Here we look at new, old and evergreen holiday gadgets that you shouldn’t be leaving home without. It’s the latest travel gadgets and apps for 2015
AMPL Lab SmartBag
Anyone who’s ever experienced the terror of a smartphone or tablet dying mid-journey will appreciate the brilliance of this SmartBag. Why smart? Because it simultaneously charges up to six phones, tablets, laptops or just about any device you can throw at it. The accompanying app will keep you up to date with real-time info on how much electrical juice the bag is packing, while also allowing you to adjust charging priorities to the connected devices. There’s also a function to help you locate the bag should it go for a wander. It’s available later this year and has already bagged the CES International 2015 Portable Power Award and a CES International 2015 Computer Accessories Award.
Verdict: Running out of power will become a thing of the past with this intelligent bag. The tracking capability is also a bonus considering the amount of expensive kit it’s likely to be packing.
How much: Reserve yours for £167 (approx.) Shipping starts later this year
See more: Find out more information here
Plastc Card… all your cards in one
From debit to credit and currency, there’s a whole raft of cards you need to take on holiday – making it terrifyingly easy to forget a vital piece of plastic. That’s where the upcoming Plastc Card hopes to change things by combining all your credit cards, loyalty cards or just-about-any cards into one secure piece of plastic. A touchscreen on the card lets your scroll through up to 20 that are stored and choose which one you want to use for each payment. You then use it like any regular card. It comes with a secure card PIN of your choice, photo ID and proximity alerts if you or it wanders away. With the Plastc Wallet companion app, you can quickly swap out old cards, add new ones, and track your spending. You can even monitor account balances directly from your Plastc Card. If you do lose the card, you can remotely wipe all the data via the smartphone app. The Plastc Card has a rechargeable battery that lasts for around 30 days.
Verdict: Never again forget that vital card as you head on your hols. Cancelling lost cards won’t be anywhere near as daunting or time-consuming, either.
How much: £100 to buy the Plastc Card
See more here: Watch how the card works here
Sandless Beach Mat
No one likes sand in their pants, so this Sandless Beach mat could be just the thing to ensure your trip to the beach doesn’t end up chafing the parts that really shouldn’t be chafed. Made from material designed by the US military to contain dust kicked up by helicopters, the mat has a one-way filter allowing sand to fall through it, but not come up from below. It also eliminates water from its surface, so basking in the sun after a quick dip will be a decidedly less soggy experience. Great for beaches, glamping or outdoor festivals.
Verdict: Anything to help cut the amount of sand entering our swimwear gets the thumbs up from us.
How much: £40.00 plus shipping
Whether you’re planning a spot of international glamping, or simply can’t operate without a shot of espresso surging through your veins, the Minipresso is perfect for tent, hotel, self-catering appartment or just about anywhere you chose to holiday. At just 6.95 inches tall, weighing 0.8lbs and with an integrated cup, it won’t be hogging space in your case, either. With the help of a semi-automatic piston, small quantities of water are injected into the coffee adaptor, after which a rich espresso is extracted into the self-contained cup. Operation doesn’t require compressed air, N20 cartridges or electricity; its hand-powered operation means you’ll never be more than a few pumps away from a shot of your favourite treacle.
Verdict: A great gadget that’ll certainly be worth taking on camping trips or hiking holidays.
How much: £26.00 approx. plus shipping
See more here: Watch the Minispresso in operation here.
Trackdot luggage locator
We’ve featured this before, but if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to keep tabs on your luggage then the Trackdot device is hard to beat. Arriving at your destination airport only to find your luggage had different travel plans can be a tad frustrating… but not a complete disaster if you’ve packed the Trackdot. The battery operated device will switch itself off during flight time – an internal accelerator shuts it down at speeds of more than 100mph – then contact you via sms or email to let you know where it – and the rest of your luggage – has landed. It’s light, small and easy to pack, but you will need to pay a yearly subscription of around £15 after the first 12 months.
Verdict: One of the best budget options for tracking your luggage.
How much: £79.99 (£15 annual subscription after first year)
See more: Have a closer look at how the Trackdot operates.
Bluesmart Carry-on… smart luggage
If you’re after a suitcase that does more than simply carry your clothes, this Bluesmart offering could prove to be the ultimate accessory. There’s a proximity checker to warn if it goes walkies at the airport, while a location tracker will inform you where your smalls have decided to holiday if you’re left staring at an empty luggage belt. There are no comedy padlocks involved either, the secure lock can be controlled by your smartphone – and automatically clamps shut if you, or the bag part company. Its features don’t end there, either; the case also packs an integrated battery capable of charging your tablet or phone six times over. The Bluesmart also has an in-house set of scales to tell you how much it weighs simply by picking it off the ground – with the weight displayed on the accompanying smartphone app. Finally, the suitcase also delivers real-time reports with trends and data from your trips, including miles travelled, airports visited, time spent in each country, and more through the Bluesmart app.
