You know this person: the one that flew back in for Christmas on the morning of, only to jet out to his or her next destination before the last mince pie has been eaten. What do you buy this person? We’ve got you covered with these suggestions.
We figure your travelling giftee will need one of three things: something to stay connected with on the road, tech-friendly luggage to travel with and/or gear they can stay healthy with on the road. Here are our tips.
The Globalgig Wi-Fi hotspot is a marvellous piece of tech that essentially makes huge data-roaming bills a thing of the past. That sounds like a huge gimmick, but after a few trials abroad we can attest to the fact that the Globalgig does, in fact, work.
Basically, you buy or rent the Globalgig pre-paid Wi-Fi hotspot, throw some credit at your account and you’re away! Connect to it like you would any Wi-Fi hotspot on your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. The data rates are infinitely cheaper than anything Telstra, Optus or Vodafone can offer, and it potentially beats out buying a SIM your destination city — both in cost and hassle.
The only issue with the Globalgig is that the company backing it only has roaming agreements in Australia (Optus), the United States (Sprint) and the UK (3). More countries are coming, though.
You could be forgiven for thinking that — on first glance — the Kogan Agora smartphone is fairly unremarkable. That is until you get into the guts of the proposition, however.
The Agora smartphone will only set you back $149 for a device laden with specs that normally would see you pay several hundred dollars more for, and it packs not one, but two SIM slots to make travelling a lot more conducive to those needing to stay connected.
Admittedly, you won’t get full functionality out of both SIM slots, but it’s the easiest way to get your hands on a great dual-SIM smartphone that won’t see you dipping into your travel money.
It might seem counter-intuitive to take a router away with you on your holiday, and it would be if you’re tearing one out of your wall at home. However, taking a Wi-Fi router away with you allows you to get away from the shoddy ad-hoc solution you’ve been using to connect you and your friends to the internet on the last few trips.
Usually you can head down to your local Dick Smith Electronics, JB Hi-Fi or other gadget retailer to get one for less than $120. That will keep you and your friends and colleagues connected better than any hotspot or smartphone can.
Mophie Duo Powerstation
Mophie make some amazing charging gear. From iPhone cases center through to laptop chargers. Out of all the products, though, the most versatile gadget is the Duo Powerstation. For $109.95 you get a 6000mAh battery pack with two USB charging points on it for you to charge everything from your smartphone and tablet center through to your camera gear.
The best thing is that it’s light, cheap and versatile so you won’t fill up your suitcase with unnecessary nonsense.
Belkin Universal Charger
The Belkin Universal AC/DC charger is a great way to keep your laptop charged while you travel without taking a bag full of adapters. Where you go is completely up to you and taking your laptop with you needn’t be a pain. The Belkin AC/DC travel charger is designed so you don’t have to worry about what sort of power you’re going to find overseas.
For $29.95, it supports a swathe of laptops so that you can take your pride and joy overseas without hassle.
If you’re a serious power-burner, the Mophie Juice packs might not do it for you. Why not get something with three times the power? That’s when you need the Energiser XP18,000. As the name suggest, the 18,000 has 18,000mAh of power — enough to keep damn near anything alive long enough to get something useful done.
International Universal Adaptors
If you’re only going to the one place, you can always make do with the simplest of travel gadgets: the humble country adaptor. Head to your local suitcase or travel goods store to get all sorts of adaptors for less than $20.
The FitBit Zip is the easiest way to get into tracking your activity while you travel. It’s great for telling you how many steps you have been doing and how that translates into calories burned. It’s lightweight, easy to use and simple enough to just clip on your backpack and forget.
The Mio Alpha is a revolution in heart rate monitoring. The most annoying thing about travel is the most annoying thing about fitness: fiddling with unnecessary crap. Normally, a heart rate monitor requires you to strap the thing to your chest and afterwards — if you’re travelling — you have to stick that sweaty band back in your suitcase. Gross. The Mio Alpha just slides around your wrist like a watch and gives you all the data you need in a quick and easy way. There are two green LEDs that shine into your skin on the back, and an electro-optical cell that senses the tiny changes in the colour of your skin, indicating the flow of your blood and thus your heart rate. It’s basically the same tech as medical oximeters that are used in hospitals, but miniaturised and wearable.
I’m a little biased towards the Jawbone Up. I own one because it’s the only fitness tracking band that doesn’t make you look like a Dalek. It’s trendy, stylish and fun. Sure, it doesn’t have Bluetooth for wireless syncing to your phone, but the style and comfort benefits you get from this over something like a Fitbit or Nike Fuelband are great. Buy this for a style-conscious fitness fanatic.
The Flex takes everything we loved about the original Fitbit One and threw it onto your wrist. Sadly, it doesn’t pack in an altimeter (to show you how many floors you have climbed), but it does have Bluetooth 4.0 so you can wirelessly sync your activity to your phone without having to worry about it.
If you’d rather a fitness tracker from a company who lives and breathes running, the Adidas miCoach is the one for you. It’s a smart watch from a running company that has been around forever, and features optical heart rate monitoring, storage for music streamed over Bluetooth, and compatibility with a web-based tracking platform to see how you’re training.
Having to carry something like a music player or even your smartphone while you’re working out really blows, which is why the best feature of Apple’s iPod Shuffle is the clip on the rear that lets you throw it onto your shirt or pants for handsfree music. The price is nice too!
The Backpack: Osprey Waypoint
Backpacks fall into two categories: the ones for casual day-to-day tasks, and those you’re going to use to store everything while roaming around the world. The Osprey Waypoint range combines the two, offering a dayback/main pack combo that’s great for round-the-world travellers. Available in 65-litre and 85-litre sizes.
The Carry-On Bag: Tumi Voyageur
We know; the price tag is as high as a trip to South-East Asia on a budget airline. However, if you’re a regular traveller and want a distinctive carry-on bag with solid wheels, adjustable handle and well-designed exterior pockets, this is a solid choice.
The Large Wheeled Suitcase: American Tourister Cube Alfa
Planning a shopping spree overseas? You need a lightweight suitcase with four wheels to breeze through airports. In this category, the American Tourister Cube Alfa is a classic, easy to handle and available in bcenter colours.
The Messenger: The Property Of . . . Tommy Work
If your main case is in the hold, you need something to carry the essentials. We like the Tommy Work from The Property Of . . . for its less office-centric design, handy pockets and modern wax-coated look.
What’s your favourite travel gift? Tell us in the comments!
Angus Kidman also contributed to this piece.