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Do you have a friend or family member that's obsessed with traveling? This guide to travel tech gifts will give you plenty of ideas for those with wanderlust. We cover everything from noise-canceling headphones for peace and quiet at 30,000 feet to a wheeling suitcase that can charge smartphones and lock itself remotely. Now you’ll just need to convince the person you’re gifting to stay in town long enough to receive one of these gadgets.
Our Top Picks
Sony WH1000XM2 Headphones
A clutch set of phones can make any excessively long plane ride way more bearable and these Sony options fit the bill perfectly. First, a note about noise-canceling: headphones that offer this feature do so by actually producing a very small amount of noise that offsets and cancels out the noise of your surroundings. Normally, this can alter the sound quality, so it’s best to use care when buying headphones that do that. In the case of traveling, though, noise-canceling phones are the perfect plane companion because they can muffle the dull roar of the engine. The Sony WH1000XM2 offers that tech, plus full-sounding 40mm drivers, a super-wide 4–40,000Hz frequency response curve, Bluetooth connectivity and up to 30 hours of battery life. Its arguably one of the most comfortable constructions out there and a super unique feature lets you quickly pause your music and turn off the noise-canceling to hear the ambient sounds around you.
Reading on some remote beach is one of life’s undeniable pleasures, but 20 pounds of books stuffed into your carry-on is one of life’s undeniable displeasures. The now-standard solution to this problem is the Kindle eBook reader and the Paperwhite expands on the original in some pretty great ways. Just like old models, you have access to the full breadth of eBooks available on Amazon, but the Paperwhite also offers variable backlighting whether you’re reading by day or night, 300 ppi to help eliminate eye strain, a no-glare screen and weeks of battery life on a single charge. The best part? The thing weighs less than six ounces.
Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
It’s hard to deny a bag’s travel ability when they put “TSA Checkpoint Compliant” right in the title. And it is true – this bag comes with a removable laptop sleeve that easily goes in and out, so you can zip through security lines. The bag is 21 x 14 x 9 inches and holds up to 40 liters by volume. It’s made of super water-repellent tarpaulin and it’s seriously organizable with a designated water bottle pocket, a place for valuables, anRFID-protected pocket (take that, hackers), compartments for shoes and toiletries, an included laundry bag and more.
Electronics Organizer Travel Bag
Many of us have experienced the clutter and chaos of charging cords and plugs at one point or another, and this electronics organizer from Amatory can help sort it all out. The pouch opens like a book to offer three dividers with designated pockets and holders for specific items. On the first divider, there’s a large pocket with Velcro closures to hold up to a 10.5-inch laptop, as well as mesh pouches for phones or power packs. Flip to the next divider to find elastic straps and more mesh pockets for chargers, plugs, converters, headphones and USB ports. The entire organizer zips closed, is made of a water-resistant material and comes in seven different colors, including gray, light blue, coffee and gold.
GoTenna Off-Grid Mobile Mesh Network
If the person you’re shopping for likes to travel internationally or to remote locations, the GoTenna can help keep them connected where there is no cell service. These little devices act as their own mesh communication network, allowing users to send encrypted messages to one another through an app without the use of a cell phone carrier. They are great for staying in touch on cruise ships, in foreign countries, in remote areas or in case of an emergency or natural disaster when cell service is down. GoTennas can also be placed in strategic stationary locations to allow users to create a larger network of connectivity. The kit comes with two devices.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Stay with us here: a smart thermostat is the perfect gift for a traveler. Not because they can take it with them, but because they can take with them the peace of mind that they can control their thermostat from across the world. The Nest system offers Energy Star-rated control of your home, has tons of smart tech that learns when you’re home, when you’re not and even when you’re across the room and want the screen to light up to show you the temperature. But it’s the Wi-Fi control that offers the travel-minded perk of being able to whip out your phone, turn down the heat and watch those energy savings roll in, even if you’re on a beach in Cancun.
Tablet Holder and Neck Pillow
Propping up a tablet to watch a movie on the go just became a lot easier with the AMC two-in-one convertible travel pillow. The pillow is designed with elastic corners to easily hold a 9.5-inch screen in place, with another band on the back that attaches it to a headrest. It’s also great to prop up in the hotel bed or Airbnb couch and has a little pocket for headphones, pens or other small items. When it’s time to catch some sleep, the holder converts into a classic U-shaped neck pillow with small beads that can be adjusted to put support where it’s needed.
Etekcity RoverBeats T3 Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Whether heading to the beach, going camping or simply traveling with friends, portable speakers are a great way to keep the entertainment going. The Etekcity RoverBeats T3 is a top choice for a portable speaker and has an impressive wireless Bluetooth connection range of up to 33 feet. The rechargeable lithium battery can last up to eight hours, while the built-in microphone allows for hands-free phone calls. The speaker measures 4.9 x 3.1 x 2.9 inches, small enough to fit in a coat pocket or front pouch of a carry-on bag, and weighs 9.4 ounces. It comes with a USB charging cable and a carrying case.
JOOMFEEN Travel Adapter
Think of this thing as the Rolls Royce of travel power adapters. It converts standard AC outlet power between 150 different countries employing EU, US, UK and AU plug technology. But it goes beyond the standard conversion: it gives you two USB inputs for mobile charging, it separates the AC power into three separate streams to charge a trio of devices simultaneously and it even has built-in surge protection.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best travel adapters.
Business travelers can make meetings a bit easier with the portable pocket projector from New 1. This compact device works with smartphones and tablets to turn any blank wall into a projection screen ranging from 34 to 120 inches with a projection distance of three to 10 feet. It is ideal for impromptu meetings and presentations when business amenities are lacking, but is also a fun way to watch movies home. The device measures 7.5 x 5.2 x 2.6 inches, which allows it to easily fit into a carry-on bag. Plus, it's great for showing off travel photos when visiting family and friends.