In relative terms, it wasn’t too long ago that those venturing from A to B set out armed only with the following: a horse, a vaguely chalked-up map, and the thoughts in their head. Then came the advent of motorised vehicles, with widespread aviation following not too far behind. To think that this evolution occurred over a mere matter of decades is patently mind-boggling. In recent years, though, the mechanics of travel have altered at a rate of knots. And as technology rapidly advances, so too does the manner in which travellers plan and execute their excursions.
Take the internet, for example. The very fact that you’re reading this sentence is testament to just how dependent we, as a species, have become on technology for information – particularly when planning a trip. Twenty years ago, keen holiday makers would scramble through brochures, procured from their local high street travel agent, as summer approached. Now, in the golden age, all manner of gizmos are available to aid you each step of the way. Here’s our guide to five of the better gadgets.
SpareOne Emergency Phone
We’ve all been there. Stranded on foreign soil, marooned from friends, and the battery on your mobile is as dead as a doornail. Or perhaps more frustratingly, there’s no signal to be found. This is where SpareOne comes into its own. Operating on just one AA battery, the SpareOne’s enhanced signal capabilities make it a must-have for anyone travelling to more remote regions. The phone charge lasts for a staggering 10 hours of talk time, and also has a handy 24-hour flashlight in case you’re caught short in the dark. This wonderful device can be purchased for a bargain £49.99 at www.spareone.co.uk.
Hardly a hidden gem – everyone and their mother owns Apple’s finest product nowadays – but they truly were tailor-made for those on the go. Whether you’re on the bus to work or a long-haul flight to New Zealand, the joy of loading up a device with thousands of your favourite songs and movies is immeasurable. The 160GB option allows for an incomprehensible 40,000 songs, or 200 hours of video footage. At around £199, it’s a prudent choice if you have a particularly extensive catalogue. The only downfall is the poor quality of headphones that come as standard: be sure to invest in a superior pair ahead of your trip.
One of the simple pleasures associated with any summer holiday is relaxing on the beach, or by the pool, and immersing yourself in a good book. The only quandary is deciding which novels to take, and which to leave at home, in the interest of preserving room in your suitcase. Thankfully, e-readers have eradicated this dilemma. With even the most basic models capable of holding some 3,000 works, you’ll be spoiled for choice: and if you get bored, you can switch your attentions at the swipe of a touchpad. Amazon have effectively cornered the market with their Kindle range, but shop around and you can find some equally efficient brands at competitive prices.
If you’re getting behind the wheel for your next adventure – and particularly if you’re traversing unfamiliar territory – finding your way can be daunting prospect. Gone are the days of pulling into lay-bys every 10 miles and cursing an oversized and outdated map; with satellite navigation technology leading the charge, you can master the roads. OK, chances are we’ve all been coerced down a dead end, or advised to take the next inexistent exit onto a phantom motorway, at some point. But for all their failings, the cheery voice always gets you safely to your destination in the end.
The plane has landed. You’ve stepped onto the tarmac and experienced your first blast of tropical heat. The holiday has truly begun! That is, until your luggage fails to appear at the baggage carousel. An instant catastrophe, as anyone who has been in the position will attest, and the tardiness of the airport staff in locating your suitcase only exacerbates the agony. Enter Trakdot. Simply pop the device into your luggage and, using an app on your phone, track exactly where your case is. On top of the £39.95 for the gadget, extra fees of £5.95 for activation and an annual £8.45 subscription are required: but can you really put a price on peace of mind?