Summer is rapidly approaching and with it the possibility of getting away, whether within the UK or to one of the countries on the green list.
It’s 2021 and holidays no longer mean leaving all your worldly possessions behind but your phone, tablet, e-reader, headphones and even your smartwatch all need to be kept ticking. To keep them charged, organised and ready to go, here’s a quick guide to the best tech gear.
Travelling is stressful enough without having to listen to the drone of engines or fellow passengers. The tried and tested Bose QC35 II noise-cancelling headphones can at least give you a bit of peace and quiet. They have reliable Bluetooth or cable, last at least 20 hours on a charge, are super comfortable, fold up for travel and are built to last.
For a budget version, Anker’s Soundcore Q30 offer Bluetooth, good noise reduction, reasonable sound quality and a battery life that takes some beating, and costs as little as £60 in black, blue or pink.
The Sonos Roam is so good you’ll want to use it at home as well as on the road.
For group-listening a Bluetooth speaker is the answer. There are hundreds of cheap, crappy ones available but if you want something that looks and sounds good and works so well that you’ll want to use it at home, too, the Sonos Roam is fantastic. It has wifi for the home, Bluetooth for the road, water resistance and a durable construction, plus 10-hour battery life, and is only about the size of a 500ml bottle.
The small but mighty UE Wonderboom 2 offers big sound for a bit less.
If you want something a little cheaper but just as durable with big sound, the UE Wonderboom 2 can be had for about £70. The compact Bluetooth speaker is drop-proof, has 13 hours of battery life and water resistance.
Power adapters are a modern travel essential. If you want something you can plug your hairdryer into that’ll charge your phone, too, the well-reviewed Hyleton Worldwide Travel Adapter does the double. It will take a UK plug with slide-out adapters for US, EU, UK and Australian sockets, and has five USB ports for your gadgets.
For more powerful gadgets, a multicharger supporting 110-240V with a detachable figure-8 lead is the way to go – just swap the lead with the right plug on the end for as little as £4. The compact, high-powered RAVPower 65W PD four-port charger is my pick, with USB-A and USB-C ports capable of charging most modern gadgets from smartphones to laptops.
If a plug isn’t in reach, portable battery chargers are the next best thing. The Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD is compact, weighs about the same as a large phone and has enough power to fast charge most smartphones twice and even tablets about once, with its USB-A and USB-C ports.
Only the size of a fat lipstick, the PowerCore 5000 has enough juice to charge a phone and is compact enough to fit in a handbag or pocket.
The Chromecast is the simple phone-to-TV streaming gadget you can take on the road.
Chances are you might have to deal with the great British weather on holiday this year. If you’re stuck indoors, a £25 Chromecast can put your Netflix, iPlayer and others on practically any TV. Just plug it into the back, connect to the wifi and command it from your phone. Note Chromecasts can struggle with hotel wifi that has login pages.
If a Chromecast is a no-go and you have a modern Android phone or tablet, or a PC laptop or tablet, a USB-C to HDMI cable can hook it up to a TV like an external monitor. All PCs and Macs with USB-C ports will work, while many higher-end Android tablets and smartphones will, too, but not Apple’s iPhone and most iPads.
If your travel plans involve a hire car, packing a suction-cup windscreen mount can take the hassle out of navigating by turning your smartphone into a satnav. Costing from about £6, mounts range in strength and size, with Ugreen’s well-reviewed model fitting most smartphones for £13. Note most employ sticky pads with suction to stay in place, so need cleaning if they get dusty.
Alternatively, if your hire car is modern it should have Android Auto or Apple Carplay. Just plug in your phone with a USB cable to put Google or Apple Maps on the built-in display.
Modern life is inescapably plagued with cables for phones, tablets, game consoles or even just headphones. A cable organiser can make wrangling them on holiday a bit easier. They come in a variety of sizes, from rollup tool bags to hard-case boxes, with elastic loops to keep individual cables out the way. My pick are the zippered wallets that are small enough to shove in your hand luggage, such as the £13 Bagsmart.