Oct 6, 2010

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6 of the best travel gadgets to take on holiday

Harry LawranceI love gadgets. I consider myself to be a mild geek, (my symptoms get worse with each passing day, but I believe I’m still a little way off full geek status) so if something has flashing lights, a touch screen or Bluetooth then I’m a fan. If it’s got all three I’m in heaven. I’ve put together this list of 6 of my favourite gadgets and gizmo’s designed to make travelling and holidays easier and more enjoyable. Are there any other’s you’ve used that should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments over there >>>

Kindle E Reader – £109 from Amazon.

The Kindle can be used in the bright sunshine

The Kindle can be used in the bright sunshine

This year on holiday I read two books (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson and An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan if you’re interested – both were excellent). The Turkish sun melted the glue in both books spines and all the pages fell out, got blown away and wet and the books generally deteriorated. I also finished these within a few days and due to a lack of any alternative choices was forced to start reading my girlfriends copy of Twilight, which was painful. The Kindle solves all these problems by storing up to 3’500 eBooks ready for you to read at the touch of a button. It has a low glare screen that allows you to read in bright sunshine and weighs less than your average paperback. You won’t even need to take a charger in your suitcase as a single charge gives you enough battery life to last for 1 month, provided the in-built wi-fi is turned off. Just don’t drop it in the swimming pool.

CallUma Tag’n’Traq Luggage trace tags – £9.95 from Calluma.com.

The CallUma tags simply attach to your luggage

One of my least favourite things about travelling is the anxious wait at the baggage carousel on arrival. As the revolving bags are picked up and wheeled off by their relieved owners, and the crowd gradually diminishes, I’m generally left stood there waiting, filled with a growing feeling of anxiety and dread, that while I stand in an airport in Southern Spain, my bag is being prodded by customs officers in Swaziland. Thankfully to date, my suitcase has always eventually come trundling up the conveyor, usually with the contents trailing in its wake, so I don’t know the pain and inconvenience of losing one’s luggage and not knowing if it will ever be seen again, but I can imagine the frustration and anxiety this would cause at a time when you’re supposed to be relaxing and enjoying yourself. So in steps the CallUma tag’n’traq luggage tag, providing complete baggage peace of mind for the sake of a tenner. Simply attach one of the tags containing your unique tracking number to your case and should your luggage not turn up when you reach your destination, simply call or text with your tracking number and CallUma will take over, doing all the leg work to locate your bags and arrange for their safe return to you, keeping you updated via phone, text or email.

Knee defender – $14.95 from Gadgetduck.com.

Not a gadget as such, but so unique I had to include it in this list. Tall people in particular suffer from the limited legroom on planes and if you’re on a long haul flight halfway across the globe, the last thing you want is the person sat in front to recline their seat to the max, so much so that your knees are now firmly pressed to your chest and your chin is resting on your tray table. OK a bit of an exaggeration I admit, but the knee defender comes to the rescue. Clipping on to the tray table arms, the knee defender stops the seat in front from being able to recline leaving you free to dangle and swing your legs to your hearts content. It may be anti-social and it’s use is a tad controversial, but the knee defender is useful nonetheless. It’s currently only available from the USA as far as I can see, but it surely won’t be long before it shows up these shores. Just be sure you don’t be come a recline hypocrite by whacking your own seat all the way back to prostrate!

Quick Pod – £19.99 from Ifsogo.com

The quikpod in action

The quikpod in action

As with the knee defender, the quick pod is perhaps not strictly a gadget, but it is an invention so simple and so useful, you can’t believe it wasn’t invented sooner. Simply attach your digital camera to the tripod screw thread, set the self timer on your camera and extend the pole at arms length and voila! A natural looking, sharp and in-focus photo of yourself and your loved one in front of that iconic landmark. No longer will you have to approach a stranger with your expensive photographic equipment and try and explain where the shutter button is, how long it should be held down for and the various complicated exposure settings – only for them to look at you blankly when the flash doesn’t go off.

Wi-Fi finder – £15.31 from Gadgetsquick.co.uk.

They used to be bad news in Strike it Lucky, but nowadays hotspots are a good thing

They used to be bad news in Strike it Lucky, but nowadays hotspots are a good thing

On holiday and need a Facebook fix? Want to send a tweet to gloat to all your friend that while their sitting in work in sodden England, you’re exploring in the glorious sunshine in Rome? In short, do you need to find the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot? Then the Wi-Fi hotspot detector is your friend. Just point and click and a series of LED’s will sniff out your nearest Wi-Fi hotspot and will help you find the strongest signal in the vicinity.

Garmin Oregon 200 Handheld GPS – £209.98 from Amazon.

Never be (obviously) lost again. Keep your lost-ness discreet!

Never be (obviously) lost again. Keep your lost-ness discreet!

When visiting a new city, it’s inevitable you’ll get lost. Rather than squinting at signposts, trying to work out if you can read Japanese (hint – you can’t) or fumbling around with maps that fold out to the size of a football pitch and engulf you in one, you could try just carrying around one of these handheld GPS units and navigate your way with ease, guided by satellites spinning around the globe far above.

Please note: All facts and prices were correct at the time of writing (October 6, 2010). 
  1. After publishing this post I also saw this solar charger that’s pretty neat – http://www.iwantoneofthose.com/solar-charger-v2/index.html – you just leave it out in the sun for a while and then you can hook it up via USB to your ipod or mobile phone to provide a bit of extra juice when you need it most. Are there any other cool travel gadgets I’ve missed?

  2. How about the Cuuli towel or that rubbish book holder off the Apprentice! They DEFINATELY shouldn’t make the shortlist!

  3. You’re not selling the book holder to me Dean :). Do you think it would hold the Kindle as well (see number 1)?

    The Cuuli towel actually seemed like a pretty good idea and I could see a market for it – I think people would buy the Cuuli were it to go into production, but maybe I’m alone in thinking that?

  4. I purchased that solar charger for my trip to Peru. As I was doing a lot of walking I found it difficult to attach it to anything so that it would charge effectively. My sister also had a solar charger which for a little bit of extra cash was alot more practical and easy to attach to her rucksack – http://www.solio.com/charger/solio-charger-classic.html

  5. Sarah T says:

    How about this? The hotel room door alarm!

    Now you can go to the dodgiest hotels without worrying about thieves in the middle of the night, or the maid walking in on you while your in the shower!


  6. Harry Lawrance says:

    @Sarah T, great suggestion. That’d be very useful for backpackers staying in hostels. Or anyone staying in the Bates Motel :)


  1. Top Travel Gadgets | Best Traveling Guide - [...] can find more to add to this collection on the travelsupermarket.com blog with their post and the best gadgets…

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