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Good to Go: The Best Tech Travel Gear

Good to Go: The Best Tech Travel Gear

    When I want to hit the road – whether it is for vacation or for business – I like to be able to grab and go. That’s why I arm myself with some of the most travel-friendly technology around.

    Hacking your travel doesn’t just come down to getting the right price on flights or picking the right accommodations. It has a lot to do with what you do in advance of traveling; things like preparing for travel at moment’s notice (such as keeping travel essentials packed at all times) or having the right gear just for the purpose of use while traveling.

    Power Gear

    If there’s one thing I hate when travelling, it’s having to grab my main power adapters to take with me. They are conveniently set up for home use – and are inconvenient to get at once I’ve done that. That’s why having a dedicated power supply solution when you travel is key.

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    If you’re a Mac user who happens to also have an iPad or iPhone with you on the road, then the TwelveSouth PlugBug is the way to go. It allows you to simultaneously charge your Mac laptop and the iDevice of your choice – and use only one outlet while doing so. This handy little device will let you leave your main power supplies at home, and reduces cable clutter in your travel bag as well.

    If you’re not a Mac user, a great option is the Belkin Travel Adapter FSL010. Suitable for PC laptops under 17″, it also has the ability to charge a wide variety of mobile devices, and won’t take up a ton of room in the process.

    Audio Gear

    Much like with power adapters, you don’t want to be taking your home audio solution with you when you hit the road. And while you may not always need to have a portable sound system when you travel, it’s nice to have that option if you’re going to be conducting business on the road and want some music (or podcasts) to listen to “sans headphones”. This is where picking up a lightweight – and yet versatile – audio solution comes into play.

    Sphear speakers are pretty innovative, and they won’t put a huge dent in your wallet either. They form a ball (or “sphere”) when not in use, making them easy to pack. They are USB or battery-powered, meaning there’s no excess power cables you’ll have to find an outlet for – and it has a USB port built-in so that you don’t use one of those valued ports when the Sphear speakers are being used. So if you want something lightweight, versatile and inexpensive – the Sphear speaker set may be for you.

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    The JAMBOX by Jawbone is pretty awesome – but it’s also a bit pricey. This wireless speaker is small, wireless and sounds absolutely great. But at a price tag of $199.99 USD, you’re going to want to use them for more than when you’re on the road. I use mine in my home office and take it with me when I travel, and being able to simply pop it into my bag and know it’ll be good to go with my devices means that I’ve got one less thing to think about. There’s value in that.

    Baggage Gear

    If you’re travelling for work, then having a good bag or tow is a must. I have a couple of great messenger bags by Booq that I alternate depending on what devices I plan to use during my travels. Booq carries a wide variety of bags, sleeves and backpacks – and they are top-notch. Booq also uses something on many of its products called “Terralinq”. Terralinq may help reunite you with your lost bag once it has been located and reported to Terralinq, meaning you’ve got a shot at regaining any valuable cargo that may have been in the bag. Each Booq bag with Terralinq carries a unique item number on a metal label. When you register your product, it links that unique number with an identity – yours. That way, if a registered bag be reported as lost…and then found, Terralinq will attempt to contact you with a bag’s location and the finder’s contact information. And a bit of peace of mind on that front never hurts.

    As for more conventional luggage, the Roots line of luggage has never steered me wrong – literally. I have a bright orange hard shell suitcase that has wheels that steer with ease. It’s also a remarkably roomy suitcase, and because it is so compact I can use it for short or long excursions. I never have to worry about it being over-sized when flying, either. IT always goes on the plane with me, meaning I can “deplane” and go. It’s both efficient and effective.

    Storage Gear

    With cloud computing hitting its stride, travelers are now able to keep very little in terms of physical hardware with them when they hit the road. Provided you can connect to Dropbox, iCloud or other cloud-based storage solutions, the need to bring any physical storage when you travel is not necessary. Or is it?

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    While I use the cloud a great deal for my storage – especially for syncing across devices – I have learned never to put my faith on these solutions entirely. So I keep a few USB thumbdrives both at my desk and in my travel bags so that I’ve got some for those “just in case” moments.

    I also like to have a bit of fun with them, so I tend to use Mimico USB Drives. But…to each their own.

    Grooming Gear

    Today’s grooming products are as advanced as the iPad I’m writing this article on, so I’d say they are definitely a “tech” of sorts.

    Having dedicated grooming products for when you travel is essential, and I like to use the same products abroad as I do when I’m at home. So whether you buy travel cases and pour your home grooming products into them as you go or buy travel-sized portions of your products, it’s best to stick with the same stuff no matter what.

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    I am a big fan of the OM product line, which offers a variety of hair, skin and shaving products for both men and women. Much of them come in travel-sized options…and there’s even a travel shaving brush available for those guys who want to go with a brush shave while traveling.

    What are your “go-to gear” when traveling? Leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Keyboard to Book Travel via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Published on September 25, 2020

    10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

    10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

    When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

    VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

    How to Choose a VPN

    • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
    • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
    • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
    • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
    • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

    Why You Should Trust Us

    Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

    Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

    1. NordVPN

    The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

    Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

    NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

    In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

    NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

    Buy this VPN.

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    2. ExpressVPN

    ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

    Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

    Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

    Buy this VPN.

    3. Surf Shark

    With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

    Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

    The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

    Buy this VPN.

    4. CyberGhost

    Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

    The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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    What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

    Buy this VPN.

    5. IPVanish

    IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

    IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

    Buy this VPN.

    6. Private Internet Access

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

    One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

    In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

    These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

    Buy this VPN.

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    7. Hotspot Shield

    Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

    Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

    Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

    Buy this VPN.

    8. TunnelBear

    As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

    The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

    Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

    Buy this VPN.

    9. Norton

    Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

    As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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    Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

    Buy this VPN.

    10. StrongVPN

    The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

    StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

    As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

    Buy this VPN.

    Bottom Line

    Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

    With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

    We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

    Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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