Summer is finally here, and after two years of disruption, many people will be getting on a plane, long-distance train or ferry for the first time in a long while.
A lot of us will inevitably be chucking a few gadgets and gizmos into our suitcases and hand luggage – from essentials such as travel adaptors to the items that can make a journey more pleasant, such as headphones and portable handheld fans.
Here’s our guide to the best gadgets to pack on your holiday this summer.
Bose QuietComfort 45
RRP: £319.95 – deals from £289, refurbished from £160.
Take some of the stress out of travelling by cancelling out the drone of engines or fellow passengers with a good set of headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 45 are the sequel to some of the best noise-cancelling headphones ever made, now with updated technology, including better battery life and sound, to give you a bit of peace and quiet.
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
RRP: £80 – refurbished from £66.
For those looking for something cheaper, Anker’s Soundcore Life Q30 offer Bluetooth 5, good noise reduction, reasonable sound quality and a 40-hour battery life that takes some beating, and cost as little as £66 refurbished. An updated model with higher-resolution Bluetooth support, the Life Q35, is also available with an official price of £130, although this week you could find them on Amazon for £90.
RRP: £159 – refurbished from £130.
If you want something better than the myriad of cheap, not-great Bluetooth speakers that are available to buy, the Sonos Roam is so good, you’ll want to use it in your home, too.
Use it on wifi when at home or on Bluetooth when on the road. It’s water-resistant and durable, the battery lasts up to 10 hours, and it can fill a room with music despite its diminutive water-bottle-like size. It costs £159 without microphones or £179 with voice control.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
RRP: £90 – deals from £70, refurbished from £55.
If you are looking to spend a little less money but want something that’s just as durable and boasts really decent sound, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is still one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can get. It can be picked up for about £55 onwards. The compact Bluetooth speaker is drop-proof, has 13 hours of battery life and water resistance.
Chargers and adaptors
Go Travel Worldwide Adaptor
RRP: £30 – deals from £26.
Juggling multiple power adaptors when travelling can be a pain, so the Go Travel Worldwide travel adaptor aims to be a one-for-all solution. It takes UK and other plugs, with slide-out pins for the UK, US, China and Australia, plus two-prong Europe sockets. It is available with two USB charging sockets for £40, too.
Anker 543 USB charger
For more powerful gadgets, a multicharger such as this – it can charge up to four things at once – is the way to go. This super-slim but high-powered 65W Anker charger is my to-go, with two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports capable of charging most modern gadgets, from smartphones to laptops.
Portable battery chargers
Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD
Thankfully, modern smartphones have much better battery life, making portable chargers less of a necessity. But if you are running low and a plug isn’t within reach, the PowerCore Slim 10000 PD has the best balance of capacity, weight and charge speed, with USB-A and USB-C ports.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Sometimes the weather isn’t great, or you just need to take a break in your hotel room. Armed with a streaming stick, you can put your favourite TV shows or movies on any TV by just plugging it into power and an HDMI socket on the back.
The Roku Streaming Stick has a dedicated mode for dealing with difficult hotel wifi but Amazon’s recent Fire TV sticks (from £30) should be able to connect, too.
USB-C to HDMI cable
If a streaming stick is a no-go and you have a modern Android phone, tablet or laptop, 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, as will many high-end Android phones and Apple iPads with USB-C, but not the iPhone without a pricey adaptor.
If you are hiring a car, a suction-cup windscreen mount that can turn your smartphone into a satnav may make life easier. Costing from about £6, mounts range in strength and size, with Ugreen’s well-reviewed model fitting most smartphones for £17.
Alternatively, your hire car may have Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay. Just plug in your phone with a USB cable to put Google or Apple Maps on the built-in display.
If your party is taking a number of devices on holiday, a cable organiser can help deal with the clutter of leads and chargers. 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 £16 Bagsmart.
July 18, 2022 at 11:44AM Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor