying the liquid many result in discoloration — so dark pairs are recommended. Once applied, you'll be able to use your smartphone and tablet without removing your gloves, no matter what the weather.

Each bottle costs £19.99 ($30).


Via: Firebox

4 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Stay connected with your smartphone

Tumi's keychain may look like nothing more than a flashy bauble, but as a way to make sure you are not separated from your mobile gadgets when traveling, look no further.

The keychain is Bluetooth enabled and can be attached to your phone or any other object you want to keep with you through a key fob. If you leave an item behind, you are alerted through an alarm system, and you can also wirelessly connect your phone and answer incoming calls within a range of 30 feet. 

Cost: £150 ($230)

Via: Tumi

5 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Sony's Playstation Vita

Traveling can be a joy, but spending hours in an airport when your flight is delayed or hours on the craft itself can be dull. 

So, why not take along a portable gaming console with you? The Playstation Vita, for example, is the successor to the PSP range and sports two quad-core processors, a 5-inch OLED display and dual analogue control. 

The Playstation Vita is a pricey bit of kit, coming in at over £200 for the 3G version, but the rear-control and comfortable joysticks make it a comfortable, entertaining way to spend time on the plane.


Via: Sony

6 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Noise cancelling earphones, a necessity for flying

When you're off on summer travels, a lot of people who follow the backpacking circuit end up using cheap — and often long — public transport. 

If you're on a bucket-and-spade airline, a way to forget about the constricted blood flow to your legs and the screaming child behind you (most likely as annoying to you as embarrassing for the parents) is to zone out with your favorite music.

This particular pair of headphones from Bose are a staple in my backpack. You can connect them to any media player or your smartphone, and you can switch between your music list and taking a call. 

They're pretty comfortable (although in my opinion a little bulky), but certainly do what they say on the tin — just don't wear them crossing a road.

Price: £299.99 ($460).

Via: Currys


7 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

The Mu

If you're traveling on a baggage allowance and want to slim down as much as possible, the Mu could be a good option to charge your electronics.

The U.K. travel adapter can charge any smartphone through a USB connection, and is a compact alternative to bulkier charging gear — as flat down, the measurements are only 14mm x 55mm x 60mm. The foldable plug is able to charge any smartphone, but keep in mind that it cannot handle any high-voltage gadgets, including your tablet.

Currently, this £25 piece of kit is only available for U.K. customers, but the developers plan to release overseas versions in the future.

Via: The Mu

8 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

A travel-proof compact camera

Backpacking can often mean slinging your gear into a bag and going, as well as the need to navigate across rocky terrain.

If you'd like to take pictures while you're at it, or perhaps take photos in the sea, then a shock-proof and watertight camera is a must.

One such example is the Olympus TG 820. The camera is shock-proof from heights of up to two meters, water resistant to a 10m depth, and will not be damaged in temperatures as low as 10c. 

The compact camera costs £164 ($251).


Via: Olympus

9 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Extreme charging

I think most of us have been in the situation when on the go, you need to use a gadget such as your smartphone, tablet or notebook, and you've run out of juice.

For these kinds of predicaments, the Powermonkey Extreme can serve as a conduit for emergency charging. It is able to charge most 5V devices, including an iPhone (six times), iPads and Samsung Galaxy tablets. A standard phone can be charged up to 12 times. 

The storage facility can be recharged with a universal mains charger, a USB port or an integrated solar panel. The product can be purchased for £120 ($184).

Via: Power Traveller


10 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Checking your baggage allowance

When planning your summer travels and booking the cheapest tickets possible, something that can escape memory is the additional charges we tend to accumulate.

One of the most common charges is for baggage allowances — and as some airlines now charge your fee depending on cargo and your personal weight, a digital scale may be a good investment.

The "No More Excess" digital scale weighs in both kg and lb, and has a lightweight design to fit into your luggage. To use, you lift your suitcase — which can be up to 40kg — and simply set it down. The scales now only cost £7.99.

Via: Amazon

11 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

An action camera

For those of us who enjoy extreme sports, being able to record your experiences is a must. One option is to buy a camera which you can strap on as a headband, but if you prefer handheld options, Sony's Action Cam is worth considering.

The Action Cam comes with casing that protects the gadget from water, sand and grime, and records in HD at up to 120 frames per second. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share your footage on the go, and it comes with a hands-free option. 

The camcorder comes with a price tag of £259 ($397)

Via: Sony

12 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Apple's MacBook Air

As a lightweight, powerful laptop, Apple's MacBook Air has remained a solid player for those on the move, whether on holiday or a business trip.

An aluminium body protects the laptop — which is available as 11 inch or 13 inch models — from damage, and can be tailored to include a dual-core processor up to 2Ghz, 8GB memory, and an Intel Graphics 4000 card. At the highest specifications, the battery can last up to 7 hours without Wi-Fi.

Via: Apple

13 of 13 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

A multi-plug adaptor for your gadgets

An adaptor which will keep your gadgets charged on the go is a must for any traveler, although models like this one, which have 4 USB ports, mean that you can charge your iPhone, MP3 player and camera through one outlet.

Stay away from high-voltage electronics though, unless you'd like to repeat my experience of blowing up three in a week while in the Middle East.

Via: Amazon

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