Take the long road: tech for road trips
Like any good scout knows, being prepared before you head out into the wilderness is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your experience. And with summer coming, it’s the perfect time to pack a bag, grab the car keys and hit the road for an epic road trip – but even though you’d like to unplug, even for a few hours, you just know you’ll need a few gadgets and gizmos to keep you going. We’ve rounded up our favourite tech for road trips, so you never run out of steam!
ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP200
This handy, incredibly light two-in-one laptop is the perfect size to slip into your backpack for carry-on luggage and for use in the passenger seat. With a 11.6-inch screen, it flips on itself to become a tablet, letting you flip to reading mode with ease. It’s not powerful, so don’t expect to be playing Skyrim on it, but you’ll be able to check emails, browse the net, watch movies, sort through your travel shots, and play basic apps and music on this great little laptop. Weighing in at just over a kilogram, you might even forget you have it with you. It features Windows 10 and an 8hr battery life, so it certainly packs a punch, and was definitely handy while on the road. M even managed to get a couple of her uni assignments done while on the road, thanks to the guys at Asus who let us play with a laptop!
Get it from limited JB Hi Fi or Harvey Normans for $599. Find out more here.
Belkin Road Rockstar 4-Port Passenger Car Charger
In between taking photos of the scenic landscapes, streaming the perfect soundtrack through Bluetooth, and following Google Maps to make sure you don’t get too lost – your phone battery is going to die pretty quick. A car charger is a smart way to make sure that doesn’t happen; but when you’ve piled everyone into a car, how do you share that single port? Oldest first? Tallest? Driver? Rock, scissors, paper battle?
Belkin’s Road Rockstar 4-Port Passenger Car Charger lets you charge up to four devices simultaneously – making life easier when you have to charge all of the life-enhancing devices. With a 1.8m cable, the front port has two USB ports that share 2.4A, while the extendable hub allows the backseat passengers charge their devices with 2.4A per port – yeah, they get the better deal. The backseat hub comes with a little clip too, so you can hang it off the backseat and make things nice and tidy.
Find out more here.
When you travel overseas, you’re often confused about what to do with you sim card: do you keep your current phone and pay exorbitant data roaming fees (unless you’re with Vodafone, and you go to New Zealand, and it’s charged as if you were in Australia – win!)? Or do you try to work out which company in this foreign country will offer you the best deal, wrangle a new number, make sure everyone knows the number, try to make sure you get the right sim card size for your phone? And what if you’re driving through several countries, like if you’re in Europe – then you have to either keep switching phone companies, or keep racking up those phone bills – or try to survive with no phone at all.
In comes OneSimCard, a low cost, pre-paid sim card. It’s a simple system which provides international roaming services in over 200 countries, and free incoming calls in more than 160 countries. The data is a little more expensive, but a necessary evil if you need it for GPS. The best part about it? It comes in a punch-out card, with three different sizes – so if you’re changing phones, or not sure what size sim you need, you won’t have to worry, as OneSimCard has all bases covered.
There’s also a mobile miles rewards programs, with customers earning a mile when making and receiving calls. Users can select their preferred loyalty program with select airlines and hotels, too.
We tried this out in New Zealand, courtesy of the guys at OneSimCard. We mostly used the sim for data in a secondary phone, but feel like it would be much better use for travellers going through multiple countries.
Find out more here.
Bose QC25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones
Sometimes, you need some time to yourself to zen out – especially when you’ve been travelling with others in a closed space for long periods of time. Noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend in that respect: slip them on and suddenly outside noise is reduced, and all you can hear is the crisp, full sound of your music, completely encapsulating you.
The Bose QC25 are perfect in that respect, making your music sound fuller and deeper while taking away the sound of everything else around you. They’re fantastically lightweight and comfortable, with large, soft leather cups that fit over even the largest ears – M has quite a few piercings that make most over-ear headphones painful to wear for long periods of time, but the Bose are the most comfortable headphones she’s ever used, and she loves them for long-haul flights. Speaking of which, they come with a double-ended adaptor for flights, so rather than using the airplane flights, you can sit back and enjoy your in-flight entertainment in full noise-cancelled, comfortable heaven with the Bose.
They also pack down nice and flat, so slip away very neatly into even small backpacks – unlike most large over-ear headphones. We haven’t tried the wireless edition, the QC35, yet, but the classic wired version are pretty sweet – and there’s no need to worry about having to keep them constantly charged, either.
Find out more here.
External phone battery charger
When you’re exploring, you’re not always going to be close to your car to add extra juice to your phone, especially on day trips – and that’s where an external battery charger comes in handy. We can’t count the number of times a battery charger has helped us out of a tricky spot where our batteries have been running low while chasing a perfect view or figuring out how to get home. Keeping one in your back pocket or bag is just good sense.
M likes this one from Cygnett, as it’s quite slim, and packs a punch with 6000mAh – it fully charges her LG G5 at least twice without needing to be recharged. It also features two USB ports, so it can charge a second device if needed, and a digital display to show how much charge it still has. It also comes in a very nice rose gold tone – there’s nothing wrong with matching the rest of her decor 😉
You can never have enough music during a road trip: it just sets the background sound to what should be an epic adventure. Just two of you? Set the music low and moody, and you’ve got yourself an amazingly romantic getaway. Got a group? Pump that party mix and revel in the harmonies of your travel buddies.
Of course, you can do that in the car, but once you’re out at a stop having lunch at a beach, or kicking it on the hotel balcony, you need to set the mood somehow – and that’s where a bluetooth speaker comes in. It also comes in handy when drowning out the sound of your hotel neighbour’s annoying… voices at all hours of the day.
We have a few speakers, depending on the situation, but we like this one in particular from Kreafunk (aMove) – it’s quite hardy, so it can handle the bumps and knocks that comes with travel, but doesn’t compromise on sound quality. But, the bluetooth speaker world has exploded over the past few years – with a device for every size, colour, situation and personality. So don’t be afraid to go compact, if that’s your style!
So these are our top picks for tech for road trips – do you have any tips for what you can’t go without on a road trip?