We’re continuing our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide with the Best Tech for Travelers. This category is a bit broad, so we’ve limited it to must-having items that frequent travelers should have. Surprisingly, a few of these items are meant for your home since technology now allows us to keep an eye on where we live at all times. And since we’re in a giving mood, we’ll also be giving away one of the items featured in this gift guide.
If you have another tech-related item you think frequent travelers should consider, feel free to leave in the comments.
Traveling for work of pleasure means that you often spend quite a bit of time away from your house or apartment. While it’s easy to turn your heat or air conditioning off when you leave, the Nest Learning Thermostat is the perfect smart home device for those who are forgetful or need to keep their house at a specific temperature while they’re away. The Nest Thermostat can be controlled through its app, but it’s also integrated with Google Now. It will even adjust the temperature in your house at specific times throughout the day or when your smartphone realizes that you are heading home.
The Nest Learning Thermostat’s $250 price isn’t exactly cheap, but the device will save you at least that much money on your heating and cooling bills within the first two years of use.
While you’re gallivanting across the globe, it’s always a good idea to keep a watchful eye on your house. That’s exactly what the Nest Cam was created for. The camera is connected to the web, allowing you to check up on your house from anywhere in the world. You can also scrub through recorded footage quickly since the Nest Cam highlights when motion was detected within the camera’s field of view. The Nest Cam can also be used to communicate with people in your house since it comes with a built-in microphone and speaker.
Nest has recently released a new update which uses recorded video to create highlights of the times when you are at your house. It will automatically find the most active times it records, creating time-lapse clips which can easily be saved or shared with family and friends.
If you want to keep an eye on the outside of your house, you can also pick up the weatherproof Nest Can Outdoor Security camera. Both Nest Cams typically sell for $199.99, but it’s not unusual for Amazon to cut the price by $10 to $50.
Keeping an eye on your home with the Nest Cam while you’re away is one thing, but what if you want to give someone access to your place and forget to give them a key before you left? The August Smart Lock is a Bluetooth and WiFi connected lock which allows you to give people a digital key to your front door. August is compatible with most standard deadbolt locks and allows you or your approved guests to unlock your door with a smartphone. The smart lock also keeps track of who’s unlocked your door, limit access to specific times or rescind someone’s access through the app.
A recent update also added integration with Amazon Echo, allowing you to ask Alexa to lock the door for you. The August smart lock is available for $229 and comes in Dark Gray or Silver.
The Micro Luggage may not be high-tech, but it’s a fun take on the traditional carry-on suitcase. In simple terms, the Micro Luggage is a small suitcase with a scooter built right in. It’s not motorized, but the three-wheeled suitcase is a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of time in airports, walking through seemingly endless terminals to catch flights.
You might get some weird looks from your fellow passengers, but the Micro Luggage is approved for use as carry-on and fits in overhead bin. At $239.99, the Micro Luggage isn’t particularly cheap, but it’s hard to put a price on the number of hours it will save you if you’re among those who find yourself at the airport more often than your local coffee shop.
There are plenty of good backpacks and bags to lug your gadgets around while you travel, but Peak Design’s Everyday bag collection is truly unique. The most versatile option offered by Peak Design is the Everyday Backpack which comes in 20L ($259.95) and 30L ($289.95) sizes. The backpack can fit a 15-inch laptop, a tablet, DSLR camera with multiple lenses, extra batteries and dozens of cables with ease. What makes the Everyday Backpack unique is its side access panels which allow you to store smaller items, but also give you direct access to the content within the bag without having to go in through the top and dig around.
If your car is your main mode of transportation, you likely rely on your smartphone quite a big for navigation. There are plenty of smartphone car docks on the market, but most of them are a hassle to use since you have to fumble around with your charging cable every time you want to plug your phone in to charge it. With the $50 TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount, you’ll never have to deal with cables again – just as long as your smartphone supports with Qi wireless charging standard. Just place your phone on the car mount, squeeze the clasps on the side and you’re set to go.
You can always add wireless charging to any smartphone using a Qi wireless charging receiver which typically costs $10.
Keeping your smartphone charged while you travel in your car is essential, but the ZUS nomad universal car charger’s main selling feature has absolutely nothing to do with charging. The ZUS nomad’s main selling point is its ability keep track of where your car is parked. Just pull up the nomad’s app on your smartphone and it will tell you exactly where your car is. This is extremely helpful if you park your car in a city that you’re not familiar with or in the airport parking ramp when you leave town for a few days.
The ZUS nomad also has a few added touches which make it better than most other car chargers. It comes with two USB ports which can supply up to 4.8a / 24w to quickly charge two devices at once. The ports are also LED-lit, allowing you to easily find the charger even when it’s dark. The ZUS nomad typically sells for $29.99, but you can save a bit of money if you buy two or more.
Cars have a lot of technology built into them, but it’s not always readily available. Automatic changes that by plugging into your car’s diagnostics port, giving you detailed information about your car, your driving habits and more. The information provided by Automatic can be used to change your driving habits and save money on gas, but Automatic has several active features which allow it to call for help or inform family members if the car is in a crash. It can even remind you to slow down if the car accelerates over a pre-defined speed limit which you can set within the app.
For the amount of data offered by Automatic, its $99.99 retail price is quite a steal.
One of the worst things that can happen when you travel is losing your wallet, leaving a bag in a taxi or forgetting your keys. Fortunately, the Tile Mate is here to help! The Bluetooth enabled Tile can be clipped onto your keychain, bag or anything else that you want to keep track of. If you misplace an item which has a Tile attached to it, you can pull up the app and pinpoint its last location. Tile even has a ringer which can be triggered with the app if you’re close but can’t seem to spot it.
A single Tile Mate sells for $29.99, but the price drops significantly if you buy a 4, 8, of 16-pack.
Most people take a smartphone, tablet and/or a laptop with them when they travel, but running out of storage is a real issue these days since the majority of our devices use solid state drives. The Lexar JumpDrive M20c isn’t going to solve all your storage needs, but the drive does come with 64GB of storage along with a USB A and USB C connection. This means you can connect the drive to your computer or smartphone without any additional cables and transfer files between your devices with ease.
We’re even used the Lexar JumpDrive M20c to run the Android-based Remix OS on our Windows PC. It’s just that versatile.
The list price for the 64GB drive is typically set at $45, but you can easily find it on Amazon for about $25. If you want to keep a bit more cash for yourself, Lexar also offers 32BG and 16BG models.
The things we dread most about traveling is the thought of our gadgets running out of power. With the Anker PowerCore+ 20100, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. The 20,100 mAh power bank stores enough power to charge most of today’s smartphones a half dozen times. It isn’t small and compact, but Anker’s PowerCore+ 20100 is substantially smaller than other power banks of the same capacity.
Power banks this size can typically sell for $100 or more, but the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 is listed on Amazon for $59.99.
Giveaway: Tile Mate 4-pack
To enter, click the ENTER GIVEAWAY button above. We’ll randomly select 1 winner from the first 500 entries. Since the results are updated in real-time, you’ll right away if you’re the lucky winner. Amazon will take care of the rest. Be sure to leave a comment below if you win!
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