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Back in the day, backpacker travel must-haves were rucksack, travel towel, guidebook and after-shave. 2013 sophistication offers a more expansive travel-technology toolkit, guaranteed to enhance any lonely-planet trek. Here are five of the best technology essentials for travellers.
SpareOne Mobile Phone
This is simply a barebones phone that works anywhere using just one AA lithium Energizer battery. Stripped of all power-hungry features, the SpareOne mobile phone delivers an incredible 10 hours talk-time and a battery life of 15 years. In an emergency, just load any mobile SIM (or pre-load a PAYG SIM) and make your call. There’s also a handy micro-SIM adaptor stored inside along with the pin needed to remove an iPhone micro-SIM; so all bases are covered. A built-in torch, red button to call emergency services, and 9 speed-dial buttons, complete the rescue package.
No-frills Wi-Fi hotspots at travel destinations, famous coffee-houses, hotels and the like, are astonishingly insecure. Web browsing, e-mail and any other broadcast data are easily visible to all, compromising data privacy. Private Wi-Fi sorts this problem. It works the same as antivirus or firewall software, hiding your data from view whilst building a safe pathway from your Internet connection to a sound and secure Internet gateway. A monthly subscription gets you peace of mind and safe access to the Internet for devices such as the iPhone and iPad (iOS 4.0+), Android Phone and tablets (Android 4.0+), from any Internet connection.
Trakdot Luggage Tracker
A stress-free luggage management system, the Trakdot just sits inside a case or bag. Once registered, this smart little device befriends cell networks to suss out and continuously update its location. It will turn off just before takeoff and restart on landing, instantly reporting its new location via the dedicated Trackdot phone app. This app will also transmit an alert when Trackdot gets closer than 30 feet. Tracking is also available via the Trackdot web site. After purchase, there is a small annual service fee to remain permanently in luggage nirvana.
TripIt Pro App
The TripIt Pro app is a brainy personal travel assistant. It works in the style of iPhone Passbook as a simple one-stop solution to organising travel arrangements. Just forward travel confirmation e-mails to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and let the app take over. The e-mail address is recognised, and accommodation and travel details organised into easy-to-see itineraries in a common format, no matter which airline or service is used. Flight tracking keeps an eye on reservations and updates information on changes, with alerts for delays or cancellations via text or e-mail.
The Lifeproof Nüüd
Constructed with extreme-adventure lifestyles in mind, the Lifeproof Nüüd protects an iPad from much more than heavy-duty net-surfing. This rugged black case has a tough polycarbonate frame covered in shock-absorbing elastomer which can withstand falls from 1.2 metres. A rubber O-ring seals and protects against rain, snow, dirt, sand and more. The iPad screen itself is waterproof, so there’s no separate screen protector and it’s still easy to use and access iPad functions. Lifeproof’s “naked screen technology” seals directly around the screen, keeping water well away from the electronics. Accessories are available too, including a bright orange Lifeproof Lifejacket allowing the iPad to float if it’s dropped into water.