Tech for Travel: Power Up!

[dropcap2]F[/dropcap2]or me, tech and travel are all about two things: power and connectivity.  Comfort is a a very close second.  I have built my life around being able to access nearly everything through an internet browser, so if I can’t get online, it is a problem.

When you’re a gadget girl like myself, the one thing you find scarce when you’re traveling is power. It’s hard to find a free outlet to charge your *insert gadget here* in the terminal, and when you’re in the air, it is even more difficult to find power way up there.  So, here are my favorite gadgets to keep you powered up and connected whenever you venture out of your nest:

For the Flight

    1. xScale Pro
      The bane of every traveler’s existence is the baggage weight limit.  Airlines are getting stricter by the pound and the restrictions don’t seem to be letting up any time soon.  This travel scale is one of my favorite travel gadgets.  It is incredibly portable and is so easy to use.  All you have to do is put the hanger around your luggage handle and lift your bag slightly off the ground, just enough for gravity to do its job.  Now you’ll always know if all the shopping you did while on vacation will cost you an extra fee at the airport.
    2. Mophie Power Duo
      The Mophie is power for the plane.  It is rare to find seat power, even if you do have a power inverter (aka the thing you plug into your cigarette lighter for power), because planes rarely have outlets in every row. And you can forget about finding power at all in older planes.  So, for a long flight, you’ll want to bring your own, otherwise, how are you going to play Angry Birds for the entire flight?  The Mophie can power up to two devices (read: your iPhone and iPad).  Not to fear non-iDevice users, it handles any USB-charged device, so your Android or Kindle are fair game too.  Just charge the Mophie from an outlet at home before you leave and toss it in your carry-on for the long flight.
    3. Noise Canceling Headphones – Beats by Dre
      When you’re stuck up in the air, comfort becomes important.  A good set of noise canceling headphones is essential to comfort on a plane.  If you travel a lot, they are well worth the investment.  You can use them to listen to the in-flight movie or your own device, (music, movies, computer sound, etc).  I have often used them unplugged with the noise cancellation turned  on  so that I can sleep without the deep rumble of the engines keeping me up.  This set has the added benefit of being able to fold up for compact storage to maximize the precious real estate of your carry-on.

For When You Land

  1. Travel Wireless LAN
    Being an internet junkie, I have found this little device to be invaluable when I travel.  What is a wireless LAN you ask?  It’s that device that broadcasts your WiFi.  Wireless connectivity fees in hotels can rack up very quickly, but more often than not, most decent hotel rooms have a wired ethernet connection available for no cost.  Just connect that wire to this device, plug it in, and you can broadcast your own wireless signal.  You’ll have a password-protected network and can connect all your WiFi devices.  It also has a few advanced features for nerdy people, like me.  It can be a repeater, so that if you’re in a back guest room that doesn’t get internet, it can act as an additional router that amplifies the signal so that you’re no longer in the internet dark.
  2. Belkin Mini Surge Protector
    This thing is priceless.  Remember when I mentioned how difficult it is to find a power outlet?  Well, when you find said outlet, it is often otherwise occupied by another harried traveller seeking power.  Now, you can share.  Most people are willing to share the outlet as long as both of you can use it at the same time.  The Belkin has three power outlets and two USB-powered slots so you can conceivably charge five devices using one power outlet.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have used this at an airport, sitting with another passenger on the floor next to the one outlet in the terminal.  I’ve even used it at a busy Starbucks where the office-less refugees have congregated around the one source of power in order to work.
  3. Jawbone Jambox
    Being away from home, I always want to make my new surroundings as comfortable as possible.  These speakers by JawBone are not only gorgeous, (the rubber coating is divine to touch), but are also very rugged and portable.  They are completely wireless, so you can broadcast sound in your hotel room or your sister’s guest bedroom from any bluetooth device.  As a bonus, because it utilizes bluetooth technology, it also doubles as a fantastic speaker phone.