Pack smart and travel happy with my picks for the best travel tech out there this season
I’m still a little out of practice with travelling these days, and after attending a recent tech expo, it turns out that my travel gadgets are somewhat out of date too. Sales season is on the horizon (as are the holidays!) and now that travel seems to be permanently back on the menu again, may I suggest it’s time for a refresh—whether it's a gift for your friends, family or yourself.
1. Comfy ear bud alertBest Buy
I’d always been under the impression that ear buds were just... kinda uncomfortable. I’m cursed with dainty little ears that always get sore after even a short amount of time wearing them. Enter Jabra, who has a long history of making hearing aids (exactly the folks with the experience you want in your ears) and who use cool tech like bone conduction to transmit your voice via jawbone vibrations to cancel out wind noise for super-clear comms! Best of all, the ear gels come in three sizes, and the smallest is a Cinderella-like perfect fit for me.
2. Don’t skip this smart jump ropeBest Buy
This is very cool. Best Buy has a mentorship program that works with Black and Indigenous tech entrepreneurs to bring their products to market, and Harriet Obinyan, founder of Yu-mn, is its first participant with her smart jump rope. I like how this taps into our modern mentality of ‘if I didn’t log it, it didn’t count’ when it comes to fitness. Download the app and connect to the rope to track your stats and monitor your progress. Perfect for travel, this packs down to almost nothing and I was shocked by how good a workout you can get from just skipping in your hotel room. This is the stocking stuffer of the season.
3. Vlogger alert!Best Buy
Feel the need to up your content creation game—and got cash to splash? Look no further than Sony’s Cyber-shot ZV series of vlogger cameras with impressive low-light auto-focus, excellent face- and eye-detection capability (so the camera automatically focusses on the people in your shots), and—best of all—a product showcase mode which snaps to whatever you’re displaying, so no more weird blurry moments. This one is easy to use straight out the box, but with plenty of advanced features if you want to dig in.
4. Portable good vibesBest Buy
I love my somewhat aging Bluetooth speaker, but this waterproof blaster from Bose makes me wanna throw it in a lake (whereupon, unlike the Bose speaker which will float, it would immediately sink and die). This is amazing: 12-hour battery, dust- and water-resistant, plus small enough to fit comfortably in your carry-on to bring the party wherever you go.
5. Live life in (Fitbit) colourBest Buy
Oooh, you guys! They updated Fitbit’s entry-level Inspire with a cool coloured screen, a long-life 10-day battery, and—best of all—it has a Find My Phone alarm. Freaking fantastic. I’m a huge Fitbit fan; I know I need to move more, and I really respond well to my Fitbit’s prompts to do so. I’m slightly obsessed with all the features that the premium subscription offers—from sleep scores to the wellness reports. I know this kind of constant tracking doesn’t suit everyone, but if you’re trying to make healthier decisions and incorporate more movement into your life, this is such an easy way to help you do achieve those goals.
6. Magic noise-cancelling headphonesBest Buy
Noise-cancelling headphones have been quietly upping their game since I last dabbled with them, and these from Sony are the absolute business. Slip 'em on and, wow—instantly calming silence, plus butter-soft leather, crystal-clear sound, and impressive adaptive sound control (no need to scrabble for your phone to stop playing that podcast when you’re in a café, just speak and sound automatically cuts off—and re-starts. Magic!) Add to that no plastic in the packaging and the use of recycled plastic in the headphones. More of this, please.
7. Wearable air purifier
AmazonI’ll say it: I think removing the mask mandate on planes was crazy. It’s zero effort or stress to wear a mask and it protects those around you, especially if they are immunocompromised. If you’re travelling and concerned, it could be worth adding an extra layer of protection with a personal air purifier. I’ve dug into endless reviews and reports on these and confusingly, the jury seems to be out on whether they help or not. I tried out a wearable ionizer and all I can say is that usually if I walk through the perfume department of a store, my skin flushes red and I start coughing, but that didn’t happen when I wore this device around my neck. It may be hogwash but I’m kinda buying into it.