brings challenges both maddening and mundane: fees for
overweight suitcases, tight fits in overhead bins, lost
luggage and ever-shifting security policies.
Fortunately, gadget makers have your back, inventing all
kinds of new devices that may bail you out on a trip and
still fit in a carry-on suitcase.
reviewing the best of whatís new, weíve chosen seven
time-saving and stress-reducing gadgets to help you
check your travel troubles at the gate.
no fun having to unpack your overweight luggage at the
check-in counter to transfer a few pounds of your
unmentionables to another suitcase so you can avoid
Balanzza Mini compact hand-held scale lets you weigh
your luggage before you get to the airport and avoid
hassle and embarrassment.
the USB-powered scale to your suitcase and lift the
ergonomic handle. After a few seconds, the back-lit
screen displays the weight in pounds or kilograms. The
handy scale is about the size of a harmonica, weighs
only a few ounces, and stows easily.
& Leisure named the Balanzza Mini one of its
Ultimate Travel Essentials picks, raving that the little
luggage scale is "so functional you can use it on
autopilot." Wirecutter calls the Balanzza Mini the
next best thing to smart luggage with a built-in scale.
Mini luggage scale on Amazon: $24.95
isnít quite over yet, which means trying to find space
in your suitcase for bulky items such as jackets and
sweaters. Itís easy to use a vacuum cleaner with
compression bags when youíre packing for a trip at
home. But what do you do once you get to your
destination and unpack?
Vago vacuum compressor solves the problem with a spice
jar-sized device that CNET says "makes it easy to
vacuum pack your luggage." And who couldnít use a
little more room for the souvenirs and gifts we all pick
up during your travels? The process is simple. Put your
bulky clothes inside the compression bag, attach the
micro USB-charged compressor and press a button. In less
than five minutes, your clothes will shrink to half
their previous size. A pressure sensor automatically
turns off the compressor once all the excess air is
con: The Vago comes with only one medium-sized bag, and
additional bags arenít cheap at $18.99 to $20.99
(depending on the size).
vacuum compressor on Amazon: $69.99
nothing beats the feeling of putting pen to paper ó
even if you want the results to end up in digital form
eventually. The Moleskine smart-writing set lets you
take notes and draw pictures in one of its distinctive
journals as your work syncs in real time to a smartphone
or tablet. The mobile app can transcribe handwritten
words into digital text in 15 languages.
Magazine named the Moleskine smart notebook its Editorsí
Choice for digital note-taking devices, praising it as
"an impressive note-taking solution, combining the
familiar tactile feel of writing in a notebook with
convenient modern technology."
first glance, the notebook looks just like any other
Moleskine with its elastic strap enclosure.
flip it open, and a dotted grid on the
technology-embedded pages pairs the notebook with an
infrared camera-enabled smart pen. The companion app
lets you adjust stroke thickness or change the ink color
on the fly. The micro USB-powered penís onboard memory
can store up to 1,000 pages if you happen to be away
from your phone or tablet (like that would ever happen).
one knock: Itís expensive.
smart writing set on Amazon: $199.99
can take very fine pictures, but what if you want to
elevate your photography to the amazing level without
the hassle of lugging around a bulky digital SLR camera?
from a company called Moment let you take DSLR-quality
photos with either an iPhone or Android. Mount one of
its wide-angle or telephoto attachments over your phoneís
lens and youíre ready to go. The wide lens expands
your field of view beyond your phoneís fixed lens to
capture two times more picture while the telephoto lens
offers four times the optical zoom with less image
says Moment has the best wide-angle and telephoto
lenses, producing impressively clear images with little
distortion. "For avid smartphone photographers
concerned about high-quality, print-ready results,
Moment lenses are worth the investment," says the
DSLR lenses: $89.99 (telephoto) and $99.99 (wide angle)
you need a little extra peace of mind when youíre
traveling to an unfamiliar place.
Lewis N. Clark travel alarm is a reusable sensor that
attaches to a door or window in seconds, adding a layer
of protection to your hotel, Airbnb or hostel room while
youíre out or asleep.
set it up, just slide the motion-sensor blades into the
crack between the door and the doorframe, loop the cord
around the doorknob and set the alarm. When triggered,
the alarm produces a high-pitched sound and flashing LED
light that alerts you and, hopefully, deters intruders.
alarm runs on two lithium button cell batteries and
doubles as an LED flashlight. The pocket-sized device
weighs only a couple ounces and fits comfortably in your
Points Guy calls the Lewis N. Clark travel door alarm a
"great little accessory."
N. Clark travel door alarm on Amazon: $11.99
that ridiculous-looking selfie stick for a pocket-sized
photo drone that takes photos and video from up to 65
feet in the air. The AirSelfie photo drone is the size
of a cell phone and weighs about two ounces. The micro
USB-powered drone can fly for about three minutes on a
charge. To launch the drone, you just toss it in the air
and swipe the take-off switch on AirSelfieís
smartphone app, which also lets you control the drone.
Built-in sonar and a visual sensor help steady it in the
air. Be aware: Rules regarding drone flight vary by
state and country, with some locales banning their
files are transferred wirelessly to your smartphone from
the droneís four-gigabyte memory. Mashable says the
"pocket-sized flying camera takes the perfect
aerial selfies." Forbes says the drone
"delivers Snapchat-worthy selfies." The
recently announced AirSelfie2 upgrades the camera
quality, battery life and memory capacity of the
downside: The five-megapixel camera isnít fantastic,
but it still takes sharp photos, according to Forbes.
photo drone: $339
easy to misplace things when youíre traveling,
especially in unfamiliar environments where nothing is
where it usually is. Fortunately, thereís a small
solution to this big problem: Attach one of Tileís
smaller Tile Mate trackers to anything you want to find
if it should ever get lost: Your keys, passport, wallet,
suitcase or even a wandering child. Youíll know
exactly where they are at all times via a smartphone
Tile Mate uses Bluetooth wireless to connect with an app
on your phone. If itís within range (100 to 200 feet,
depending on the model), you can push a button on the
app to make the Tile sound a ringing noise. Lost your
phone? The Tile Mate can find that, too. Press the
button in the middle of the tiny square fob twice, and
your phone will ring, even in silent mode. The Tile Mate
can even track possessions outside of your Bluetooth
range. Anyone with the Tile app open immediately picks
up the location of any nearby trackers and updates Tileís
home-grown network with their latest location.
Points Guy calls the Tile Mate the "best little
travel companion." Popular Mechanics says it
"can be a lifesaver if youíre hotel hopping
around the world."
Mate Bluetooth tracker on Amazon: $19.99