Technology marches ever forwards, and 2018 is no exception.
Gadget-loving travelers have plenty to look forward to this year, from phones with zoom lenses to nausea-reducing wristbands, sleep aids to a modern take on the Polaroid photo, and much more. Here are 10 of the most eagerly-anticipated.
Getting a good night’s sleep can be hard enough at home, but it’s much more difficult on the road. Unfamiliar hotels, traffic noise, partiers in the next room – the list of things that can leave you staring at the ceiling at 3am is almost endless.
Enter Nightingale, from Cambridge Sound Works. Building on the company’s previous white noise generators, this latest generation takes into account the acoustics of the room, including size, furnishings and windows, plus existing sounds, to build a unique ‘sound blanket’ for each space.
The device plugs into a wall socket (and usefully, also functions as a two-way power box), and reflects sound off the walls so your brain can’t detect where it’s coming from.
Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom
If you don’t want to take a camera on vacation, but find yourself limited by the lack of zoom on your smartphone, keep an eye out for the Asus Zenfone 3. This midrange phone’s biggest trick is its dual lens system, with great performance in low light, and the equivalent of a 2.3x zoom at the touch of a button.
There will also be a huge 5000mAh battery, meaning you can keep shooting all day, and still have enough juice left to find your way back to the hotel at night.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
For those really serious about their travel photography and video, though, a smartphone is unlikely to cut it – but Panasonic’s latest high-end mirrorless camera definitely does.
The fifth version of this model comes with some major upgrades, including a 20.3MP sensor, faster autofocus, and dual high-speed SD card slots. It grabs 4K video at up to 60fps, and goes up to 180fps in HD mode, for super-smooth slow-mo.
Photographers haven’t been forgotten, of course, with interchangeable lenses and a 5-axis image stabilizer. There’s Wi-fi and Bluetooth built in, to get those images off the camera quickly and easy.
The GH5 has a magnesium alloy body, and is fully sealed against dust and weather, so you can take it along on the most of hardcore trips.
Smartwatches haven’t set the electronics world alight so far, but that might be about to change. The Misfit Vapor is a sleek, premium-looking device, but will be priced at a reasonable $199 when it’s released.
Waterproof to 160 feet, with two-day battery life, and inbuilt GPS and music storage, this Android-based smartwatch is more practical for travelers than the competition.
The Vapor will charge via a wireless cradle, and has the usual array of fitness tracking features, including heartrate monitoring.
Speaking of fitness tracking, if you want to track your steps on vacation, it might be worth holding out for the Motiv Ring. This slimline tracker looks and feels like a wedding band, but can monitor your heartrate, steps, sleep, calorie burn and more.
It’s water-resistant to 160 feet, and lasts up to five days on a charge. It comes with both a standard and keychain charger, which is a nice touch, and will cost $199 on release.
For the estimated 20 million blind and low-vision people in the United States, solo travel can be a daunting proposition. That’s where Aira comes in, with a high-tech solution that pairs wearable devices like Google Glass and Vuzix with trusted agents who can see what’s happening in real time.
Using that live video feed, combined with Google mapping data, the agent will be able to guide the wearer through whatever situation they find themselves in, on a pay-per-minute basis. Agents can be friends, family, or someone else certified by the company.
Apple iPhone 8
The latest version of Apple’s flagship smartphone is due out later this year, and while the company is maintaining its usual tight-lipped approach regarding new features, that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from going into overdrive already.
The most credible sources are currently suggesting a major redesign, with a glass body and edge-to-edge display (similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8), no home button, and a fingerprint sensor built into the screen.
Wireless charging might also finally make an appearance, along with better water resistance. How much of this is true remains to be seen, of course, but if there’s any truth to the speculation, this could be the most exciting new iPhone in years.
If you regularly find yourself getting motion sickness in cars, planes, and especially on the water, technology can help reduce the misery. Reliefband has announced the second version of its Neurowave wristband, which uses small electric currents to literally shock the nausea away.
This FDA-approved device lets you adjust the strength of the shocks, which feel like a tingling sensation, and typically reduce or removes nausea within minutes.
Approved for relief from general nausea as well as motion and morning sickness, the Reliefband also unofficially helps reduce the symptoms associated with virtual reality (VR) gaming.
Safety and security can be a real concern if you’re traveling in some parts of the world, and raising the alarm is harder when you’re thousands of miles from home.
Various apps and gadgets to help solve the problem have been on the market for a while, and the Aluma Connect is the latest to jump on the bandwagon.
A dedicated credit-card sized device attaches to the back of your phone, and can be activated with a button press or by pulling on the wristband.
There’s a choice of either silent or 135-decibel audible alarm, plus a strobe LED light, and your predetermined list of contacts are notified of your location by text or email immediately, thanks to the paired smartphone app.
Despite all the innovations we’ve seen with cameras in recent years, many of us miss an old-school technology from the 80’s: the polaroid photo. There’s something about instantly sharing memories with a physical photo that even the slickest social media app can’t beat. Enter the Polaroid Pop.
This cute camera combines modern tech – 4” touchscreen, 20MP sensor, 128GB of microSD storage – with the old-school charm of instant 3x4” photos.
You can also shoot video on the Pop, or connect it to a mobile device to use as a separate photo printer.