Packing your summer tech travel bag
Even if you’re taking a flight to get away from it all, chances are you’ll still want to throw some tech in your travel bag this summer.
If you’re jumping on a plane then noise-cancelling headphones can be a wise investment, especially on a long haul international flight. Don’t expect miracles, you can’t completely block out the sound of the engines but you can dull it down from an overpowering roar to more tolerable background hum.
You get what you pay for when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, plus their design makes a significant difference – little earbuds aren’t going to do as good a job as large over-the-ear cans which help muffle the sound of the world before you even turn on the noise-cancelling.
The top-shelf noise-cancelling headphones support wireless Bluetooth connections, which helps cut down on cable tangles, but don’t be afraid to skip Bluetooth if you’re on a tight budget. Assuming your music player has a 3.5mm headphone jack, listening via cable instead of Bluetooth tends to offer better sound quality – plus turning off Bluetooth on your music player and headphones should help extend their battery life to help get you through a long flight.
Not every airline seat is blessed with a power socket, which is where a portable gadget charger comes in handy – charging everything from your smartphone and tablet to your noise-cancelling headphones, eBook reader and digital camera.
The higher the battery capacity the more times you can recharge your devices before the battery runs flat. These days you’d want at least 5000 mAh in a gadget charger, but don’t be afraid to go higher – especially if there won’t be a power point at your destination and the battery needs to last you for a few days.
The trade-off is that larger batteries weigh more, so you might decide to carry a second smaller battery for day trips.
Some portable gadget chargers have built-in connectors, such as Apple’s Lightning jack. This might be fine if you’re only carrying iGadgets, but if you’re lugging around an eclectic collection of gadgets then you might be better off with USB ports so you can charge practically anything (assuming your packed the charge cable).
Some portable gadget chargers feature two USB ports for charging two devices at once, with 2.1 Amp USB ports for charging power-hungry devices more quickly than 1 Amp ports.
If you need to get a little work done while you’re travelling but you don’t want to take your notebook and AC adaptor on the road, consider whether a Bluetooth keyboard for your smartphone or tablet will do the job. It’s especially handy if you’re flying economy where you might not have the elbow room to use a notebook. Even if you’re travelling with a notebook, if might be worth throwing a Bluetooth keyboard in your suitcase as a backup, to use with your touchscreen devices should something happen to your computer when you’re far from home.
Some tablet cases come with built-in Bluetooth keyboards, making it easy to use your touchscreen device as a makeshift notebook. Otherwise you’ll need a stand for your smartphone or tablet to hold it at the best viewing angle as you type – you don’t want your screen lying flat on the table. Some Bluetooth keyboards feature a slot for holding your screen upright, otherwise you’ll find a wide range of stands which fold up to fit in your travel bag.
It’s worth thinking about the tech you’ll need long before you head for the airport. Don’t wait until you’re on the runway to wish that you’d packed more tech in your travel bag.