“It’s a digital age”, we’ve all heard that saying, right? Many of us are plugged in, perhaps too much, and it’s become a major part of our lives. Vacations are certainly a time to unplug and get away, but there are some technology gadgets that can be embraced and brought along to add some enjoyment to your adventure. With some basic time management, technology can help improve your vacation experience, and not be a drain on your vacation relaxation time.
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Here are some of our favorite travel tech gadgets to bring along on trips.
I’m a big fan of vacation photos, from candids, landscapes, and portraits, capturing your vacation memories to look back on later, should be an important consideration when packing. You’re left with some decisions when choosing what you want to take, and when traveling, portability should be considered. I own a Canon DSLR, and while I use it for work travel, when I’m on a family vacation I don’t want to lug it around with me. But now, smartphone cameras have come so far that you can have a great camera at your fingertips that easily fits in your pocket or bag. If you’re looking for a top notch camera phone for vacations, consider these:
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active: a rugged design that is built for adventure, the S6 active is dustproof, shock- and water-resistant, plus it has an IP68 rating and certified to meet a series of demanding military standard specifications. This strong design is complemented with new and enhanced cameras, the 16MP rear-facing camera with Auto HDR captures amazing pictures in almost any light and launches faster with a double-tap of the home button, and the 5MP front-facing camera features a wide-angle lens that is perfect for taking selfies. It’s currently available at AT&T with some great bonuses (July 2015) like 50GB of FREE cloud storage with AT&T Locker and a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0. You can also buy it at Best Buy or on Amazon with contract or unlocked.
LG G4: this phone has one of the best cameras I’ve ever tried – even doing front camera videos are amazing. The LG G4 features two robust cameras – the 8MP front-facing for epic selfies with Gesture Shot (use your hand to program a shutter timer) plus a front screen glow to help illuminate your face, followed by the 16MP rear-facing camera for bright images with the f/1.8 low-light lens and color spectrum sensor. The 5.5” IPS Quantum display reproduces amazing color representation and accuracy, so you might feel like you have a professional camera in your pocket. Available from Sprint with a free leather back cover, extra battery and battery charging cradle in July, or from AT&T, Best Buy, and Amazon on contract or unlocked.
iPhone 6: while this is my primary phone, the two cameras above have a bit more to offer than the iPhone camera. However, if you’re an iOS fan, you certainly can depend on the iPhone 6 for capturing some great shots during your travels.
Waterproof: if you’re heading to the beach, or any water parks, you’ll want to consider a waterproof cameras if you’d like to capture photos in those places. While I’ve listed the waterproof cameras we used for our cruise, I’m now in love with Lifeproof cases, which can turn your iPhone or Galaxy into a waterproof camera. Plus, then you can share those great beach shots with friends and family too! Check them out at Amazon or AT&T.
If you need to get some work done during your trip, or if you want to treat your kids to a little online fun, consider bringing a mobile hotspot along with you. I have the AT&T Unite and can then just load on prepaid data before our trip. Use your travel time in the car to get some final work caught up so you can enjoy your relaxing vacation. Or consider letting your kids watch their favorite youtube channels, stream a movie, or play a favorite pandora station. These also work great if you’re going camping!
With so many devices, you’re going to want to be ready to recharge. You have a few options:
USB wall chargers: plug in to a wall outlet and stop everyone from fighting over those rare and elusive hotel room plug outlets.
USB car chargers: great for road trips so you can keep your devices charged and even more than one at a time.
Case battery packs: extend your phone battery life by using a case that has a built in charger. I have the FRE LifeProof charging case for my iPhone 6, so that gives me a waterproof camera and a battery pack all in one!
Portable battery packs: these are awesome and allow you to carry a little extra charge along with you; works best if you’ll be carrying a day bag or purse.
These can be used in so many situations! What about bringing some music along with you to the pool when you lounge, or maybe the whole family would like to listen to an audio book during a road trip, or perhaps you need to calm a fussy baby with lullabies at bedtime. We’ve got a JBL micro wireless speaker that is very easy to bring along and works great during our travels.
The trick with headphones for travel is portability and sound quality. Sure, there are some great sounding premium headphones that fit around your ears, but then you’ve got to pack them! It’s great to find some that are portable, and even better wireless, so you’re not dealing with cord tangles when packed or when you’re wearing them on a plane. Ever tried to get up when your seat neighbor needs to go to the bathroom and forget you’re attached to your device? I have the LG Tone Pro headphones and they’ve got some noise cancellation and a very portable design (grab them at AT&T or Amazon). I also have the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones (find them at AT&T or Amazon) which are again very portable, and they’re great for active lifestyles as they are sweat-proof and the carrying case also works as an armband for your phone during workouts.
Smartphones and Tablets
I already mentioned some of the top smartphones above in the camera section. Traveling with a smartphone is a great way to use technology during travel. You’ll be able to download some great apps to help you along the way, whether you need traffic apps, dining recommendations, road trip stops, language or currency conversion, there’s an app for it that will make your travels smoother. You can also enjoy watching movies, reading a good book, and sharing your trip with friends on social media via your tablet or smartphone. Don’t forget, sometimes your wireless carrier (like AT&T) will have promotions for free tablets with new phone service contracts.
All of these items should be pretty easy to pack along, and they’ll help you enjoy your vacation with a little technology on the side.
Did I miss any? Comment below and tell me your favorite travel tech gadgets!