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5 Must-Have Gadgets for Every Traveler’s Go-Bag

4 minute read

One reason smartphones are great is because with all the tools that their apps pack, the handheld devices have whittled down the gear you have to lug around on adventures. So now — instead of courier bags, carry-on luggage, and backpacks — the “go-bag” is the only carryall you need.

Loaded with items to keep your life powered up, connected, and protected, this action-packed adventure sack is just big enough to hold what you need and so small that it won’t slow you down. Is your go-bag running on empty? Here are five, great, tiny gadgets to keep it charged up and ready for anything:

Bose QuietComfort 20i Headphones

Whether you’re cruising at 30,000 feet or zipping around in a subway under the city, you’ll likely want to blast a soundtrack for your travels. These in-ear headphones not only pour sweet sounds into your earholes, but they also boast noise-canceling technology to keep the outside world from invading your headspace.

Positioning microphones both inside the ear and out into the surroundings, these earbuds collect noise data which is processed and used to send an “opposite signal” to your aural canal. Or, at the push of a button, you can turn this off and get the sound piped in — so you don’t miss that boarding call or subway stop. At $299, these can be pricey for a pair of earbuds, but seasoned travelers swear by them and audiophiles give them high marks, too.

Garmin HUD+

Slow down, Doc Brown — where you’re going, there are definitely going to be roads. This $179 heads-up display pairs with iPhones and Android handsets to beam turn-by-turn directions from Garmin and Navigon apps. A great device for popping onto the dashboard of a rental car, the HUD+ projects the apps’ directions onto the windshield in front of you — so you don’t have to precariously balance your smartphone on the dash, in the instrument panel, or on your lap while driving unfamiliar roads in the dark. Easy to read, the display even tells you the speed limit, your expected time of arrival, and what lane you should be in before making the next turn. It’s a pretty bright idea for a dim little projector.

Karma 4G Mobile Hotspot

When getting online is on-par with going outside, the only answer is a solid mobile Internet hotspot. Karma’s upcoming new 4G device is smaller than a wallet but pulls down as much as 25 megabits per second, allowing up to eight laptops, tablets, and even iPod Touches to connect to the web simultaneously.

Running on pre-paid data ($14 per gigabyte), the $149 battery-powered connectivity accessory is great for keeping a car-load of kids connecting to the web while on a road trip, so they keep their hands to themselves and their Instagrams shared with friends. #thanksdad

Olympus Tough Cameras

Underwater, on a zip-line, in an open-air cockpit: these are all places that you’d love to take unforgettable photos and video footage, but settings where you should never, ever take your smartphone. Instead — for these and other dangerous-to-tech circumstances — Olympus has a pair of great point-and-shoot cameras that should be in your arsenal.

The $349 Olympus TG-3 is their top-of-the-line offering, with a eye-popping 16 mega-pixel image sensor, Wi-Fi-control capabilities (if you must use your phone for something), waterproofing to 50 feet, and freeze-proofing to 14 degrees Fahrenheit—making it great for both hiking and ski trails. Meanwhile, the $199 Olympus TG-850 will only survive dives up to 33 feet, but has the same image sensor and offers a flip-around rear touchscreen, ideal for mastering underwater scuba selfies.

Travel Card Charger:

Portable batteries can be life savers when your battery is about to bite the dust. But otherwise, they’re just dead weight, taking up space, getting in the way, and, oh yeah, draining ever-so-slowly as they sit around unused. While nothing can be done about the latter, Travel Card takes care of the former with super-slim dimensions that let it easily slip into a pocket or even a wallet.

Its 1500 milliamp hour portable battery won’t quite fill an iPhone 6 to capacity, but with an Apple-certified lightning cable integrated into the unit, at least you won’t have to chase around looking for a power cord. And the versatile $39 battery pack also comes in a micro-USB variety, in case you need to juice your Android device instead.

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