No matter what kind of traveller you are, these clever gadgets have got you covered, every step of the way.
Words Owen Bailey
Best for: Keeping track of your luggage
Lets your luggage check in with you
The Trakdot Luggage Tracker is a small device that fits in your suitcase and uses GPS tracking to update you on its progress, anywhere in the world. It’ll send its reassuring message to any mobile, Apple, Android, or SMS capable devices in real time – once you’ve registered the device on the Trakdot site, you can enjoy your flight safe in the knowledge that your case won’t be one of an estimated 26 million that go missing each year.
Shirt Shuttle Mk 2
Best for: Smooth dressing
Arrive at your meeting crease-free
No matter how immaculately you’ve ironed your shirt, the chances are, once it’s been halfway around the world in your case, you’re going to have to start all over again. That is, until the advent of the Shirt Shuttle – you simply wrap your crisply ironed shirt round its grippy folding board (it even has curved edges to ensure there are no lines), then slip it into a tough, lightweight case, ready for travel. Smooth.
Best for: Easier typing
Type right on your iPad
It may not rank with the world’s most pressing difficulties, but for many, typing on the iPad’s digital keyboard is a frustrating experience, and the lack of physicality renders touch-typing a non-starter. One solution is the Touchfire keyboard – a slim device as thick as two credit cards which attaches magnetically to the inside of your iPad cover and provides cushioned keys. When you’re done, you can fold the Touchfire away with the iPad cover, all of which means goodbye laptop, hello Touchfire…
Best for: Entertaining kids
Get the kids off your case
Travelling tots aren’t exactly renowned for their tolerance and patience, but the Trunki could be just the ticket to keep them occupied. Doubling as both hand luggage and cute ride-on toy, the Trunki can be packed with their favourite things and even has specially designed teddy-bear seatbelts. It has a carry/tow strap, too, so you can lead them gently to the departure lounge, or they can take Trunki for a walk while you mop the sweat from your brow with your passport.
Breeze Playard Foldaway Crib
Best for: Babies on the go
One-push play (and sleeping) space for junior
The Breeze Playard is an elegant design based on a good idea – so good, in fact, that its initial production run sold out on pre-order within the first week! It’s a one-push playard for kids that opens or closes in one step via automatic latches. This ease-of-use is supplemented by a removable bassinet, a portable changing pad and a travel bag, adding up to a welcome helping hand for families on the move.
Autoseal Kids Trekker Cup
Best for: Avoiding spills
Ne’er a slip twixt cup and lip
Keep the little ones dry in the backseat with the Trekker Cup – for kids who insist they’re beyond sippy cups, but still somehow end up wearing their drink down their front. The cup’s Autoseal technology opens at the push of a button, then closes up again, making it 100 per cent leak and spill proof, in theory at least. It’s also ergonomically designed to be easy for smaller hands to grip and comes in a range of eyecatching colours.
Best for: Cool camping
The ultimate in outdoor style
FieldCandy describes each of its often limited-edition designer tents as “a unique and rare piece of practical outdoor art”, and claims many of them end up in private collections or being sold at charity auctions. Printed and manufactured to the highest-possible quality in the UK, the outer sheets feature designs by famous names hand-picked from the worlds of fashion, album-cover art design, photography and graphic design, and prints range from sci-fi raygun illustrations to photorealistic bricks and mortar.
Martian Passport Voice Command Watch
Best for: Slick communication
Talk to the hand
With wearable tech on the drawing boards of all the major forward-thinking manufacturers and pioneers, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of the kind of innovation that led to the new Martian Passport Voice Command Watch. Looking for all the world like a stylish, retro-flavoured regular wristwatch, the Martian Watches enable you to make and receive calls and write and receive texts without your phone leaving your pocket – all via the magic of voice control and Bluetooth.
Best for: Great coffee on tap
Coffee is very important to some people – particularly the clever folk at Handpresso, it seems. They’ve come up with a novel gadget to ensure you’ll get your Espresso fix wherever you are. The Handpresso Wild Hybrid machine is simple, light and compact, and you can use either ground espresso coffee, or insert an adaptor, generate 16-bar pressure with a built-in pump, add water, and you have the real deal. There’s even a Handpresso Auto model for the car…
Zippo Hand Warmer
Best for: Staying warm
There are quite a few pocket-sized gadgets available to protect your extremities, but the windproof lighter people are onto a winner with their reusable Hand Warmer. A single 12ml dose of lighter fuel will not only last up to 12 hours, but the Zippo can kick out up to ten times more heat than disposable rivals, thanks to its catalytic combustion design. Once lit, you wait for its indicator to turn red, pop it in its warming bag, and kiss goodbye to frozen digits.
Best for: Curing cold feet
This is why technology rules. Instead of stomping around on numb feet, feeling miserable in the dead of winter, the brilliance of the ThermaCell Heated Insole means we can just press a button on a wireless remote control fob and decide how warm we’d like our feet to be. If that ain’t progress, we don’t know what is. Powered by rechargeable batteries, they’re self-contained, with no wires, batteries and so on, and they’ll kick out the heat for a full five hours.
Sennheiser PXC 250-II Travel Headphones
Best for: Noise cancelling
Frequent fliers and light sleepers may well have already invested in a set of these. But for the rest of us, Sennheiser’s highly portable, lightweight, travel-optimised headphones could improve our travelling experience no end. The PXC 250-II mini headphones are equipped with NoiseGard active noise-cancelling technology, and are designed specifically to tune out the ambient noise that forms the background noise to most of our trips. They also offer detailed sound reproduction, and have a handy integrated volume control.
Best for: Off-road contact
Calling… international rescue
The SpareOne Emergency Phone could be anything from a timesaver to a lifesaver. It can be used anywhere within range of a cell tower, and even without a SIM card, it has one-button emergency dialling and can be geo-located. It operates off one AA battery and will stay charged for up to 15 years: it offers 10 hours of talk time and a torch – and perhaps most importantly of all, it can operate in extreme weather ranges.
Best for: Dressing smart
The Fleece 7.0 is so advanced, it actually contains a map showing each of the jacket’s many pockets. Any item of clothing requiring a map to navigate it may sound over the top, but take it from us, this could be one of the most thought-about items of clothing ever made. Among its many features is a pocket engineered to let you use a touchscreen device without taking it out; a total of 23 gadget-friendly pockets; and a padlocked zipper pocket for travel documents.
Polaroid XS100 Extreme Edition Waterproof Sports Action Camera
Best for: Sporty photographers
Light camera, records the action
If you surf, ski, skydive, raft, hang-glide, mountain-bike or otherwise endanger yourself in the name of thrillseeking entertainment, the latest in affordable-yet-durable Action Cameras could make your trips even more unforgettable. As well as being tough, it’s an intelligently thought-out piece of kit – dual-file recording for efficient uploads, slow- (or fast-) motion capabilities, single-button record, auto-rotation sensor and anti-shake technology is all onboard. Comes with a helmet and handlebar mount, and is ready to rock, straight out of the box.