Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Top Ten Long Haul Travel Gadgets

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m addicted to travel. Give me a good reason, business or pleasure to pack my bag and I’m away. You reach a stage when your kids don’t need you any more (and thank goodness they’re not around creating havoc all the time, but getting on with things) much of your work can travel with you and you’re free to go.

So I’m pretty much an expert traveller although I seem to be unable to travel seriously light – long ago I’m sure I went off to the US with just a carry-on bag but I simply couldn’t do that now.

I have a list of things that need to go with me, whether I’m away for a short weekend in Paris, a long one in Houston or a week in Santa Fe, and whether I’m staying with friends or in a hotel. So here they are. I’m well aware that I’ve written about some of these before, so apologies if you’ve already read about them, but I wanted to put them together in one place.

travel gadget power monkey Travel gadget mini speakers

1. The indispensible Power Monkey.
The beauty of this charging gadget is that not only can you charge from the mains, or on the plane (provided you’ve charged it up first), but it will charge your speakers, iPhone, Blackberry and other small electronic items, just by changing the connector. I have had more of these pinched by friends and family than I care to admit, so guard yours well, and no. You’re not having mine.

2. xMini Speakers
It depends on where you’re travelling, many larger hotels now have ‘iHome’ docks so you can charge and listen to your nano while you’re there. Many don’t however, and particularly if you’re staying with friends but want some time out to listen to your music, rather than theirs, get a set of these. Once charged they last for hours and will never let you down. The sound is much better than you would expect from something so small as well.

3. Sennheiser PMX60 Neckband Headphones
Now this is totally a matter of choice but I personally hate the headphones you stick in your ears. I’ve never been able to make them work for me. These are reasonably priced, offer extremely good sound and I use them for train, plane and the gym. They’re also very comfortable.

travel gadget samsung netbook 2 travel gadget ipod nano

4. True Global Travel Plug Adaptor
The joy of this is that rather than having to use lots of different adaptors for different places, you just slide into place the connectors you need and everything stays together. Just don’t leave it behind.

5. New Generation iPod or Nano
I know that you’re going to tell me you’re all using iPhones now and so don’t need one of these, however I, being a Blackberry addict, definitely do. And in any case I like to have back-up for my music, which as you may have gathered goes with me everywhere. And you can’t listen to music stored on a Blackberry on a plane, now can you?

6. Sports Armband for Nanos and iPods
Amazingly well priced and incredibly useful if you run or go to the gym, this sports armband holder for 5th Generation Nanos (and there are those for iPod’s as well, of course) holds your music firmly in place. Mine goes with me everywhere.

Travel Gadget Headphones travel gadget adaptor

7. Samsung Netbook N210
Light, reasonably priced and with an extra long battery last time Samsung netbooks are excellent travel companions. One of the very few problems is that there is no built in DVD drive, so you will also need:

8. Slimline USB External DVD drive
With your Samsung Netbook and this slim, lightweight USB DVD drive, you can play movies and load new software wherever you are. There are many on the market but this one is slim and light, reads and writes and is designed for both CDs and DVDs.

9. PocketHub Mini USB Port
Because if you take your laptop with you you may want to plug in also a USB mouse, charge up your speakers and your iPhone, this mini USB hub with four ports makes life easy and you can plug them all in at once.

10. Compressible Travel Packing Bags
These are not strictly gadgets I know, but I find them very useful for compressing ‘soft’ items in my case and totally necessary as I always carry too much. They’re really good for compressing your laundry as you go round the world as well. The problem is that they do create extra space so you can pack more. Oh well.................

You won’t be surprised, I know if I tell you that I’m off again this week, just for a few days, and I promise you I will be carrying all of the above with me on my trip so I can write, blog, listen to my music, go to the gym and generally feel totally at home wherever I am. The only problem I have right now is that the eldest son has pinched my headphones to take to the US with him and it’s too late to get them back as he’s currently up in the air. Amazon? Emergency Delivery? I need you right now!