10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent travelers – TechCrunch

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Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2018 Year-End Gift Guide! Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gift Guide Center.

I have traveled a lot this year, more than any year in the past. It’s been both a blessing and a curse, so thank you, TechCrunch, for that. Honestly, I should probably pack for Asia instead of writing this, but I’m watching over you instead.

Rather than writing the standard travel guide or the vacation gift guide, we chose to combine them into one. Because if there’s one key to getting the most out of your time on the road, it’s efficiency. Technology can play an important role in helping to streamline the packaging process and generally get the most out of your trip.

Of course, as with everything, too much technology can also be a bad thing. I know I found myself packing too many gadgets or jamming a failed king of messy cables in my carry-on, making a mess of things in the process.

What follows is a collection of gadgets, accessories, and other products designed to take away some of the biggest travel hassles and help you get the most out of your trip, whether it’s overnight or longer.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Okay, maybe including a Kindle here is a bit of a cheat, but very few devices have improved my travel life as an e-reader – and the Oasis is currently the prettiest you can get. It wasn’t that long ago that I used to stash several paperback books in my carry-on. I miss the tactility of real books every now and then, but when it comes to travel, nothing beats the ability to stow thousands of books in a back pocket.

Price: $ 249 to $ 279
Available from: Amazon


Anker 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger

Many modern hotels are improving when it comes to USB ports. I recently found myself in one in LA where every link had a place so I could charge my iPhone. But it’s still a dice game – especially when traveling to a strange city – and hey, if you can avoid plugging your personal devices into a strange port, all the better.

I started traveling with my own mini power strip / USB hub combo years ago, but Anker’s 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger is a much more compact solution, bringing four USB ports straight to the wall. Best of all, like all Anker products, it’s very inexpensive.

Price: $ 26
Available from: Amazon



BUBM cable bag

I have tried a LOT of cable organizers in my many years of gadget blogging. It’s the only thing stopping my duffel bag from turning into Indiana Jones’ snake pit. Ultimately, all of them end up with the same tradeoff: You can either have plenty of compartments for your various tech gadgets or free up more space in your bag.

Ultimately, I tend to side with the latter. Especially when it comes to carry-on luggage, anything you can do to free up space is a clear positive. Lately I dug this one from BUBM. It looks stylish and the collapsible design helps free up valuable space in the bag.

Price: $ 12
Available from: Amazon


Quiet subscription

This one is admittedly a strange choice. Sure, there are plenty of travel-specific apps out there, but when it comes to alleviating the stress associated with travel, the Calm app is a good place to start. This is from a very anxious flyer, notice. It’s not a fear of flying – that part is great. That’s all the rest. From airport access to endless queues to $ 3 airport water to the occasional middle seat.

I am also, and it is no accident, an anxious meditator. I’ve tried a LOT of different apps to pursue mindfulness on my smartphone, and Calm is my favorite by far. Guided meditation sessions are great and the same for the freest. It’s also a great way to get your bearings after waking up in a hotel room in an unfamiliar city.

The one-year subscription costs $ 60, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Price: $ 60
Available from: Calm


Harman Kardon Traveler speaker

This one certainly looks more like a luxury than many others, but don’t underestimate how much a small bluetooth speaker can improve hotel time. The vast majority of laptops have pretty awful built-in speakers, and even the average Bluetooth speakers are a major improvement.

The Harman Kardon Traveler fits perfectly and won’t add much size or weight to a carry-on. It also has a built-in mic for teleconferencing – a definite plus for business travel – and doubles as a power bank for charging devices. The 2,500mAh battery isn’t much, but on the go, every bit of juice counts.

Price: $ 150
Available from: Harman Kardon


Connecting the HyperDrive USB-C hub

I travel with a LOT of gadgets. It’s kind of my job. As such, you undoubtedly understand that the lack of charging ports is a consistent theme throughout all of this. HyperDrive USB-C Hub Attach is a smart version of Twelve South’s iconic PlugBug that brings the USB ports directly to the MacBook charging brick. Here, however, you have the decisive bonus of a third active USB-C port for data transfer. At $ 50 for the larger version, its price matches the TwelveSouth offering as well.
Price: $ 50
Available from: HYPER



Luna display

As I noted in my article last month, the Luna Display is not for everyone, but those who need it will find it to be a real lifeline. Once that miniature-sized $ 80 device plugs into a MacBook, it connects to a nearby iPad over Wi-Fi, converting the tablet into a second display.

I used the hell out of it every time I found myself working on the road or at home. I have become completely dependent on my monitor at work and now find myself being the guy with both a laptop and a tablet on the coffee table. Definitely worth it for the ability to monitor my RSS feeds while working on a story.

Price: $ 80
Available from: Moon


RAVPower portable wireless charger

Power banks cost a dime a dozen these days, but RavPower makes the smartest ones. It’s hard to narrow them all down, but this one lands on my list for its inclusion of a Qi charger that allows users to wirelessly charge compatible handsets on top of the brick.

Keep in mind that some airlines and airports limit the size of batteries that can be stored in a bag, so if the person you’re buying for is a frequent visitor, say to China, check the limits – although this 10400mAh the battery should be good in most cases.

Price: $ 50
Available from: Amazon


Timbuk2 Never Check Stretch Backpack

I always thought I would outgrow backpacks, but other than a brief flirtation with the messenger bag in luggage, I’m rarely seen without one. Of course, no two are the same, and if there’s a frequent traveler in your life, a sturdy backpack makes all the difference in the world.

Timbuk2 makes some really great bags, and the Never Check certainly does the trick. It has a roomy interior for clothes, shoes and everything else you need for an overnight trip, while maintaining a footprint small enough to fit in an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.

Price: $ 200
Available from: Tombouk2


Twelve South AirFly

It’s one of those travel concerns that doesn’t really come to your mind until you’re faced with it. Do you like your bluetooth headphones? Great. But good luck watching the movie on your flight. Twelve South, in all its infinite wisdom, has designed a small wireless transmitter that plugs into the headphone jacks, so you can use your headphones with the seatback entertainment system. Turns out it’s also useful for hotel gym televisions.

The biggest downside here is the price – $ 30 doesn’t seem like a lot, but you can buy a pair of wired headphones for pretty cheap these days.

Price: $ 30
Available from: Amazon

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