In 1970, Massachusetts businessman Bernard Sadow changed travel forever when he sought a patent for his simple invention: luggage on wheels. Today, wheeled suitcases with telescoping handles are ubiquitous in airports around the world, and Sadow’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit have inspired hundreds of other inventors to try to find the next great travel necessity.
While few gadgets today promise to be as revolutionary as the wheeled suitcase was, there are some new devices and gizmos that can make traveling easier, more comfortable and more fun. Before you head off on your next adventure, consider adding one of these useful items to your packing list.
Portable Power Pack
Imagine this: You receive an email from a friend, urging you to check out an awesome deal for your upcoming trip to Frankfurt. Or maybe you’ve got the perfect photo lined up of your family in front of the Eiffel Tower — and your phone’s battery dies. Since there’s little that’s worse than running out of juice when you need your device the most, numerous companies have come up with battery packs and charging docks that make it easier and more convenient to stay charged on the go. The latest is Incipio’s offGRID battery backup cases. These attractive cases fit most popular smartphone models and not only protect the device, but also boost its battery power. In some cases, the case has successfully doubled the battery’s life under normal use conditions.
Movies to Go
When you’re on a great adventure, you can capture it with your camera or video camera — but who can be busy fiddling with a camera when you’re busy catching the perfect wave or slaloming down the mountainside? That’s where a mountable, HD-video camera like the GoPro Black comes in handy. This tiny camera (it’s only about two inches by one inch) attaches to your helmet, bike handles or even a surfboard, allowing you to capture what’s in front of you in high definition. You can even control the Wi-Fi-enabled camera from your iPhone using the GoPro app. Imagine riding a wild roller coaster with the camera as someone else watches in real time on her phone!
No More Excess Baggage Charges
Not only are airlines charging passengers fees for baggage, if you go even an ounce over 50 pounds, you can expect to be hit with even more fees. That’s why you need the Balanzza Mini Digital Handheld Scale. Weighing it at just about a quarter pound, this scale can hold up to 100 pounds. Simply hook the scale on to your suitcase, lift everything up and wait for the tone, and you’ll know in an instant whether you’re good to go or whether you need to jettison that extra pair of shoes before heading to the airport.The Sweet Sound of Silence
Noise-canceling headphones have practically become a necessity for travelers who want to drown out excess noise, from airplane engines, crying children or a chatty seatmate. The latest models are more attractive and lighter than before, and offer better sound clarity when you want to listen to music or a movie instead of your neighbor’s ongoing monologue. Try the Zik model from Parrot, or a Clear Harmony model from Able Planet for the right mix of style and function.
Hold Down the Fort, From a Distance
Sometimes, even if you have a security system or a neighbor checking on your home when you’re out of town, you just want to see things with your own eyes. The Y-cam HomeMonitor can help you do just that. Simply connect the camera to your home computer using Wi-Fi, create an account on the application and you can log in from anywhere and see what’s happening in your home. You can even set the camera to automatically record short clips whenever someone is near your front door or another designated location.
Every year, manufacturers release new and exciting gadgets that promise to help travelers do more, see more and enjoy more when they hit the road — each hoping to be the next Bernard Sadow. There’s no telling which gadget will be the next “big thing,” but you can’t deny that some of these cool items will enhance your next trip.
About the Author: When Louise Vinciguerra is not on Facebook, WordPress or Twitter, she’s traveling in search of fun food, dabbling in urban farming or planning nature trips from her resident city of Rome.