By Alyssa Shaffer
Many of us have just gotten off the road from summer vacation, while others are making vacation and travel plans. Some may be planning road trips, while others may be going abroad for the international experience. While there are many products out there to smooth unanticipated bumps during your journey, here are several gadgets to help fully prepare you for your next adventure. Use these not only to solve those common travel mistakes, but to enhance your next vacation.
Remember what to bring on your Disney, European or beach vacation
Pack This! Classic Trip Checklist
One of the most common mishaps while on a vacation is realizing you forgot to pack your toothbrush or swimsuit. You may have remembered the important things such as a passport, but did you remember your pillow? You made a list to remind yourself but ironically forgot to add those things to your list. Then your only option is to waste time and money looking for replacements in a nearby convenience store. This comprehensive checklist contains nearly everything you can pack, whether you need it or not. Under four categories: basics, miscellaneous, clothes, and hygiene, checking items off this list ensures you are fully equipped. It comes in a pack of 60 sheets so that you can use it for any trip. The Classic Checklist is available at ContainerStore.com for $6.99.
Keep your gadgets and accessories organized on the go
GRID-IT! Travel Organizers
Packing can be a stressful endeavor with trying to fit all of your belongings into a compact and easily accessible system. And after a lengthy flight or car ride, your items probably shifted, making locating most of your stuff another frustrating task. The organizer is a pad that is covered in a weave pattern of elastic bands, which allows the user to customize their belongings in any way they see fit. A bonus to this organizer is that everything stays in place under the straps, so that small electronics or other items are right where you left them. You will save time and stress knowing your belongings are organized and secure. The GRID-IT! Organizers are available in small, medium and large at ContainerStore.com. The small organizer is $14.99, medium for $19.99 and large for $24.99.
Preserve your vacation memories with a Sony digital camera
Sony Alpha NEX Digital Camera
As an international traveler, my main goal in any new location is to take photos to post on Facebook. I own a compact camera that takes decent quality photos and fits nicely in my pocket. However, I have seen more and more people with digital single-lens reflex cameras strapped around their necks, which is the clear mark of a tourist. Sony has developed a camera that combines the best qualities of these two cameras with the Alpha NEX Digital Camera. The compact size makes it easy to store and carry during your journey, while the detachable telephoto lens offers professional quality photos. You now can capture the best moments of your trip while avoiding the “tourist” label. The camera is available at national retailers and starts at $549 with cost dependent on the size of the camera’s lens.
Have juice wherever you roam with an international power adapter
Kensington International All-in-One Travel Plug Adapter
Many Americans tend to overlook the fact that the rest of world uses different types of electrical plugs. To avoid the embarrassment of trying to plug your charger into a European outlet, buy an adapter and/or power converter when you are overseas. But if you are not sure where you will go or want to be spontaneous, you will need a universal adapter containing multiple plugs. There are many out there, but the Kensington is easy to use and offers many options in one adapter. Plus, it converts power from the American 110 voltage to the European 220 voltage. In other words, you don’t have to worry about any short circuits or over-heating. The plug adapter is available on Amazon.com for $10.
Stay safe and secure online with plug in protection
SurfEasy Plug in Privacy USB Stick
In this day and age, easy access to the Internet is a must when traveling. From using Google Maps to navigate through a city to keeping in touch with loved ones via Skype, many feel out of touch when separated from Internet access for any length of time. Fortunately, you can find an internet café or hotspot almost anywhere in the world. The caveat is that many of these networks are public, meaning your personal information may be exposed to more people than you think. The solution is the SurfEasy Plug in Privacy USB stick. The device secures your information and browsing on any computer. The SurfEasy can bypass firewalls, encrypt your browsing, store your browsing information and prevent your personal information from leaking onto a computer. So now you can feel safe checking your email on any computer in the world. The SurfEasy is available on SurfEasty.com for $59.99.
Don’t speak the language? No problem!
Me No Speak Language Companion
Anyone who has spent time in another country has a story to tell about funny language blunders or misunderstandings. There are many apps and tools to translate for you, but Me No Speak books have created a simple solution for overcoming these language barriers. The books come in several languages, including French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Turkish. Within each are basic vocabulary and pictures that you can point to when you have no idea how to pronounce a particular word. The pictures help the locals understand and help you express what you need to know. These books are perfect for those who struggle learning a new language or are staying in a foreign land for a brief time. The books are available digitally on the Apple App Store for $3.99 or in print on MeNoSpeak.com for $11.95.
Hydrating and space saving foldable water bottle
Bübi Collapsable Bottle
From a recent travel experience, carrying a water bottle with you is important but can be a hassle with a cumbersome bottle. This water bottle is “BPA free, mold resistant, and heat and freezer resistant,” according to the product’s website. The water bottle is called the “world’s first scrunchable water bottle” and is made out of a “high grade silicone” that is great for any use. This is recommended when on the go and walking around a new city. You can store other materials in the bottle as well, from snacks to receipts. Plus, you can collapse the bottle when you are done using it, saving space in your bag. The water bottle is available in nine colors and can be purchased on BubiBottle.com for $29.99.