Verdict: If you want a suitcase that really works hard for you, there can’t be a better solution than this. From security to charging and beating excess weight charges, it has it covered. Pre-order now and expect it to ship in August.
How much: £200 (approx.)
ChargerLeash – minder for your chargers
Be honest, how many smartphone/tablet chargers have you left in hotel rooms or apartments when on holiday? Make this infuriating inevitability a thing of the past by grabbing yourself a ChargerLeash charger alarm. The gadget consists of a line of cables that sound an alarm when you disconnect your device, but carelessly neglect to unplug (and pack) the charger itself.
Verdict: Most of us leave devices charging right up to the last nanosecond before heading to the airport, so this device could easily prove an invaluable purchase. It’s available for all popular devices
How much: From £10.00
See it in action: Have a look at how the ChargerLeash works on this video.
Shelfpack… the wardrobe in a suitcase
Perfect for business travellers who are in an out of hotel rooms on a daily basis. No need to unpack, simply extend the shelves of pre-packed clothes directly from your suitcase. Save time and ensure your threads are always crease-free and ready to impress with this innovative luggage system.
Verdict: Packing and unpacking clothes can be
a tedious chore and just another opportunity to leave your favourite tie hanging in the wardrobe as your dash to the airport. This could be the case you’ve been looking for.
How much: £235 (approx)
iPassport …don’t lose your identity
Don’t fall victim to identity theft, simply protect your passport and personal data with this multi-function wallet that’s available from May. The biometric locking device is a carbonfibre holder that can only be opened by the owner’s fingerprint. It also offers RF shielding – which can prevent unauthorised third-party devices reading personal information from the chip on your passport or credit cards. The iPassport also connects to your phone through Bluetooth and sounds an alarm when the two devices become separated by more than a few feet – alerting you to theft or carelessness. Other such wallets are available for credit cards and cash. Look out for UK sales soon.
Verdict: Modern tech is offering new opportunities for thieves to not just steal goods, but data, too. The iPassport is quite pricey, but not as expensive as the potential fallout from identity theft.
How much: TBA
Where: Find your local distributer here iwalletusa.com
SuperStar™ BackFloat™ Wireless Floating Speaker / Speakerphone
There are plenty of Bluetooth speakers on the market, but how many can join you in the pool? The Monster SuperStar BackFloat can. It’s waterproof, floats on water and can keep the pool party going for more than five hours on a single charge. It also has a built-in speaker allowing you to take or make a call from the pool.
Verdict: A good way to keep your music playing and not having to disturb other guests by blasting it from the poolside. Dads will also benefit from the added bonus of keeping their dubious dance moves hidden below the waterline.
How much: £100 (approx) plus shipping
Olloclip Photo Lenses for iPhone 6
Ramp up your phone photography with the all-new Olloclip lens system that’s been redesigned for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with four advanced-optics lenses. Simply clip the lens system to the camera body and you’ll be amazed by the upgrade in photo quality and field of vision. It works on both front and rear facing cameras and is compatible with both still and video photography. Lenses included for wide-angle, fish-eye and two macro settings.
Verdict: If you’re serious about your holiday snaps then Olloclip is the one-stop shop for all iPhoneographers. We swear by ours – even if they do need to be renewed with each iPhone upgrade.
How much: £69.99
See it in action: Olloclip wide-angle lens
We’ve got a confession to make, this is actually the iPhone 4 Olloclip lens adapted for the iPhone 5… We used it to timelapse the recent solar eclipse over the APH car park. The black borders would not be visible if we’d used the correct lens for the phone, but it’s a good example of how the lens improves the iPhone’s limited field of vision.
goTenna… mobile communications without the bills
This gadget lets you communicate without the need for mobile cells, Wi-Fi or satellites. Pair your device with your goTenna and it’ll turn your phone into a walkie-talkie-like device that communicates with other goTenna users for free. Use the free app to type out a text message or share a location with a specific person, group, or even broadcast to anyone within range. Talking or which, the range covered by goTenna will vary from 0.5 miles in built-up city streets to several miles in beach or forest locations.
Verdict: If you’re looking for encrypted communication in areas not covered by phone cells, then goTenna could be the answer for you. A great safety back-up for anyone hiking in mountains or forests – or looking after kids on the beach etc.
How much: £100 (approx.)
See more here: Watch a video on how goTenna works.
Satechi Selfie Button
No more strained looks as your stretch your hand in front of your face for that all-important holiday selfie. Simply pair this button with your phone and press it to remotely trigger the ultimate selfie. Buttons also on offer for controlling music and accessing Siri and Google Now.
Verdict: If you want to look a little more relaxed in your selfies, this is the device for you.
How much: From around £15.00