Category: Travel Essentials

goTenna: The must-have gadget to stay connected when you’re camping

So, I know the goal of camping is to connect with nature and go off the grid, but sometimes you just need cell service, whether it’s to access Google Maps, use a cool app like SkyView or binge watch when the kids are finally asleep. It can also be a smart way to keep yourself and your family safe. That’s why we’re intrigued by goTenna. goTenna is a hand-held techcessory that ensures you have the capability to connect with others when you need to, without worrying about service, or lack thereof. By connecting to your cell phone (iPhone or Android) via Bluetooth, and then using the goTenna app, it allows...

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COWAROBOT: A robotic suitcase that lets you go hands-free. The future is here.

When I imagined the future, I definitely saw little robots following us all around, perhaps sweeping up our crumbs and reminding us where we left our coffee. So, while the COWAROBOT doesn’t do those things, it does follow you around with your luggage, which is a frequent traveler’s dream. And a parent’s dream too. The COWAROBOT technology is pretty stacked, with a sensor that helps it avoid obstacles in its way, even managing pretty steep and uneven terrain, though I’m not exactly sure when you’d be walking around with luggage in say, a forest. But hey, you could be Amy Adams in Leap...

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These are the droid suitcases you’re looking for

Let’s just say that on our recent vacation, I had absolutely no trouble finding my son’s suitcase at baggage claim because it’s pretty hard to miss R2D2. Whether your kids are Star Wars fans or it’s you who is obsessed, you’ll want to check out the Star Wars luggage from American Tourister. We’ve used the R2D2 suitcase for a few trips now, and I have to say that I’m impressed with how well it has held up, not just in giving us tons of room (yay extender zipper) in a carry-on sized bag but also in terms of all the...

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A portable charger for iPhone that’s as practical as it is pretty

I feel like I’ve become the queen of portable chargers around here, which is a good thing since I never leave home without one. Okay, often more than one. I am sad to say that I just can’t recommend  my formerly beloved Mophie charging case any longer, since as practical as it is, every one I’ve had seems to conk out after maybe six months. But I’ve had excellent luck with quite a few portable chargers, and now that they’re becoming so light and slim, there are great options out there even for those of you who don’t want...

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Smart luggage from Bluesmart can change the travel game. (Which is different than the game of Are We There Yet.)

We have smart everything these days, from crockpots you can turn on remotely to get dinner started, to thermostats you turn down while you’re away on vacation. And now we’ve come across another incredible smart gadget called Bluesmart luggage that could change the way we travel, and hopefully make those family trips less stressful. (Though no, it doesn’t keep your kids entertained or rush you through security, sorry.) Related: Belkin WeMo smart appliances: Now you can cook dinner from your cell phone Bluesmart goes beyond a mere tracking device. As opposed to those that are only useful within certain ranges, this suitcase lets you track your luggage anywhere in...

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A little Bluetooth keyboard for those who miss actual typing on their tablets and phones

As much as I try to avoid typing long emails on my iPhone, there are times when it’s inevitable. And it’s those times when I long for the tactile keyboard of my first “smartphone” from eons ago. (Samsung BlackJack, anyone?) Typing has come a long way since then, but there’s nothing like the feel of an actual keyboard, which is why I’m digging the brand new Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard. This is one of those accessories that doesn’t seem necessary, but once you start using it, you’ll realize it beats fiddling around with those tiny touch keys onscreen. The K380 connects with...

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The innovative car charger that’s the solution to all your overconnected family woes.

I now have a couple of two-port USB chargers in the cigarette lighter socket, because the idea of running out of batteries in the middle of a Waze nav is terrifying. (And on a totally separate note, when are we going to stop calling them cigarette lighters and start calling them electrical ports? Or maybe we already did and I missed the memo.) So Belkin, as they often do, saves the day with a really smart new four-port car charger that’s more than just four ports. The Belkin Road Rockstar with 4 USB Ports actually has two ports up front, then a 6-foot cable that...

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Here’s a new one in portable chargers: It backs up your data, too.

I recently found myself caught out there without portable, backup battery power. I mean, I had a Plan C — my iPhone charger in my purse — which was more like a Plan E, because trying to locate a conveniently-placed wall outlet at a massive blogging conference where every other attendee needs it too, is not a smooth move. I vowed to never wind up in that position again. Plus, I’m a tech writer! This is not how we do things. Which is why I was eager to try out Imation’s new LINK Power Drive. Related: Our 5 essential portable...

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Peri GoCharge: A mobile charger that’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.

When I think of a mobile charger that’s made for a woman I think, why?  What does it do differently? (Don’t answer that question, Kristen.)  And then I checked out the gold GoCharge from Peri and I totally get it. Related: Our 5 essential portable chargers The beautiful little GoCharge is designed specifically to fit into a clutch or small purse, which means this thing is thin. As in like, whoa…that’s thin thin. Only 6.5 mm wide, in fact, so you can see why I’m pretty blown away. As much as I love my Jackery, it definitely weighs down my handbag,...

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A smart little MacBook cable organizer for those of us familiar with the term, cord spaghetti.

Hi, nice to meet you. I’m one of those people whose cord always somehow slips off my laptop adapter in my bag, making me that person next to you in the airport lounge or the business meeting, pulling out the big, embarrassing handful of cord spaghetti, and trying to untangle it without one iota of grace. So these MacBook power adapter cable managers? Let’s just say they are calling my name. Related: The cord accessories with the best names that could finally get you organized. The premise is simple: PowerPlay is a handmade leather accessory attaches with elastic, to keep the charging cable wound neatly...

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Ultimate Birthday Party Gift Guide

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