We’re getting a little bit excited around here, with Ben and I off to the amazing ProBlogger event at the Gold Coast in a couple of weeks’ time. This will be our first time attending, but by all reports these events hosted by Darren Rowse are well worth the ticket.
The tickets are booked, clothes are in the suitcase and we’re humming the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (actually we’ll be driving, but you know). But what about the gadgets, widgets, and other technology to make life a little easier whilst in transit? We asked some tech-savvy business travellers what their top travel tech tips:
Active noise cancelling headphones
John Downs from John Downs Photography swears by noise cancelling headphones.
They reduce the engine noise on a plane so you can listen to music or movies without turning it up so loud it damages your hearing.
If you really are ‘leaving on a jetplane’, noise-cancelling headphones are a must for many travellers to reduce the ambient noise associated with plane travel (engine noise, small tired children…) .
On the more expensive end of the price range, Ben owns (and is really happy with) some larger over-ear Sennheiser battery powered headphones, but there are less pricey models available. In fact he also owns a super cheap pair of in-ear passive noise-cancelling headphones which are almost just as effective, and far easier to carry around.
USB power packs
I’m sure we all know how it feels to be out and about, using your phone all day and wondering whether you’ll make it back to a power point and charger before the depleted battery completely dies. Enter the portable USB power pack, which enables you to charge on the go. While it may not give your phone or tablet a full charge, it will enable you to get a few more hours of life out of your vital devices. From about $30, you can pick up one of these babies so it’s a pretty cheap insurance policy to avoid a flat phone battery. Check out Gizmodo's Best Portable Powerpack reviews and Techrader's Best Portable Chargers to research which features you might need.
Handy travel apps
Toby Cumpstay from Simple for Strings won’t leave home without his two favourite mobile apps, TripIt and FlightTrack.
I can’t live without TripIt and Flight Track. Great apps for keeping my travel plans and flights all sorted. Flight Track told me my flight had been cancelled before the airport announce it in Chicago. I was able to get on the next flight without lining up!
There is practically an app for every scenario these days, but there are loads to make aspects of travel easier. Here are our favourites:
- TripIt – keeps track of all your travel details, syncs it with your calendar and shares with those who need to know. Just email through your itinerary and it will automatically enter all the details!
- Flight Track - stay informed of your air travel details 24/7 with notifications on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch or keep track of the flight status of your friends and family.
- Google Translate, including WordLens – overcome the language barrier with the help of this app, which can translate text and interpret voice across various languages. Take a photo of a local sign with your phone and it will be translated into your native language!
- Viber - allows you to make phone calls and send text messages to all other Viber users for free* over WiFi or 3G. *If used over 3G, you may be charged by your telephone provider.
- Facetime or Skype – when you have to be away from home, it’s good to stay connected through video calls.
- LocalEats – find out where the locals eat and get a great meal, whichever city you’re in, with this handy app.
Okay, I may be a little biased with this one because I am not-so-secretly in love my Kindle Paperwhite, but an e-book reader is a definite inclusion in the carry-on for this traveller. Without having to lug a whole library of books onboard, the e-book reader enables me to travel lightly and still have a literary smorgasboard at my fingertips. Kindle reader app on the iPad is a great option if you don’t want to take multiple devices, but after a long day of conferencing or travelling (or both), the front light on the Kindle screen is far more gentle on the eyes then backlit screens and quite nice to curl up with a ‘book’ without having all those other apps and social media distractions quite so handy.
Joe from Yellow Bucket Marketing LOVES travel gizmos and gadgets.
I don't travel enough to warrant all the things I want to use so here's a list of products and services I use plus my wish list:
Things I've Used and LOVE
- Air B'n'B, need some last minute accommodation. I love Air B'n'B, the prices are usually really good and because it's part of the 'sharing economy' there are usually really helpful reviews.
- Uber - don't want the hassle of hiring a car, a quick search on Uber Estimate shows that a trip from the airport to the event will cost between $48 and $65
- PassBook or PassWallet for all your mobile ticket management
- iPad to HDMI adaptor. If you've got any meetings or presentations while you're on the Gold Coast an iPad to HDMI adaptor can be invaluable. This gives you the ability to travel really lightly if you're proficient at getting work done on your iPad.
Cool Gear I'd LOVE To Use
- Scottevest - There's a bunch of different ones but the Q.U.E.S.T is awesomely nerdy. It has 42 pockets that use no bulge technology so that it doesn't look like you're carrying all your worldly possessions, it has heaps of other cool features too. It's a US brand but you can pick one up from ThinkGeek.
- Tom Bihn Travel Tray - I love this thing, it's like a key bowl for travel. Keep all your odds and ends in it like keys, sunglasses, chargers, loose change, etc. It acts as a bowl that you can easily put all of this stuff in then when you're ready to leave you can unroll the top and it turns into a duffle bag. Very cool.
General technology must-haves
Raylee Huggett from Gorgeous Curves Diary offers some sage advice.
“I always take these two items – an international power adaptor and a 4 or 6 plug power board to plug into it so I can charge my phone, Camera, laptop/ipad each night”
**Editor's note** This tip could be great to make friends at events like problogger. In my experience, any available powerpoint gets pretty crowded during the break and there's often a queue to get to a precious powerpoint. You save the day for 3-5 people with the powerboard alone! Who doesn't love being a hero?
One small piece of tech that goes everywhere with me these days is my small 4G Wifi Hotspot. This magic device charges from any USB cable and will share a 4G internet connection wirelessly with up to 5 devices. This saves me using the expensive data allowance on my phone plan, and also lets me connect all of my devices to the internet with a single prepaid device.
Way back when I was a backpacker in my twenties, internet cafes were thriving, travelling with a mobile phone was rare and it was far easier to get lost in the world. These days, when we are much more used to gathering information online, an uncharged smartphone can mean disaster. With the help of so many handy tools, we can work on the go, keep those devices charged and stay connected, wherever we are in the world.
Are you heading to ProBlogger? If so, we look forward to meeting you there!