Seeing the world can be a lot of fun and is great for the body and mind. But without the safety and security of home, and the convenience of modern technology, meeting the great outdoors head on can be a nerve-racking experience – even for the most intrepid of travellers.
That’s why I’ve put together a list of eight fantastic gizmos for international travel, some of which were simply too fun not to include. I’m sure these will make your trips safer, more comfortable and even a little cleaner.
Tech Must-Haves For Travellers
1) A smart wash bag
Keeping your clothes clean and fresh is nigh on impossible, especially when camping – the heat, lack of washing facilities and days on end of camping or hostel sleeping can quickly add up. But you needn’t drag your washing machine along with you.
Instead, there’s the Scrubba. With dozens of tiny nodules on the inside, you can fill this wash bag with soapy water and laundry then scrub it like an old-fashioned washboard to get your clothes clean.
Best of all, when it’s not in use, the Scrubba folds away and is small enough to slip into even the most overcrowded of rucksacks. Of course this is not needed if you’re staying in hostels in countries like Australia and New Zealand as pretty much every hostel has laundry facilities!
2) A water sanitiser
From high-tech bottles to travel-handy straws, LifeStraw make a range of products that you can use to filter water. They remove 99.99% of bacteria as well as microplastics, parasites and heavy metals, and some even come with charcoal filters for removing unpleasant odours.
LifeStraw products are perfect for hikers, pro travellers and those who regularly visit places without drinkable tap water. Even better, a proportion of their profits go towards providing school children with access to clean water.
3) A sand-free mat
The C-gear sand-free mat is a must-have for beach lovers and is geared more towards holidaymakers than roving backpackers.
It works using a one-way sift that allows sand particles to pass through it, so you can lay on the beach for as long as you like without feeling like you’re covered in thousands of tiny, uncomfortable grains of sand. Who said beach mats couldn’t be tech?
4) A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Something to consider before you go abroad is the safety of your personal information. Remember, you’re not going to be able to connect to your home network, so you’ll have to connect to the web using a combination of internet cafes, free WiFi hotspots and sporadic mobile data.
These unsecured connections could put your personal data at risk, so it’s worthwhile protecting yourself using a VPN.
A VPN is a service that encrypts your data and reroutes it through a series of private servers, disguising your IP address and making it much harder for hackers to intercept your passwords or credit card details. You don’t have to understand one to use one – simply install a VPN app and activate it when you go online.
5) An impenetrable backpack
Famous historical cities draw in millions of visitors every year. These destinations are home to some of the world’s most renowned museums and art galleries, but they’re also a hotbed for opportunistic crime.
An extra secure backpack offers peace of mind when navigating a new city, so you can relax and take in the sights rather than worrying about your possessions.
Made from anti-slash guard material, Pacsafe rucksacks are a great example. They feature clever security hooks built in to the straps, lockable zippers and specially designed RFID-blocking pockets that protect against scanning scams.
6) A solar-powered power bank
When you’re taking new tech with you on the road, you’ll need to be able to charge your devices. The trouble is, finding an outlet isn’t always easy, and you may not have the correct plug adaptor when one is available – so something that can charge your phone sans mains electricity is handy.
Port Designs’ portable solar-powered charger is ideal for charging on the go and can simultaneously charge two devices, no matter where you are. The body of the power bank is also shock- and splash-proof, so it can survive ham-fisted hikers as well as trips to the beach.
7) A private mesh network
Mesh networks are perfect for staying connected when you’re travelling off grid, and work by turning your smartphone into a walkie talkie.
The GoTenna pairs with your mobile device and allows you to communicate with friends, share your location and download free maps, all without accessing a network. This means you and your fellow itinerants can explore a city, mountain or national park separately and without mobile data, without feeling completely isolated.
8) A game for learning languages
I said at the beginning of this article that some of these travel gadgets were just too fun not to include, and though this one isn’t technically a gadget, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Duolingo is a free app that you can download onto your device which uses ingenious gamification to make learning a new language less of a chore.
It works like a game, unlocking new categories and rounds as you level up, and focuses on using speech, visual cues and reading comprehension to help you improve your skills.
That’s my roundup of tech must-haves for international travellers. I hope you enjoy the top picks and that you now feel more open to travelling with tech. Because seeing the world isn’t just for Luddites, it’s for everyone!
Author: James Murray is a professional copywriter and researcher. He has written for a number of well-known brands in the past few years, and his professional work covers topics from cyber security and consumer technology to the science of sleep.