Our best holiday tech gifts of 2013 series continues with the best travel gifts for tech-savvy travelers. Which is kind of all of us these days. (Except that one older lady on the plane who mumbles to herself on landing, when every person pulls out their phones at the same exact moment.) As working parents who travel a ton ourselves, we really rely on tech to keep us organized, connected to our kids, entertained and often, sane. So here are the top travel tech gifts we’d love to get under our own trees this year–along with Platinum frequent flyer status so we could skip every line forever.
iPad Air ($499 and up, Apple Store)
This is easily one of the hottest tech gifts this year for all kinds of people, but for travelers it should be high on the covet list. Between the suuuuper lightweight body, the remarkable retina display for movies and media, and the beautiful way it functions with iOS 7, it’s Apple’s tour de force. Guaranteed there is someone on your gift list who wants one.
4-in-1 Travel Adapter ($25, Flight 001)
As a generous stocking stuffer, or just a nifty little gift, this compact travel adapter comes complete with color-coded plugs to get you juiced in 150 countries.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active ($199 with two-year contract at ATT; $99 for a limited time at Target)
For travel to warmer climes–say, with proximity to a swimming pool or oceanside–the Active is a fabulous mobile phone on its own, but even better with a built-in water resistant casing that precludes the need for a separate waterproof case.
Google Chromecast ($32.99, our affiliate Amazon)
Can you stand missing a single episode of Homeland when your hotel doesn’t carry Showtime? Of course you can’t! This absolutely genius device streams all the content from your favorite video and music players from your smartphone, tablet or laptop right to the big-screen TV. Just plug it into the HDMI port, lie back, turn on Netflix or Hulu Plus, and order room service.
Belkin Tab Cover for Kindle Fire ($19.99 on sale, Belkin)
Now that we don’t have to power off our e-readers on take off and landing, this is a smart gift for any digital bookworm. Looks like leather but scratches way less easily, with speaker holes in the right place and a handy inner pocket. Add an actual Kindle Fire HD ($139/8GB) and you’re onto a pretty sweet gift.
JBL Micro Wireless Speaker ($49.95, on sale at JBL with free ship)
While the Jawbone Jambox Mini is a genius Bluetooth speaker for travelers, for something even lighter and smaller check out this offering from JBL. Great sound at just over 3″ in diameter.
myCharge Peak 6000 Rechargeable Power Bank ($63.99 on sale at our affiliate Amazon)
This portable battery has a built-in USB port, Micro-USB and Apple connectors to charge up to 3 devices at a time. It’s got enough juice to charge an iPhone 4 times, which is a lifesaver on the road when you’re not sitting next to an outlet all day. Plus the built-in USB cable means no need to remember to bring another one. Sweet.
HP Split X2 Convertible Laptop-Tablet ($642.80 at our affiliate Amazon)
If you can’t quite leave the laptop behind when you travel, this convertible option offers the best of both worlds–detach the 13.3″ touch-screen, and behold, a tablet! The HP Beats powered audio is a nice touch.
Backbeat Go 2 Earbuds with charging case ($79.99, Plantronics)
While there are plenty of styles of earbuds in every price range, we love these Bluetooth earbuds that work for both listening on the hotel treadmill, or talking on conference calls from the airport lounge. A nano-coating protects from spills or sweat which is nice insurance. And we love that they come with their own charging case, which can give you nearly 15 hours of listening time on a charge.
Plug Bug World ($44.99, TwelveSouth with free US shipping)
We are rarely seen traveling without our PlugBug, which charges a Powerbook or MacBook and any iOS device at the same time, all from a single outlet–and with one of five AC plugs, in nearly any country in the world. It’s even the fastest charge available for the iPad, so it’s a great buy even if you’re just traveling from your living room to your home office.
iPad Messenger Bag ($99, Ellington Handbags; $89 for iPad Mini bag)
Whatever tablet you’re carrying, we love this padded canvas and nylon bag with smart leather trim that makes it equal parts durable and fashionable. And we love the strap that allows you to wear it crossbody (i.e. NYC commuter) style. It’s not heavy, not too froo-froo, and the –just right for racing to make that 15 minute flight connection.
Cord Organizer Suite ($129 on sale, This Is Ground)
It’s hard to resist products called Cordito, Cordlupa and Cord Taco. So we don’t. Nicely handmade from leather, this set has everything you need to tame those cord nests in your bag–or buy any one of them individually.
Moshi Moonrock headphones ($39.95, Moshi)
One of the most comfy in-ear headphones we’ve ever tried at a super price. These are fairly no-frills headphones with a decent mic for calls, but the clever cord-wrap and storage seals the deal for us.
Space Invaders Playing Cards ($12, Kikkerland)
Sometimes it’s nice to just unplug and play solitaire the old-fashioned way. Or at least, circa 1978.