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Car chargers & power banks
Here are some essential travel tech, especially if you're backpacking. The one gadget we know you won't be going anywhere without is your smartphone. Keeping it powered up on long journeys can be an issue, though, and for that you'll need either a car charger or a power bank.
We've rounded up 20 of the best power banks on the market in our best power banks group test, and our current favourite that you can get in both the UK and US is the Zendure A2. It's a 6700mAh power bank that holds its charge incredibly well.
Zendure A2 power bank
- RRP: £39.99/US$29.95
- Buy from Amazon for £26.99/$29.95
It's also extremely portable, tough enough to drive over in a car, and has enough power to charge up your phone two- to three times (depending on its battery capacity).
But the problem with power banks is that eventually they will run dry, and then you'll still need a mains port to recharge them. Well, not if you have a solar charger (see our round up of the best solar chargers here).
If you'll be driving a lot on your journey, also consider a car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter port (just be careful not to leave it in with the engine switched off for long periods - been there, done that).
Bluetooth speakers & headphones
We wouldn't advise taking an expensive pair of headphones on holiday with you. It's all too easy to lose them when you drunk drop them in the pool. We've reviewed a number of sub-£50 earphones in our best budget headphones group test, and a recent standout are the Rock Jaw V2.
Rock Jaw V2 Alfa Genus
The Rock Jaw is another essential travel accessory for backpackers, business travelers and family tourists alike. The earphones look expensive (they're not, at just £29.95 from Amazon), but more importantly they sound great for a pair of cheapies.
For when you're less likely to annoy other travellers - and, in fact, are wanting to share your tunes - a Bluetooth speaker will be more useful. Something like the Denon Envaya Mini (£79.99/$184.98). There are some cheaper options in our best Bluetooth speakers group test, too.
Okay, so it might not be as techy as the rest of our roundup, but the Sitpack is a must-have gadget for those that do a lot of walking when travelling. Designed to be the same shape as a 500ml can, it's portable and can be used almost anywhere to give you a quick break, whether waiting for a train or on a hike in the forest.
The real magic happens when you unfold it: the outer layer of the 'can' becomes a 13.5in polycarbonate seat, while the 34in telescopic leg is extended in seconds. While it may seem a little bit awkward at first, you get used to it within minutes and relax fairly quickly.
While admittedly it isn't as comfortable as sitting down in a soft chair, Sitpack claims that "it embodies the positive outcomes of resting with the right posture" by increasing blood circulation and encouraging a natural upper body posture, amongst other things.
The Sitpack is available in five colours at the Sitpack website.
E-readers & tablets
We all love a good break from everyday life, but we don't half miss the big screen in our living room. Tablets are the next best thing: not only can you catch up on all the great TV you're missing back home (you might need a VPN to check in with UK services such as iPlayer), but you've also got all of the internet, social networks and games at your fingertips.
If you'd rather be looking up tourist spots, restaurants and nightlife though, check out round up of the best travel apps for Android and iOS.
iPad 9.7 (2018)
The iPad is almost synonymous with "tablet", and with the release of the new iPad 9.7 you can get it for less (see the full review on our sister site, Macworld UK). There are many more options in our best tablets group test.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
- RRP: £119.99/$149.99
- Buy from Amazon
For some people an e-reader will be all they need, and they can think of nothing better than lying in the sun with a good book. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best e-book readers you'll find in the UK, sold directly from Amazon for £119.99/$149.99.
Data roaming outside the EU can be expensive, so the last thing you need is to have to pay out for internet on your phone, tablet and all the kids devices, nor do you want to pay expensive hotel Wi-Fi charges. MiFi lets you share a mobile connection from a single SIM with up to 10 devices, meaning you pay only once.
- RRP: £84.99/$129
- Buy from Amazon
We love the TP-Link M7350, which has a built-in LCD screen that shows you how much battery remains, how strong is the signal, how much data has been used, how many devices are connected and so on. It also has a microSD slot, which lets you share up to 32GB of storage across networked devices.
The beauty of the TP-Link is that it's unlocked, so not only can you use it with any SIM from any mobile operator, but you can also take advantage of cheap PAYG SIMs abroad.
If you'd rather get a MiFi device for free and pay for it over a monthly contract as you would your phone bill, check out some of your other options in our MiFi buying guide.
If walking is your thing, tech can help you keep track of how far you've gone, how many calories you've burned and even how close you are to your daily goal. (In my case it can also show you how long – and how deeply – you've slept.)
Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 earned an excellent 4.5 stars out of 5 in our review. It has GPS tracking and a heart-rate monitor, it records fitness statistics, offers guided breathing sessions, and measures sleep. It probably gives you more insight than you may ever need on a holiday, but at least you can bask in the satisfaction of knowing you've burnt some calories (even if it's a casual waltz over to the tiki bar).
Another great option is the Misfit Ray if you're on a tighter budget. Though it doesn't have a screen like the Fitbit Charge 3, it is swim-proof, can send call and text notifications, and of course can track steps, distance, calories and sleep as well.
Check out the best activity trackers in our group test.
Jet Lag Calculator
It's not a gadget as such, but this free Jet Lag Calculator could come in very useful if you're the sort of person who needs a holiday to get over your holiday.
The Jet Lag Calculator will work out a Jet Lag Plan that will help you get back to normal as quickly as possible, but you must remember to fill it in three days before you travel.