Travel Tools

Whether you journey by plane, train or automobile, just over a state line or across an entire ocean, traveling seems to always invite unwanted stress and discomfort. Thankfully, there are travel gadgets to remedy those nuisances.

From tracking lost luggage to blocking out excess background noise, travel gadgets make life on the road a little less rocky. This month we look at some of the best travel gadgets on the market and consider how they can improve your next getaway.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling Headphones [$300] Noise-cancelling headphones mean your favorite travel soundtrack is unaffected by the roar of the plane’s engine, the loquacious passenger beside you, and the crying baby three rows back. Noise-cancelling headphones made by Bose, however, mean that your favorite travel soundtrack becomes your own private concert with unmatched sound quality. And with Bose QuietComfort’s inline microphone and remote, controls are at your fingertips and phone calls are just a convenient click away. This travel gadget also works well at home, in crowded coffee shops and business meetings.

Trakdot and BluNio [$50-$60] Few things ruin a holiday or business trip like luggage gone astray, so waving goodbye to your only change of underwear as it vanishes into the airport abyss can make for an anxious farewell. Stress no more. With the Trackdot luggage tracker, you can keep tabs on your skivvies no matter where they go. BlueNio Tag offers another great way to keep up with your travel accessories. For easily misplaced carry-on items, including tablets, purses, and even small family members, BluNio tracks and detects motion in items up to 165 feet away using your phone’s Bluetooth. (trakdot.com, bluenio.com)

SteriPEN Traveler [$50] Not all of your world travels will afford clean water directly from the tap or shiny liters of bottled water at the convenient store. Thankfully, there is a quick and easy solution. With the SteriPEN Traveler your travel parameters won’t be dictated by the availability of uncontaminated water. Using UV light to fight a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, and protozoan cysts, this handy water-purifying pen keeps you and your family healthy while traveling to locations with unreliable water quality. Just one set of AA lithium batteries can sanitize 200 half-liter servings of water. (steripen.com/traveler)

J-Pillow and Hoodie Pillow [$25-$50] Anyone who has tried to snooze on a crowded airplane knows just how difficult, and sometimes painful, it can be, especially without the convenience of a window seat. Thankfully, travellers with the ingenuity for problem-solving have provided alternatives to leaning against neighbors or resting on tray tables. The J-Pillow, shaped like a 3D letter J, is specifically designed to promote good posture while supporting your head from multiple angles and preventing it from falling forward. The more chic Hoodie Pillow offers naptime comfort with the added feature of a comfortable sweatshirt fleece hood. The hood blocks light while the inflatable pillow comfortably cradles the neck from all angles. (jpillow.com; hoodiepillow.com)

Olloclip 3-in-1 [$50] Today’s high-definition cell phone camera makes traveling sans bulky digital camera a breeze, but even the newest models have their limits. Enhance your creative options with the Olloclip 3-in-1, offering fisheye, wide-angle, and macro capability in one clip-on lens. Olloclip lenses are small, easy to pack, and boost the capability of your phone’s stock camera. So leave that bulky camera at home, and travel light while still taking great photos. (olloclip.com)

Clever Travel Companion [$20-$30] Leaving the safety of your own home can be a scary endeavor, but fear should never keep you from traveling far and wide. Protect yourself from pickpockets worldwide while looking fashionable with Clever Travel Companion’s 100% pickpocket-proof travel gear. From underwear to t-shirts and tank tops, these garments contain secret, zippered pockets that make stashing cash, credit cards, passports and other valuables both easy and comfortable. Clever Travel Companion clothing was created by experienced travelers who remain dedicated to their fellow travellers by providing and discussing safe travel tips on their website. (clevertravelcompanion.com)

Franklin Speaking Global EST-7014 [$165] Whether your travels are for business or pleasure, being a unilingual traveler in a multilingual world can be a challenge. Inexperience with languages like French, Italian, Japanese, and Russian can also be a roadblock to some of the best travel locations on earth. So rather than limit yourself to countries that speak your language, pack the Franklin Speaking Global EST-7014 in your carry-on and start communicating like a local. In addition to words and phrases in 14 different languages, this sophisticated electronic translator offers a full-color screen, currency converter, calendar and onboard travel guide for easy eating and shopping around the world.

The Ostrich Pillow Light [$45] Brought to you by Studio Banana Things, the makers of the Ostrich Pillow—the helmet-like answer to uncomfortable naptimes on the go—the Ostrich Pillow Light makes sleeping while commuting or traveling both a cozy and eye-catching event. This wearable halo-like pillow blocks bothersome light (and conveniently muffles the sound of snickering critics) while packaging your cranium in a cocoon of comfort. (studiobananathings.com)

Scrubba Wash Bag [$55] Scrubba Wash Bag is a pocket-sized washing machine that makes traveling in clean clothes as simple as a laundromat visit but without the quarters. Trekking in the backcountry, road tripping through the unknown or traveling off the grid far from washing facilities shouldn’t require packing loads of extra clothes; nor should it interfere with your travel companions’ sense of smell. So stay clean and smell fresh on your next vacation. Scrubba Wash Bag is easy, quick and requires only water and soap. (thescrubba.com)

Big Pocket Jacket [$60] Stylish? No. Smart? Maybe. The Rufus Roo Big Pocket Jacket utilizes giant pockets to bypass airlines’ pesky luggage limitations. Imagine a giant trash bag with armholes, a zipper and oversized pockets. Now imagine wearing that out in public. Along with your one piece of carry-on luggage and your one personal item, the Big Pocket Jacket affords you four bottomless pockets and the satisfaction of outsmarting the airline. (rufusroo.com)

Wearable Air Purifier [$150] Sound-cancelling headphones block out unwanted noise, while sleep masks and sunglasses block out unwanted light. But what do we have to help block out unwanted air while we travel in such close quarters? Wein Products, an advanced technology company specializing in respiratory protection, has the answer. The Air Supply Mini-Mate Wearable Air Purifier weighs 1.5 ounces and uses ion wind output to propel clean, fresh air toward your mouth and nose without making a sound. (weinproducts.com)

Mophie Space Pack [$150] Long hours in an airport deprived of power outlets, followed by a lengthy plane ride spent listening to music, not to mention days of sightseeing, can reek havoc on the life of your cell phone battery. With the Mophie Space Pack, you get an instant battery charge with the flip of a switch and up to 64GB of extra storage in the convenience of a thin protective case. That translates to twice the calls, music and apps and loads more storage for photos and videos. (mophie.com)

Re-Timer Jet Lag [$300] (at top) International travel means experiencing all that the world has to offer; unfortunately, it also means throwing off your circadian rhythm and suffering from the drowsiness and fatigue brought on by jet lag. Originally designed to help the body reset its natural sleep rhythm, which can be affected by numerous scenarios, Re-Timer glasses also offer benefits for long-distance travelers. Re-Timer produces a UV-free soft green light proven to re-time your circadian rhythm and, used correctly, reduce the effects of jetlag. That means you can hit the ground running from day one. (re-timer.com)