Vacation tech essentials

Vacation tech essentials
Posted on June 28, 2017 12:13

Along with a few ANKRs, this is the tech stuff our team packs for summer travel.

With summer travels coming up, we’re digging in to replenish our stock of travel tools.

Like most people in 2017, even when we plan to log off as we leave town, there’s a certain amount of connectivity we can’t totally live without, so we try to be prepared.

Key things we always pack, obviously: ANKRs on everything we’d like to see come home with us. Beyond that, here’s what always goes in our ANKRd bags:


1. Tech organizer

Next to custom ANKRs, this is one of our favorite gifts to give. Lots of companies sell tech dopp kits already outfitted with boilerplate essentials, but putting your own together gives things a custom look and lets you include personalized tools. We start with the organizer — something like this Dwellbee leather one — and pack it with extra chargers, adaptors, an emergency power bank, a few flash drives, and depending on the recipient, some more specific items… iPhone tripod, extra SD cards, screen wipes for the clean freaks, stuff like that. We keep ours packed and ready to go all the time, so it can just get stuffed in a bag. One less thing to worry about.

2. Portable power bank

Speaking of portable power banks, ANKER — no relation — makes particularly good and affordable ones that help take the dead-battery stress out of traveling. We like their PowerCore+ 13400mAh Portable Charger, because you can high-speed charge multiple devices at once, and it usually charges up three phones/tablets before it’s cooked. It only takes about five hours to recharge, too.

3. Wireless earbuds

For ease of packing, if nothing else, wireless earbuds are a revelation — hardly any space taken up, no tangles, etc. They have their issues, but for travel, bluetooth is tough to beat. Apple’s AirPods are the best-known, but we also like the Jabra Elite Sport — they’re waterproof and have a fitness analyzer function, which is fun/useful when you’re hoofing around. Cool option coming online soon, too: There’s a crowdfunding campaign going for Zolo’s Liberty+ earphones, which the makers claim will solve the major bluetooth earphone issues, like battery life, unreliability and iffy sound quality. Definitely worth keeping an eye on, and/or backing if you’re really intrigued. (They expect delivery in October.)

4. Travel bluetooth speaker

For musical accompaniment on the beach/deck/mountaintop. You can always throw your phone in a bowl for a low-tech solution, but you get better results with a small bluetooth speaker. Like most tech gadgets, you have a million options, but for summer travel, we’re putting tiny size and water resistance at a premium. So we like Polk Audio’s Swimmer Jr. It’s tiny — about the size of a showerhead with a tail — and it’s waterproof (you can dunk it for up to 30 minutes in up to three feet of water). Plus, the bendable tail can be used to hang it off of whatever’s around — tree limbs, deck railings, etc.

5. Streaming device

Something else to stick in your tech organizer, if you don’t like to miss your stories while you travel. Sure, you can always watch on your laptop or tablet, but if you wanted to enjoy something with your traveling companions, having a streaming stick is better/worth it. Other devices have more perks, but for traveling, we stick with simple and cheap, like the Chromecast, which is $35 and tiny.

6. Travel router

No one wants to be tied to a laptop while they’re traveling, but you’ll probably spend at least a little time on the internet, and there are two main reasons you’ll want a travel router with you. First, hotel wifi tends to be iffy — with all those guests competing for bandwidth, slow and inconsistent access is likely. Maybe more importantly, when you’re out using public wifi, privacy can be questionable. Your own router helps in both cases. Nowadays, decent ones are crazy cheap and crazy small — this AC750 Wireless Travel Router from TP-Link is under $45 (sometimes cheaper), and it’s less than three inches square.

7. Phone photography lenses

We have serious photography buffs on our team who wouldn’t travel without a DSLR. But for those of us who are less pro and still want to capture images that are a little more interesting than a naked phone can manage, it’s worth it to grab a few lenses. There are loads of these on the market, from budget kits to serious, pro-grade options. We like olloclip’s offerings, like this Active Lens Set, which has telephoto and ultras-wide lenses, and is easy to snap on your phone.

While you’re packing up your travel essentials, grab ANKRs for the important stuff here. If you want a personalized look for everyone in the family, custom ANKRs are the way to go.

Safe travels, and happy hunting,