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June 14, 2018

10 travel gear to make the most of your summer jaunts

by John_A

With the school year coming to an end and summer ramping up, you and millions of others are probably gearing up for travel. While you’re supposed to disconnect on vacations, we know geeks can’t leave the tech at home. Whether you’re traveling by air, train, bus, or car, here are a few of our must-pack gadgets to bring along.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera ($1,700)

There is a perception that all-in-one cameras are no match for interchangeable lens cameras. That might be true of smartphones and compact point-and-shoots, but the RX10 IV isn’t your ordinary all-in-one. Sony took the best of qualities of high-end cameras — fast performance, high-quality photos, adjustable settings galore, 4K video, exceptional lens — and put them inside a small DSLR-like body that provides a nice grip. It’s ideal for travelers who want to shoot all sorts of great=looking photos and videos — from wide landscapes to close-ups of birds or nighttime skies — but don’t want to deal with swapping lenses. Although the RX10 IV uses a smaller sensor than most DSLR or mirrorless cameras, the 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel “stacked” sensor is one of Sony’s best. It’s coupled with the latest Bionz X image processor. If the RX10 IV is too big for your liking, consider the compact Sony RX100 VI, which goes on sale in July 2018.

Buy it now from:

Amazon B&H

Casper Nap Pillow ($35)

Wish you could sleep on a real pillow instead of those uncomfortable blow-up things? Then bring along Casper’s Nap Pillow on your next road trip or long-haul flight. Made with a 280-thread-count cotton exterior and fine, breathable microfiber interior — a similar construction to Casper’s standard pillows — the Nap Pillow is compact enough to squeeze into a bag, yet large enough to provide good sleep support for your head, or cushioning between a laptop and your lap. It even comes with a pillowcase and carrying bag.

Buy it now from:

Casper

Kobo Aura One eReader ($230)

Summer vacations are the best times to finally catch up on those tomes you’ve been meaning to read, and the best way to do that is to load all your books into an ebook reader. The Kobo Aura One remains our favorite. It’s waterproof, so you can take it to the beach, by the pool, or even in a bathtub. This Digital Trends Editors’ Choice product has a large, crisp screen and long battery life, giving us one of the most pleasurable reading experiences we’ve had from an ebook reader. And unlike Amazon’s Kindle (which we also love), the Aura One supports a wide variety of ebook formats, giving you more options in terms of where you purchase ebooks. Read our full review.

Buy it now from:

Rakuten Kobo

Ultimate Ears Roll 2 Bluetooth speaker ($100)

The Ultimate Ears Roll 2 has a lot going for it. We like its compact size for easy packing, yet it can still pump out very good sound quality. As the photo above suggests, the Roll 2 is also waterproof — it can be submerged into 3 feet of water for 30 minutes — and is made with durable material. Best yet, it’s one of the more affordable portable Bluetooth speakers you can buy that also sounds good. For more Bluetooth speakers, check out our other favorites.

Buy it now from:

Best Buy

Sony WH-1000xM2 wireless noise-canceling headphones ($350)

Airplane cabin noise is not only distracting when you’re trying to watch a movie, listen to tunes, or catch some sleep, but researchers found it can also affect your appetite. Noise-canceling headphones can help counter the effects of engine noise, making the flight more pleasant. The Sony WH-1000xM2 is a terrific — it’s a Digital Trends Editors’ Choice — noise-canceling pair of headphones that are comfortable to wear (great for long-haul flights), easy to stash, and deliver clear sound. It has a long battery life to keep those beautiful-sounding tunes going, and the superb noise canceling can be turned off when not needed. While the WH-1000xM2 is our current top choice, we have other favorites too; check out our full list of the best noise-canceling headphones. Read our full review.

Buy them now from:

Amazon Best Buy B&H

Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro portable multifunction device ($80)

When you’re hiking or on a bike ride, you don’t want cumbersome tech to slow you down. The Buckshot Pro is a multitasking device that’s a flashlight, portable Bluetooth speaker, and backup battery that lets you recharge your smartphone or GoPro camera. The unit is very rugged (shock and water resistant), and comes with a mount for attaching it to your bike’s handlebar. In case of an emergency, the flashlight can function as a distress call signal. Read more here.

Buy it now from:

Amazon REI Backcountry

Bestek Travel Converter ($40)

Going abroad? You’ll most likely need an adapter — but not just any adapter. This one from Bestek also handles voltage conversion, which helps ensure you don’t fry any electronics you plug into a foreign outlet. What we also like are the three standard outlets and four USB ports for charging mobile devices and cameras. This helps you cut down on the number of power adapters you need to bring along, and make more room in your bag for souvenirs.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

GoPro Hero (2018 model, $200)

GoPro’s new entry-level Hero is an affordable way to record your vacation moments. It’s easy to use, thanks to the touchscreen, and it can record up to Full HD 1080 at 60p at 16:9 ratio. It also inherits the waterproof body design shared with the higher-end Hero5 and Hero6. For travel, the camera is compact and easy to carry, but we think a great feature is Quik Stories. Using the GoPro and Quik apps on your smartphone, you can quickly create short movies from the clips you shoot — the process is largely automated, so all you need to do is fine-tune the edits afterward. This way, your vacation footage can be shared, rather than stay stuck in the camera. If you need 4K and other advanced functions, splurge for the Hero5 or Hero6. Read more here.

Buy it now from:

Amazon B&H Best Buy GoPro

Kenu Airvue car headrest tablet mount ($50)

Got restless kids in the back seat, constantly asking, “are we there yet?” Keep them entertained by mounting a tablet to the back of a car headrest with the Airvue. This accessory can accommodate tablets as large as an iPad Pro, and it’s easy to install and remove. The Airvue has a pivoting mechanism for positioning a table in either landscape or portrait mode. You can find similar and cheaper mounts, but we prefer Kenu for the quality.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Quip electric toothbrush ($35-50)

We hate packing our bulky electric toothbrush and charging cradle when we travel, which is why the Quip is so attractive. The thin design takes up little room in a carry-on, backpack, or purse, and it comes with a cover that doubles as a stand. It’s approved by the American Dental Association, and since it runs on a AAA battery, you don’t need to look for an outlet to recharge it, making it handy when traveling internationally.

Buy it now from:

Quip

Editors’ Recommendations

  • More people are flying than ever, and here’s how the TSA is dealing with surges at airports
  • The new Kobo Clara HD is a worthy (and affordable) Kindle competitor
  • Kobo Clara HD review
  • Less is more: How to pack your gadgets for travel, quickly and easily
  • Don’t sweat a thing with the 8 best cooling pillows for hot-blooded sleepers



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