The best tech to take on holiday

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Bluesmart Luggage

Bluesmart Luggage

This is the suitcase that does it all. Literally, all.

While you might get lost abroad, the Bluesmart Smart Suitcase won’t. It has built-in GPS that lets you track it anywhere in the world, so no more worries about your luggage going missing.

The Bluesmart can be controlled by a mobile app, which is great so long as your phone doesn’t run out of juice. Which it won’t, since this smart suitcase also contains a built-in power bank that’ll charge your phone up to six times (depending on its battery capacity).

There’s a built-in scale to make sure you don’t pack too much and get pulled up at the airport, plus a digital lock that keeps out thieves.

Better yet, it makes a decent suitcase for carrying your stuff, with easy access to all your belongings including a slot that’s ideal for your laptop.

You can still buy the original, which we’ve tried ourselves here at Tech Advisor, but there is also a newer version available from the Bluesmart website here.

Master Lock Connected Padlock

Master Lock Connected Padlock

That smart suitcase from Bluesmart looks awesome, but at £300 it could cost more than your holiday. If you’d rather buy a £10 case from eBay, you can still tech it up with smart Bluetooth padlocks from Noke or Master Lock that let you unlock your belongings using an app on your phone. It’s an awesome solution, with no keys to lose or codes to forget.

Solar chargers, car chargers & power banks

The one gadget we know you won’t be leaving home without (and fair play if you do) 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 is the Zendure A2. It’s a 6700mAh power bank that holds its charge incredibly well, is 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). You can buy the Zendure A2 from Amazon UK for £25.31.

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. Solstice Power Solutions sells a range of power banks that can be charged from the mains or using solar power. If you’re lucky enough to live in a hot country then they could mean you never need to pay to charge your phone again (how much does that cost anyway?), and if you’re going abroad it could be an extra handy solution if you’ve forgotten to take along a travel adaptor.

If you’re going to be driving for much of 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). Fast charging is imperative in the car, and we’ve rounded up the fastest car chargers you can buy in our Quick Charge 3.0 article.

Bluetooth speakers & headphones

No holiday is complete without music. Music for chilling on the beach, music for getting ready at night, and music because there’s not a lot else to do on the plane. But music can make you a very annoying passenger. A pair of headphones will be much appreciated by your fellow companions.

We wouldn’t advise taking an expensive pair of headphones on holiday with you. It’s all too easy to lose them when you’re 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. These earphones look expensive (they’re not, at just £40 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. There are some cheaper options in our best Bluetooth speakers group test, too.

Portable seats

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.

Those interested in the Sitpack can pick one up in one of five colours for £45 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 the internet, social networks and games at your fingertips.

Our personal favourite is the iPad, reviewed here. There are many more options in our best tablets group test.

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 Voyage is one of the best e-book readers you’ll find in the UK, sold directly from Amazon for £169.99. See more e-reader options here.

Mobile Wi-Fi

Data roaming 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.

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 UK mobile operator, but you can also take advantage of cheap PAYG SIMs abroad. It costs £69.16 from Amazon UK.

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.

Fitness trackers

My parents’ idea of a great holiday would involve a lot of hiking and taking in beautiful scenery. For me, holiday and walking go into the same sentence only when it involves walking to the bar, pool, beach or club.

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.)

Check out the best activity trackers in our group test.

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