New, crowdfunded travel gadgets are a dime-a-dozen on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It seems hundreds or more launch every day, but it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. How many ever go into production anyway? Here are three of our favorite pre-production travel gadgets that hold the most promise for globetrotters.
Travis Personal Voice Translator
Within the next decade, the idea of “foreign languages” may just become a moot point for travelers. Instant translation technology is fast-evolving to be able to fit in your pocket. The curiously named Travis is a palm-sized, universal device with the power to instantly translate 80 of the world’s most common languages. It’s designed for face-to-face communication, so no earphones are necessary. It relies on a noise-canceling microphone to automatically detect spoken words in any of the listed languages and provide translation at the touch of a button. The crowdsourced project has already raised more than ¾ of a million dollars, so it’s clear plenty of travelers believe the hype.
Pricing: Early-bird pricing of $149 USD ($199 retail)
Estimated availability: September 2017
PLIQO Carry-On Folding Garment Bag
Spending all day traveling in a suit, well, sucks. But, there are few ideal solutions to packing your suit so that you won’t arrive to find a wrinkled mess in your carry-on. The PLIQO Folding garment bag aims to solve that problem with an ingenious, patent-pending design that folds down to the size of an average laptop bag (just 16 x 12 x 3.5 inches). Its diminutive size qualifies as a piece of hand luggage, so that travelers can carry it into almost any airline cabin in addition to their normal piece of carry-on luggage. Fully expanded, it measures 50 inches by 26 inches, which is large enough for most pieces of formal wear. Through a series of buckles, pockets, and folds, travelers can easily pack a single suit down with little to no creasing.
Pricing: Early-bird pricing of approximately $150 USD (£120)
Estimated availability: October 2017
MICRO Universal Travel Adapter
There’s nothing especially sexy about a power plug. But, what’s less sexy is frying your smartphone, laptop, or portable espresso maker in a foreign country because you didn’t pack the right adapter. Enter MICRO — a universal travel adapter designed to work in 150 countries. Similar adapters have been around since the last century, so the concept is nothing new. But, what sets MICRO apart is its tiny form factor — in stark contrast to most standard, baseball-sized adapters on the market, it weighs just 40g and is about the size of a few AA batteries bundled together. Plus, it offers built-in surge protection with a replaceable fuse to virtually guarantee the safety of your digital gear and making this one of the most cost-effective travel gadgets in pre-production. The respective Kickstarter project has been funded by nearly 10,000 backers and over $500,000 USD (on a meager goal of less than $20,000).
Pricing: Early-bird pricing of approximately $29 USD (£23)
Estimated availability: December 2017