Nine travel gadgets that will make your holidays a whole lot easier

Everything you need, from phone holders to instant translators and waterproof cases

Today, travellers can find solace that the modern rigmarole of Covid prevention is at least countered by the modern tech that makes our travelling lives noticeably easier. Some nifty new products and improvements have come on the market since we last travelled in earnest, here are our must-haves for the year ahead. (Note that none ships from the UK, so no need to worry about being hit with extra shipping costs.)

Gadgetpro flexible mobile phone holder

It might not seem difficult to hold your phone while you watch downloaded programmes but seven hours into a long-haul flight, the struggle is real. Propping it up doesn't work either – even the rubberiest case will slide down within minutes. So a flexible mobile holder is worth every cent of its €2.99, especially as you can also use it when settled into a hotel room, or to stick on the dashboard while driving.
€2.99 from

Travis Touch Go

We can just about get by in foreign countries using wild gesticulations and saying English words slowly in a heavy accent (joke – don't do that), but a pocket translator makes communication straightforward. It works by listening to what you say, and instantly repeating it to the person you're talking to in their language – useful for on-the-ground situations like asking about transport options or explaining dietary restrictions. Even though this is still nascent tech, the results are surprisingly quick and accurate. The market leader is PocketTalk, but TravisTranslator has the advantage of not needing internet connection to translate basic phrases in 15 languages, meaning it'll come in handier in the wilds of Peru or Thailand.
RRP €249 from

Waterproof phone case

Don't find out the hard way – if you're off on a coastal trip, wrap your precious device in a waterproof case so you're not €800 lighter at the end of the trip. These cases are great for snorkelling and, depending on the exact make, diving. But you can also use them in swimming pools and on a boat, where the lanyard means you can stretch out of the boat to take pics without worrying about it slipping out of your hand and plopping into the seas. Also useful for snow holidays.
€30-39 from


USB Universal Adaptor

Hands up who's flown abroad only to find out that they brought the wrong adaptor. Or forgot the plug bit for their phone cable. Or stayed in rickety accommodation that only has one plug point. Guilty on all three counts, I now swear by a universal adaptor. It essentially means that on that stressful packing and admin night before the trip, you don't have to think about the plug and adaptor situation – just throw this in with the cables, then move on to the toiletries situation.
€24 from

Portable Travel WiFi Hotspot

If you're heading further than the EU and not up for massive data costs, you have two options: leech off patchy public wifi where you can get it, or buy a local SIM card to use in a personal wifi hotspot, which acts like your home wifi router, only on the move – such as this TP-Link 4G mobile wifi model. For the most part, it gives reliable internet across laptops, phones and games consoles, making it handy for both business and leisure matters.
RRP €89.95 from

Urban Factory Power Bank Bigee 6000mAh

Such is our reliance on our phones when we're abroad and in constant need of information that a power bank is less of a nice-to-have than an essential. For travel purposes, a power bank needs to balance the amount of juice it stores with its weight, as these things can feel like carrying a brick around. There's a happy medium with the Urban Factory Bigee, which holds around two full iPhone charges in its 200g device (the size of a cooking apple). It also charges up to three devices at the same time – handy if you're travelling in a group.
RRP €61.18 from

Phone lens kit

A phone lens kit means we can cross off a sole-purpose camera from our packing list in favour of travelling light. Most phone lens kits come with a fish eye lens for that distinctive distorted effect; a .67 x wide angle lens to capture what phone camera panorama settings can never quite; and a macro lens for extreme close-ups, giving a range of additional options for the budding travel photographer.
€10.50 from

Sony Over-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones XB900NL

The main advantage of noise-cancelling headphones is that the loud background noise of planes and buses are levelled out, offering the wearer relative silence. And over-ear headphones also act as a visual cue if you want to be left alone – because sometimes, a plane breakfast is not worth waking up for. These Sony headphones give good bass and have an excellent battery life of 30 hours on one charge, making it a solid choice.
€269.99 from

Tile Slim

If you're anxious about losing your suitcase, backpack, passport, wallet or other crucial bits you need while abroad, a Tile can allay those fears. The Slim version is the size of a credit card, and slips into luggage tags, passport holders and pockets. If the item goes missing, the Tile app shows you where it is on a map, with the help of every device that's also got the Tile app. It's not foolproof, but it helps.
RRP €34.99 from