Many people’s travel plans took a hit in 2020. But there is already evidence that tourism will be booming in 2021. Many have simply pushed their plans by a year, and a post on vacation trends indicated that surging travel interest is already selling out hotels and tours.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see just how safe it is to travel to certain places come next year. But for now, it’s time to plan ahead in the hopes that you can take that big trip you’ve been waiting for in the near future! And part of that means tending to your packing list. In fact, we’d argue now would be a fun time to upgrade your vacation inventory, whether that means picking out a great new suitcase, finding a new travel wallet, or anything similar.
In this post, we want to focus on some of the tech tools and gadgets you can use to upgrade your travel. Pick up a few items like these, and you’ll be equipped to enjoy your 2021 travel plans that much more.
True Wireless Earbuds
Raise your hand if you’ve had the experience of reaching into a travel bag to pull out headphones and pulling out a tangled mess of wires. All of you? That’s what we thought! Fortunately, “true wireless” earbuds are here to save the day. And they happen to have excellent sound (and happen to be wildly convenient) also.
These brilliant little gadgets aren’t all the same, but by and large, they come with cases that charge them (adding to battery life), pair with a variety of devices via Bluetooth, and actually stay in your ears.
Apple’s AirPods and their Beats and Samsung counterparts largely dominate the category. However, we’d also point to the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 as worthy alternates as pointed out in this rundown of wireless earbuds.
A Real Camera
We may all be accustomed to taking photos on our phones these days. But a real camera – ie one you can shoot with in manual mode – will still typically get you the best travel photos (unless you’re willing to invest in extra lenses and editing work for a smartphone photo).
Our list of best mirrorless cameras for beginners pointed out options like the Canon EOS M100 and the Sony a6000 as good choices for beginners, but they’re also excellent for travel in general. These are simple, compact cameras, but ones that will produce excellent photos.
Similar to photography, most of us are now used to taking videos with our phones. Here again, though, the real thing will typically produce better results, to the point that you’ll adore your travel videos (as opposed to forgetting about them in your cluttered phone media library!).
There are more options on the market than you might expect, but a few stand out for portability and ease of use while travelling. The camcorders and video equipment on leading e-commerce platforms include a number of these, with the GoPro HERO7 and the Sony HDR-AS300 Action Camera being the ones we’d most favour.
Both of these options offer stable, high-definition videography and can easily be operated with a single hand, even during more vigorous activity (such as skiing or hiking).
Just for the kids? Pop on over and see our guide to the best kids action cameras, perfect for amateur filming on your next vacation, or if you’ll be heading to the beach, check out our favourite underwater kid’s action cameras.
Nothing quite beats having a great book while on vacation. Whether you’re going to read it on a beach (or in some other relaxing location), or you simply want something to do on a long plane or train ride, it’s something you may well count as an essential on your packing list.
The trouble is that packing even one book — let alone a few — can be a pain. Books are heavy, take up a lot of space, and can get bent or ripped when crammed into fully packed bags.
An e-reader, by contrast, is thinner and lighter than even the average paperback. It will take up less space, its integrity won’t be compromised, and you’ll be able to read whatever you like.
You can’t go past a Kindle E-reader, though I will admit I am falling for my Kobo eReader that I was recently gifted – back to smaller is better and focused on just being a book with electronic ink screen and it’s waterproof, perfect for using at the pool or beach.
A Portable Phone Charger
Despite our recommendations for real cameras and camcorders, it’s a virtual certainty that you’ll still want (or need) your smartphone on you throughout your vacation.
When you’re abroad, you may find that your battery seems to drain more quickly. Longer days, constant use from photos to maps, looking up menus and translation tools, along with strained connectivity can all have this effect.
For this reason, our final recommendation is to find a light, powerful phone charger you can easily carry with you. Most of them get the job done, so in this category, your choice is basically a matter of preference.
These are all tools you can research and stock up on now, while you may be at home missing out on a trip you had planned for this year. And with any luck, you’ll be able to put them to use sometime in the near future when you’re able to get back to travelling!
You may also want to check out
- Our guide to the best Kids underwater cameras for capturing your snorkeling action
- Best Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners – perfect for getting out of auto
- How to photograph your kids like a pro – 10 tips from an award-winning family photographer
- 7 Mistakes that may be ruining your travel photos