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Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

When you travel, it’s essential that you carry gadgets to make your trip go smoother. After all, if you didn’t have gadgets to entertain you, you’d probably have to settle for watching awful in-flight movies or listening to wailing infants. Here are a few gadgets that you shouldn’t travel without.

Over-the-Ear Headphones

Never, ever underestimate the value of an amazing pair of headphones. When you’re on the plane, it’s loud. Not just from the engines but also from the occasional annoying passenger that you just want to drown out.

A great pair of over-the-ear headphones will block out all most of the noise coming from the passengers around you  (although the engine may be too loud to drown out). At the very least, you’ll be able to put your headphones on and close your eyes and relax a bit. A pair of Bose’s AE2i Over-the-Ear headphones costs $179.95 and might be well worth the investment if you fly often.

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Portable Chargers for Emergencies

This isn’t 2007 and you shouldn’t have to wait to get to an outlet or USB port to charge your phone. The Innergie PocketCell, which costs $80, can usually hold enough energy to power a tablet halfway. The same amount of energy will also charge a smartphone — twice. Be sure to charge both the portable charger and your phone every night. Most functions will drain the smartphone battery at an alarming rate, but with the Innergie PocketCell, you can use your phone without worrying about it dying on you.

A Laptop

One of the most important things to have with you when you travel is a laptop. Whether or not you think you can achieve everything you want with a smartphone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A newer model Macbook starts at $1,199, but they’re worth it. If you’re not comfortable with OSX, lucky for you OSX has a program built into it that will essentially allow your Macbook to run Windows.

A Wedge Touch Mouse

When using a laptop, there’s nothing worse than using a trackpad (or worse, a tiny nub), to navigate around. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a portable wedge touch mouse. The portable wedge connects to your laptop or tablet via Bluetooth and functions as a normal mouse. You’re able to navigate the screen or use it to double-click on web links. The wedge, made by Microsoft, will cost you $70.00, a small price to pay for the ease and functionality it gives you when you travel.

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A Portable Wireless Router

It’s time to cut the cord from hotel internet. Priced at $99, the Airport Express, Apple’s wireless router, is the perfect solution. It serves as both a repeater, which extends the range of a Wi-Fi signal, or a wireless base station. Take the hotel’s ethernet cable and plug it into the box, then plug the box into an AC outlet, and you’re good to go. Don’t worry about incompatibility — while the Airport Express was designed with the Mac in mind, it’s completely compatible with a PC.

A Fully Charged Smartphone

Without a doubt, your smartphone is an indispensable vacation gadget because it can be used in all stages of the vacation process. You’ll download an app to get cheap tickets, listen to your music while you fly, jot down all of your notes in the built-in notepad app, and many more tasks. There’s even apps that are useful for overseas traveling, like translation apps, currency converters, and more.

Keep in mind, though, that these apps and features may use data. If you’re out of the cell network, you may end up paying a significant charge. If you go overseas, disable all cell service and set your phone to only operate when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi zone.

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A Kindle Paperwhite

A smartphone can do the trick, sure, but you’ll be straining your eyes trying to read a book. Instead, grab a Kindle Paperwhite. With the new screens that prevent glare, you’ll be able to read your favorite novels, regardless of whether you’re in ideal lighting conditions. Even better, you won’t have to worry about battery drain, because unlike the Kindle Fire, which is meant to be used primarily as a tablet, the Kindle’s battery is built to last for a long time since it is designed specifically to be an e-book reader.

An In-Car GPS

Sure, you can use the GPS on your phone, but it’ll destroy your battery. If you fly overseas, you’re out of luck, because you’re out of your mobile phone provider’s areas. If you have a TomTom GPS, though, you’ll be able to navigate the area without worrying about extra charges. These GPS units can run as low as $100, but you’ll get tons of use out of them. Just make sure to update it before you leave.

A DSLR Camera

Your phone or a simple point-and-shoot won’t capture the beauty of your trip. To completely capture the beauty of the moment, you’ll need either a high-end DSLR camera, preferably a Nikon or Canon with a large zoom lens. These aren’t cheap — they’ll set you back well over $500, and that’s just for the base camera. You may want to add additional lenses, carrying cases, memory cards, or even a tripod. If you buy one that has Wi-Fi connectivity, you can send photographs to your phone or computer. You can also use your smartphone to capture shots remotely, which could make for some great landscape shots.

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A Portable Gaming System

Regardless of where you go, it’s inevitable that you’ll get bored. For situations like this, turn to games. Simple smartphone games are fine to waste a few minutes, but you’ll burn through battery quickly. In times like these, you need a true portable gaming system. You really have two options here: The Nintendo 3DS XL or the Playstation Vita.

Each system offers advantages over the other, from exclusive games to battery life. The only way to choose which one is right for you is to do a bit of research and see which one offers the most benefit to you. Both systems can connect online, so if you’re bored of playing by yourself, you can quickly hop online and play against opponents worldwide. The systems can range anywhere from $199 to $250. If you choose to go with the new Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo’s system that has all of the features of the 3DS but doesn’t display in 3D, you’re only going to spend $129.

Regardless of where your travels take you, these gadgets will assist you in your journey in one way or another. What’s your go-to gadget for a long travel?

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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