New High-Tech Travel Gear
The right gear can make your next vacation or business trip easier or just more fun. From the whimisical to the practical, check out these cool tools to consider before you hit the road again.
LockSmart Travel, from Dog & Bone
Even the TSA approves of LockSmart, a padlock that connects to your luggage via Bluetooth. Now you don’t have to worry about losing a key; you can control one lock or multiples on your suitcases with an app for your iOS or Android device. A special lithium-ion battery gives you up to 3,000 “opens” before you have to recharge (which you can do with a micro USB). Need to let someone else into your bags? LockSmart lets you share access and keeps a record of each user’s name and the date and time the bag was opened. Revoke other users’ access anytime you wish.
Marriott Hotels VR Postcards
Time can drag when you’re in a hotel, waiting for an appointment or trying to entertain the kids. Marriott’s VRoom Service helps fill those boring hours with virtual reality storytelling. To use VRoom, you simply call a dedicated Marriott extension, or use Marriott’s Mobile Request app for Apple or Android, to have a Samsung Gear VR headset and headphones delivered to your room. Then choose a VR Postcard and experience a real traveler’s journey, in 360 degrees 3-D, to one of several destinations. The first VR Postcards were filmed in Chile’s Andes Mountains, an ice cream shop in Rwanda and Beijing. Vroom isn’t available everywhere yet, but Marriott plans to add more locations and postcard options as time goes by.
BRV-PRO Speaker, by Braven
The BRV-PRO Portable Bluetooth Speaker with integrated speakerphone has your number when you’re catching a wave and can’t-miss when that critical conference call comes in. The rugged little speaker has an aluminum housing and an IPX7 waterproof rating, so it resists water, dust and more. You can add accessories like a folding solar panel to keep your speaker charged all day; an action mount, so you can take your speaker on your surfboard or mountain bike; and an external battery pack that can double its typical 30-hour playing time (although playing time depends on your personal usage, of course).
ili Wearable Translator
Push and talk. That’s basically all you have to do when you use the ili Wearable Translator to speak to someone in another language. This nifty little device lets you communicate in English, Japanese or Chinese. Other languages, including French, Thai, Korean, Spanish, Italian and Arabic are on the drawing board. You don’t need a Wi-Fi, 3G or any other Internet connection, although you can use the ili’s docking station to download updates as they become available.
Yes, this is a stretch; an electric drone isn’t your typical “gear.” But this electric UAV, or autonomous aerial vehicle, is so amazing, we had to share it. Created in China and made to travel over short to medium distances, the EHang 184 (named for one passenger, 8 propellers, and 4 “arms”) is controlled by EHang’s real-time flight command center, so you don’t need a pilot’s license to reach your destination. Can you imagine how much time this would save on your daily commute?
Tripit Pro from Concur
Toss that day planner. The Tripit Pro Travel App for iOS and Android organizes your travel plans, alerts you to flight delays and gate changes, watches the window seat you’re hoping to snag, helps track your flying points and more. The app syncs across devices and includes directions, maps and weather info. If your flight is cancelled and you're not going to make that big meeting, use it to share your itinerary, so your boss won't start to fume when you don't show up.
Forget the water wings. The Kingii Wearable is a lightweight wristband containing a floatation device that works like a small, underwater airbag. When you get that sinking feeling, so to speak, just lift a lever to activate the replaceable CO2 cylinder, and the bag inflates and pops you to the surface. The wristband includes a compass and whistle, and the bright orange color of the floatation device helps attract attention when you need it.