It’s time to pack your suitcase and prepare for a summer of fun on foreign shores with the help of APH.com’s guide to the best travel gadgets of 2014.
Check out our spring collection of essential kit here on APH.com.
GPS Pet Tracking
Research reveals Brits are barking mad when it comes to leaving their pets behind as they head off on their hols – with one in 10 taking a pic of their four-legged friend with them. However, pet fans can relax with a GPS tracker from Pawtrax.co.uk. Simply fit a lightweight collar to your pet and enjoy live tracking sent straight to your mobile phone or tablet wherever you are in the world. You can even set up zones, where automatic alerts are sent should your home-alone pet step beyond its limits – allowing you to alert your pet-sitter. Updates are sent via a sim card with a pay-as-you-go GiffGaff option costing around 5p for 1000 messages.
How much: From £125 (for a cat)
Find out more: Go animal trackers at www.pawtrax.co.uk/
It’s the suitcase that does the work for you. Yes, despite your flight departing from a gate that’s closer to your destination airport than the one you’re flying from, this scooter suitcase will have you speeding through the departure lounge and ready to board as the hordes are still dragging their bags past Gate 499. You might get a few strange looks, but you certainly won’t be getting blisters. A must-have baggage gadget for 2014. See the Luggage Scooter in action here…
How much: £249.95
Find out more: scooters.co.uk
Motor Bike Suitcase
We could be promoting a mods and rockers-type showdown in the departure lounge here. If the scooter case is a little underpowered for you, then why not choose to up the octane stakes with this Motor Bike Suitcase? It’s an electric-powered, all-terrain motorbike-like suitcase that packs more than your pants and socks. It’s fully functional and can be driven on all types of surfaces – either interior or exterior. Please observe local traffic regulations and always wear a crash helmet while riding your suitcase. See it in action here.
How much: £2,500
Find out more: www.Boxxcorp.com
Bluetrack GPS luggage trackers
Losing your luggage is never going to get your hols off to the best start, but having the ability to instantly locate your errant underwear etc will help ease the pain. This is where Bluetrack’s GPS tracker steps up to the plate. Simply pop the device – the world’s smallest unit, according to the manufacturer – into your luggage and track it in (almost) real-time pretty much anywhere in the world. It can be operated from your smartphone, too, so you can locate your bags direct from the empty luggage carousel at your destination airport. It’s one of the most user-friendly devices on the market with no fiddly set-up required. The battery can last up to 220 hours. Buy tracking packages of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months from as little as £35.
How much: From £125 for the tracker unit.
Find out more: www.bluetrackgpstrackers.co.uk
The Panono Panorama Camera ball
Forget cheap smartphone apps, if you’re serious about your holiday snaps, then the Panono camera ball is all you need. Simply toss the ball into the air, where clever tech will calculate the highest point where it’s barely moving before triggering its 36 internal cameras to produce a stunning 360-degree panorama. You can then preview it on your smartphone before sharing it on social media sites or embedding it on a blog page. Just look at this example taken below the Eifel Tower in Paris.
How much: Pre-order now for £450
Find out more: www.panono.com
Lumo Back Monitor
Poor posture on a long-haul flight can leave you seriously stiff and unable to enjoy the first few days of your trip – which is where the Lumo Back Monitor can help. Simply wear the belt beneath your clothes and it’ll buzz when you’re slouching. You can then sync it to your smartphone and get a full report on your posture, time spent sitting, steps taken, calories burned and even your sleep habits. All this can help improve your health and leave you better prepared to enjoy healthy holiday activities such as over eating and drinking more than you should.
How much: £178
Find out more: www.lumobodytech.com
Portable door alarm
Whether staying alone in a hotel room or wanting to ensure your kids don’t go walkabout while you sleep, this portable door alarm makes the perfect solution. Simply jam it under any door – and be alerted by an ear-splitting alarm should it be opened.
