Free movement: handy travel gadgets for global citizens
Don’t even think about going on holidays without these super-cool gadgets
The Carry On from Away, £225
Britain may be preparing to hoist up the drawbridge and close the portcullis, and Donald Trump may be building a big wall of bigotry and xenophobia around the United States, but the rest of us are just getting on with being citizens of the world, and looking forward to visiting new places, enjoying new experiences, and finding common ground with people of different cultures. We’re certainly not planning to impose any travel restrictions on our lives.
Last year, a record 31.8 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year, so it’s clear that the travel bug is still going around. As we pack our smart luggage for the summer holidays, we’re looking forward to using our freedom of movement to travel hassle-free around the 26 member states, and using our status as global citizens to get out there and see the world.
But first, of course, we need to make sure we’ve got the right gear to take with us on our travels. We don’t want to be crossing the time zones with equipment that’s stuck in a time warp. So here are some of the coolest gadgets around, created specially for the plugged-in globetrotter. Get packing!
The Carry On – Away
Made from light and durable polyprophene, the Carry On from Away is a neat little piece of smart luggage that will meet your travel needs without overdoing it on the bells and whistles. A couple of years ago, smart luggage lost the run of itself, packing in so many electronic features you could have flown the suitcase to your destination without the need of a plane. But airline safety authorities were not happy about the lithium battery packs built into the suitcases for charging phones and laptops, which they deemed a fire hazard, so the smart luggage makers responded by dialling down the electronics and making the battery packs detachable. Away’s battery pack ejects in an instant, and slots back in just as quickly, so there’s no faffing around in the aisle. The Carry On fits neatly into the overhead locker, and the shell – which comes in a variety of cool colours – can take some serious bumping. The zippers slot neatly into a combination lock – to keep wandering hands out of your luggage – and the 360-degree spinner wheels make for a smooth roll along all airport surfaces. Get a set of two, the Carry On and a medium suitcase that nest into each other, for just £425
€149.99 currys.ieWhen you’ve got a bit of downtime, you might be tempted to revisit some of your favourite epic novels, but who wants to lug Lord of the Rings or the complete Harry Potter set around on their holidays? The best way to catch up on weighty tomes without adding to your luggage weight is to get the Kindle Paperwhite, and load it up with all the reading material you’ll need to get you through the vacation. With its clean, soft-white hi-res screen, the Paperwhite is as near as bedamned to a book page – and there’s zero glare, so you can happily sit by the pool and read comfortably. The Paperwhite is waterproof, so it will withstand a splash and survive an accidental dunking. And when it gets dark, you can activate the backlight and keep reading while the rest of the family is asleep. Even if you’re cycling or walking, you can still keep up with the story – it has Audible built in, so you can pair it with your Bluetooth headphones and listen to audiobooks on the go.
UE Boom 3 portable Bluetooth speaker
€119, littlewoodsireland.ieIf you’re planning on a leisurely holiday with lots of lazing by the pool/beach/balcony/terrace, then you’re going to need to pack a portable Bluetooth speaker. But you don’t want a dinky little yoke that sounds like the music’s literally coming out of a tin can. You do need a light but tough speaker that packs easily into your luggage, can withstand the rigours of travel, and is also completely waterproof. The UE Boom 3 has a stylish, durable iridescent cloth cover, and boasts excellent 360-degree sound quality. The Boom’s deep, rich bass texture ensures your music has that oomph, and the sound doesn’t distort at high volume, so you can just put it down and turn it up. The Boom 3 is simple to operate, too – just one touch and you’ve got your playlist up and running without you having to waste precious party time fiddling with your phone.
Go Pro Hero 7 Black
Planning on doing lots of activity on holiday? The Go Pro Hero 7 is the big kahuna when it comes to capturing all your outdoor adventures on 4k HD video. Take jaw-dropping footage of all your surfing, mountain biking, white water rafting and paragliding activities – and consign those boring, static holiday videos to the scrapheap. The Hero 7 has seriously upped its game and now boasts superb stabilisation – without gimbals – so shakiness has been all but eliminated, replaced by super-smooth action. It’s waterproof up to 10 metres, and it’s got voice control, so you can tell it to take a photo while your hands are full hanging on for dear life. You can also use the GoPro for live-streaming, so your friends can watch you do that bungee jump in real time, and an 8x slo-mo setting so you can linger on those death-defying moments.
Jabra Elite Active 65T Wireless Sport Earbuds
I love my B&W PX noise-cancelling headphones, but I’m going to have to think twice about bringing them on holiday with me. They’re just too big and luxurious to throw into the beach bag. What I need is some handy earbuds that will give me good sound and fit unobtrusively in my bag. The Jabra Elite 65T fits the bill, and comes in a very handy little case that will easily travel everywhere with you. They fit nicely into your ear, are wireless, and sweatproof – a crucial feature on a hot summer holiday. Alas, they don’t have noise-cancelling features, but for those quiet nights on the terrace with a glass of vino, they’re just the job. They also come with Alexa, so you can take her on holidays with you too.