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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 January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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