How much: £14.99
Find out more: Get more details here
June Sun Bracelet
An elegant bracelet that could also be a lifesaver for dedicated sunseekers. With the bracelet on your wrist, you can measure real-time sun intensity and monitor your daily exposure to the bright stuff. The accompanying phone app will then help tell you when to cover up and provide data to prevent skin damage, premature skin ageing and reduce the risk of related cancers. The app will give advice tailored to your sunbathing habits, skin type and tell you when to apply lotion, or put on a hat and sunglasses. June can be worn as a broach or bracelet. Use the website below to register for updates on a launch date.
How much: TBA
Find out more: www.netatmo.com
Mobile phone/gadget charge key
Never again suffer the crushing pain of opening your suitcase only to discover you’ve left your mobile phone charger at home. The flexible charge key has no cables and can be attached to your keyring – ensuring you never again have to suffer the humiliation of using a public payphone or internet café again. Keys are available for Apple and most other devices.
How much: from £22
Find out more: www.amazon.co.uk
Screw this tiny device onto just about any water bottle, plug it in to a USB outlet and you have your very own portable humidifier. Dry, flaky holiday skin will be banished forever. It can also be used to emit a fine mist of water to cool you off.
How much: £17
Find out more: www.satechi.net
Solar phone case charger
Smart travellers heading to sunny shores shouldn’t leave home without this must-have gadget. The EnerPlex Surfr smartphone is a battery pack case that can be topped up through its solar cells – keep your phone’s motor running whenever you need it. Available for iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phones.
How much: from £55
Find out more: www.enerplex.biz
NapAnywhere travel pillow
Moving on from the traditional do-nut-round-the-neck-style travel pillow, the NapAnywhere device is a portable head-support that’s designed specifically for use in planes, trains, buses and cars. Created by a doctor, it’s said to work in perfect harmony with the human anatomy.
How much: £35 approx
Find out more: www.napanywhere.net
Digital Camera Diving Mask
Forget spending hundreds on a cumbersome waterproof camera, this unique diving mask comes with a camera that can take 8 megapixel images and 30fps video footage. It is waterproof to a depth of 5m, has a battery that’s good for 2.5 hours use, with downloads through a USB connection. Supports Win XP/Vista/7/8 and Mac OS.
How much: £79.95
Find out more: www.wexphotographic.com
SpareOne Plus Emergency phone
A single AA battery powered, fully functioning emergency mobile phone with a 15 year shelf life and up to 10 hours of talk time. It comes with a 24-hour torch with a flashing SOS mode, panic siren, audible feedback, a one-touch emergency call button, customisable speed dial numbers, and a Location and Alert Services upgrade option. It also comes in a waterproof bag that floats. A must-have gadget for the more extreme traveller.
How much: £35 approx
Find out more: www.spareone.com
Then and now…
We’ve never had it so good with holiday-related gadgets, but how did the travel-savvy techno-head survive in the dim, distant past of the pre-digital world? Why not take a trip back in time with some of the top travel tech from days gone by….
The cassette tape
Yes, the chosen medium for holiday soundtracks before iTunes was even a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. Up to 90 minutes on each tape recorded in real-time from the radio.
How much: £3.59 for 10
Now you just need something to play your tapes on. Let us present the iPod’s grandpa – the Sony Walkman.
How much: £14.99
Buy now: www.ebay.co.uk
In the days before digital cameras, it was either wait three weeks to get your holiday snaps developed – only to realise you’d left the lens cap on – or buy a state-of-the-art Polaroid camera for instant photographic gratification.
How much: from £20
Buy now: www.ebay.co.uk
In a pre-digital world (and even before video tape) the technologically advanced holidaymaker was creating a moving record of worldly travel using Super 8 Cine cameras. The camera’s equivalent to a modern-day hard drive was a cassette of film that allowed continuous filming for the grand total of 3 minutes 20 seconds. Buying such a film cassette now costs around £20.
How much: from £10
Buy one now: www.ebay.co.uk