Spring and summer travel seasons are almost upon us, which brings more opportunities to tick off an enticing bucket list destination. As any seasoned explorer knows, where you intend on vacationing dictates the type of gear you bring along for the journey. And this year’s barrage of intriguing travel gadgets at the annual Consumer Electronics Show will help you go on practically any adventure you’re aspiring toward.
This year’s CES finished up in late January, and a couple months later the critics and travel aficionados have put their favorite gadgets to the test. Here are seven fun, quirky options from CES that you may find cool—and even useful—to consider while you hunt for your next vacation deal.
AMPL SmartBag: This so-called “smart backpack” is designed to keep your electronics charging while you’re on the go. It also substitutes as a power strip if you need to simultaneously charge several items and you’re near a power outlet. The water-resistant bag has enough built-in chargers that you can power up to seven items at once via USB, and the pack’s internal battery has enough juice that you can recharge your phone two or three times while you’re out snagging photos and videos. If you’re the forgetful type when it comes to luggage, the bag connects to your smartphone and can set off an alarm if you forget about it and walk away—or if anybody tries to steal it from you.
Bedphones: The worst part about traveling in hostels or other shared-room experiences is being stuck with obnoxiously loud sleepers. People who mumble in their sleep, snores that surpass decibel monitor readings, or folks who insist that they must sleep with blaring music. Earplugs have that annoying tendency of hurting after a while, or slipping out of your ear while you toss and turn during the night. That’s the obstacle that Bedphones tackles, and critics are saying these over-the-ear headphones are doing a solid job at making traveling less stressful. The headphone is designed to be worn while sleeping and blocks out obnoxious noises that always come with traveling. You can even play your own sound to drown out everything else if you need a bit of white noise.
Digitsole Smartshoe: It might not win many fashion awards, but this smartshoe will make trekking around cities by foot a lot more comfortable. The shoe charges wirelessly and is controlled by a smartphone, which lets you adjust the internal feet warmers, calorie tracker, and lights. Plus the shoes automatically tighten, loosen and adjust insoles to manage shock absorption as you move among different terrains.
Logbar ili: This personal translator gained the most attention in CES coverage this year. It’s not quite market ready yet, but the disposable-lighter sized device is designed to be worn around the neck, and automatically translates dialogue between two people in their native dialect and languages. This should eliminate the need of awkwardly fumbling with Google Translate, or a worrying about a data signal to look up how to say something.
Nikon D5500: Capturing a perfect image can make or break vacations. Sometimes your phone and a hideous selfie stick will do the job, but on other occasions you might crave a camera with more gusto, options and creative possibilities. Nikon’s new Wi-Fi connected, 24.2 megapixel camera is smaller than most DSLRs, shoots in 1080p and has a Vari-angle touch screen, which makes it easier to take photos from awkward angles. The sleek design, respectable battery life and suite of customization options has made photography travelers line up in anticipation.
ONAGOfly drone: This drone is tiny, measuring slightly less than 5” wide and 2” tall. The pocket-sized drone takes off and lands automatically, and it can be controlled to follow you via gps or smartphone. Although the flying camera can only capture 1080p footage while flying for about 15 minutes before running out of juice, the aerial possibilities for action sports is endless. You can even use the drone as a scouting tool for potentially sketchy hiking or canyoneering areas, all without putting yourself in danger.
Philips FL3X speaker: The rugged speaker is water, dust and shock resistant and is roughly the size and shape of a cookie. It connects via USB or Bluetooth with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours. The cookie speaker can become the size of a water cup if you yank on the sides of the speaker, which expand upward and makes a sound chamber that enhances the bass.