I wrote earlier this year that my family and I will be driving, over the course of three days, to Florida. It is going to be a long trek and I'm sure by the end of the drive we will all want to vegetate at the rental house for a few days. Despite how long the drive is, and how tiring it will be, this is what we've signed up for. To make that trip a little easier, packing the right tech can make all the difference. Here are a few essential items for travelling this year.
StarTech.com AP150WN1X1U Travel Router
Most hotels nowadays have wi-fi included, but there are still a surprising number that have the wired only Ethernet in the room. In some cases, that may be fine, as long as you have the right dongle in your bag and are the only one wanting to use the blazing fast hotel internet. However, in most cases, you want to get online with your phone, tablet or as is the case with my family, connect more than one device to the internet during your stay.
The solution to this is a fairly simple one. A pocket-sized travel wireless router.
The AP150WN1X1U portable wireless N router from StarTech.com allows you to turn any wired connection into a wireless hot-spot. It is powered off of any 5 volt USB connection, such as your laptop or even the back USB "service port" on most TVs.
The AP150WN1X1U supports three different modes of operation; Access Point, Router and Repeater making it a pretty versatile device that can be quickly setup via its web interface. When not in use the compact size tucks away nicely in your bag or pocket.
Get the StarTech.com AP150WN1X1U Travel Router at Amazon:
Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C
I never thought I would use a device such as this next one as often as I do, but the reality is, for a power user such as myself, a portable high capacity battery pack is a must on any trip these days.
The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 with USB-C is my personal favourite. I tote either a Nexus 6P or a OnePlus 3 as my daily driver on the phone side, so the USB-C port is a wonderful thing on this battery. It also contains 2 x USB-A ports for older legacy USB devices, or USB-A to USB-C cables. Both of which are handy for charging my wife's iPad Mini 2 or the kids older iPad Mini at the same time.
The battery is 20100mAH and all USB ports provide 5v/2.4amps of power which is actually enough to charge the new USB-C based MacBook.
Anker also includes their rapid charge tech as well ensuring that your devices charge at max speed without causing any damage to them.
Inside the box you will find the battery, a case, a USB A-C and USB A-micro B cable.
Get the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 at Amazon:
Recently covered in the GadgetSyrup Geek Gift Guide, the Chromecast is a very handy travel companion if you are on the road with only your mobile devices (phones, iPads, tablets, etc).
Simply connect it to the HDMI port on the back of the TV in the hotel room, switch the input and away you go. From your phone, tablet or some Windows based laptops you can cast your YouTube or Netflix videos to the TV. Thus avoiding suffering through channel surfing on the hotels basic cable and avoiding the high cost of renting movies through the hotels clunky video rental interface.
Get the Google Chromecast from Google:
TrackR Bravo or Tile Mate
Ok, you spent the night in a hotel, the kids threw stuff everywhere, you're trying to get packed up and get back on the road for the next lag of your trip and you can't find your keys or some other vital item to get going. Well, had you prepared yourself by using a Bluetooth tracker such as the TrackR Bravo or Tile Mate you would have already found that item and been on the road.
Pick up either the TrackR or the Tile, attach it to your keys, bags, kids or pets and with a quick tap from within their respective iOS or Android apps and you will be able to track down your item quickly by sounding their alarms. Another really cool feature I like with my Tile, is if my smartphone is hiding somewhere, a quick press of the button on the Tile will activate the alarm on the phone. You don;t realize how handy this is until you us it. Trust me.
Get the TrackeR:
Get the Tile Mate from Amazon:
TFY Universal Headrest Mount
Now that you have found your keys and phone, you're loaded in the car and the kids want to watch a movie. If you're fortunate enough you bought a van for this trip that packs a Blu-Ray, DVD player, 2 screens and Bluetooth headphones and this is an easy fix. However, lets say you didn't buy that van, or still have one rear-facing car seat and child that cannot see the roof mounted screens. No worries, you're covered there too!
The TFY Universal Headrest Mount wraps around nearly any headrest in the vehicle and using its two adjustable clamps will fit any tablet style device from 7" through 11". I've used this with a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and it works like a charm. The clamp is strong enough that, despite the Surface Pro being a relatively heavy device compared to an iPad Mini, it will not move of fall down while on the road.
Get the TFY Universal Headrest Mount from Amazon:
Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones
Regardless of whether you are travelling alone or with the family, sometimes you just need to block out the noise and focus on listening to a book, podcast or music.
For this, the Plantronics BackBeat Pros make a great addition to your travel tech arsenal. Sure, there are the Bose QuietComfort 35s, but at half the price the Plantronics BackBeats are a great mix of price and performance. The feature active noise cancellation, a built in mic should you need to take a call while listening, sync with multiple device, offer decent sound and up to 24 hrs of battery life.
Get the BackBeat PRO from Amazon:
Neewer® Camera Handle Pistol Grip
This item, and the next, have made a world of difference in the quality of smartphone videos I have taken recently. The way you hold your phone to take a video doesn't translate into a very steady video most times since it is not a natural way to hold something. But attaching this to your phone and holding the grip you will see a massive improvement in the stability of your videos and pictures. Since it uses a standard tripod mount thread, you can also use this with any tripod mountable camera.
Very handy and highly recommended.
Get the Neewer Pistol Grip from Amazon:
Mudder Universal Smartphone Adapter Mount
In conjunction with the pistol grip, you will need something to clamp your phone onto that can also mount to the tripod style mount of the grip. The Mudder adapter can be mounted vertically or horizontally to the Neewer grip.
There really is not a lot to say about the Mudder. It works well with the Neewer grip, holds the phone securely. If you tend to shoot a lot of video with your phone, like most people do, the combo of the Neewer Grip and Mudder Mount will be well worth it!
Get the Mudder Smartphone Mount from Amazon:
That about wraps it up for this one. There are countless other things that could have been on this list but these were a few of my must haves for when on the go.
Are there any essential travel tech items that you take with you on every trip? Let me know in the comments below!