Modern Nomad is a weekly column dedicated to mobile gear, must-see world destinations, tips for life on the road, and traveling better through technology.
Gone are the days when new travel gadgets debuted but once a year at industry electronics shows. Today’s pace of innovation now means shopping every three months to keep up with “the next big thing.” An Airbus-load of killer travel tech launched at this year’s annual CES convention, but here are just four gadgets we’re already stoked about.
Modern air travel has been described as “hours of boredom punctuated with seconds of sheer terror.” Cocktails and an iPad can do wonders to alleviate both, but there’s that nagging problem of where to put them. Given that seatback tray tables are among the nastiest surfaces air travelers are likely to encounter, they’re just not an option. The Airhook is a simple, flexible device that sets up in seconds and provides a clean space to rest your drink and mount your tablet or smartphone within easy reach. Available for $25 (USD).
Plantronics BackBeat SENSE Headphones
Plantronics has long been the headphone company for travelers and their latest BackBeat SENSE up the ante even further. The list of high-tech features is lengthy but two, in particular, stand out for road warriors. Bluetooth wireless functionality means fewer cables cluttering your pack and a jaw-dropping 18-hour battery life can keep your head bobbing all the way from New York to Sydney. Plus, the understated design is sleek as hell. Available in Black/Espresso or White/Tan for $180 (USD).
LithiumCard – Hypercharger
While most backup batteries practice the “bigger is better” mantra, ThinkGeek’s LithiumCard promises just enough juice for those emergency power situations. The card is thin enough (the thickness of five credit cards) to slip in a wallet with enough power for roughly a 50% charge on an iPhone 5S. As a bonus, the card features an ultra-durable aluminum chassis with a sturdy Kevlar cable. Available in Lightning or Micro USB for $50 (USD).
These days, smartphones are the digital hub of most traveler’s toolkits. But their inherent lack of storage often means having to decide in advance which songs, videos, and photos to take on the road. Eggcyte’s Egg alleviates this problem by creating a sort of cloud service that you can carry with you. The pint-sized unit acts as a personal, encrypted media bank that connects directly to your smartphone to easily access your entire media collection from anywhere in the world. What’s more: it doubles as a Wi-Fi hotspot with the capability to privately and securely share your files with friends and family. Available from $199 (USD).