Top 10 geek travel gadgets you need

travel gadgets

Geeks tend to travel differently to other people. They need their techie creature comforts at all times which means they want the latest and greatest in mobile computing, entertainment, and leisure pursuits. In this roundup we have a selection of the stuff that you, alpha-geek that you are, will want — no, need — for getting there, being there, doing stuff, and getting back again with sanity intact …

iHome Smart Brief

When it’s a short trip to, say, Silicon Valley for the day to pitch your favorite clutch of VCs on Sandhill Road, this is the case you’ll want; the iHome Smart Brief. Designed for laptops up to 13 inches (~$45) it’s got soft pockets that comfortably accommodate an iPad, a laptop, and iPhone (there’s an external pocket for this so you can whip it out when your banker calls), pockets for chargers, a pocket for earphones, slots for pens, and a big outside pocket with a magnetic closure so that you won’t accidentally lose your boarding pass. And when you get your gear out in a  meeting, the bright lining colors will make it clear you’re no ordinary geek …

Skooba Laptop Weekender V.3 Carry-on

Then there are the times when you’ve got a conference to go to and you need a bag that’ll carry not only your laptop and iPad and a few clean tees and will also have room for all that swag you’re hoping to score. For occasions like that there’s the Skooba Laptop Weekender V.3 Carry-on ($134.95). This stylish bag holds a day or two of clothing, plus a 15-inch laptop, iPad, as well as other portable electronics and fits any standard overhead aircraft compartment. It sports more than a dozen pockets, compartments, and organizers. This is a serious bag for the geek on the go.

Bose QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones

Shutting out the noise when you’re traveling is crucial and while there are loads of over-the-ear headphones to choose from the alpha-geek wants to keep the size of his gear down, easy to stow, and incredibly effective. Thus, the only good choice for the geek-on-the-go are in-ear, noise-canceling headphones and among the very best are the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones ($299.95). These headphones have great audio reproduction and not only perform as well as over-the-ear designs, they also have an “aware mode” selectable by pressing a button that allows you to hear ambient noise as well … highly desirable if you’re navigating city streets or the subway.

Neptor NP056K-BL

There is little that’s more annoying than sitting on a plane and running out of juice for your electronic gadgets but it always happens; it’s midnight and you’re at 20,000 feet hacking some gr3at code when your laptop suddenly says it will soon be time to say goodnight … but after three Red Bulls and a cup o’ Joe you’re ready for an all-flighter and if you have a Neptor NP056K-BL ($49.95) you’re good to code. It’s a 5600mAh dual port portable battery with a built-in flashlight (handy when you’re rummaging behind a data center rack) and a battery indicator. Plug in your laptop and your iPod, crank the death metal, and code away ’til your eyeballs explode, my friend.

Verbatim Dual USB Power Pack

If you’re going to be on a really long haul flight, say, LAX to Tokyo, then you’re going to need a lot of juice unless your seat has a built-in laptop USB power socket and, most crucially, that it works. To make sure you never have to negotiate with your row mate over power point access consider investing in a Verbatim Dual USB Power Pack (as low as $48). With an LED power status indicator to gauge how much charge is available and weighing just 13 ounces this power pack will keep your gear juiced in flight.

Phone Halo's Trackr

When you’re traveling and you get tired then there’s a good chance you’ll forget to pick something important up such as your wallet or your briefcase. The answer to this are electronic tags so that when you get too far from an object you might be leaving behind your phone and or the tag rings, beeps, or buzzes. Several manufacturers offer these devices and prices are dropping fast. One of the first I reviewed was Phone Halo's Trackr which was $50 last May and is now $30. Tile, due to ship in "summer" will be $19 while XY Find-It just launched on Kickstarter promising delivery in June at a price of $11. Eventually these things will be $1 each.

Satechi’s Smart Travel Router / Travel Adapter

When you get to where you’re going you’ll want to plug stuff in and you might want a WiFi connection when there’s only a wired one. Satechi’s Smart Travel Router / Travel Adapter ($44.99) converts US, CA, MX, UK, EU, AU, NZ, HK, and China to a USA pinout and has USB Port for charging iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, and other devices. As a WiFi device it operates as router, a repeater, an access point, or a client.

Seagate Wireless Plus

You can never be too rich, too good looking, or have too much storage so when you’re on the road and pushing stuff up to the cloud isn’t an option consider the Seagate Wireless Plus ($199.95). This is a portable (10.5 inches by 3.5 inches by 0.78 inches weighing 0.56 pounds), battery-powered (approximately 10 hours of operation), 1TB drive with a built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi access point (it supports up to eight simultaneous device connections) that is capable of relaying network traffic to another WiFi network. It also has a USB 3.0 port for loading and unloading content from a PC or a Mac. (I covered this product last year.)

Globalgig Hotspot

If you want to go broke just let your US cellular device go roaming abroad; the charges are mind-boggling unless you’re smart enough to invest in a Globalgig Hotspot (£89.00 plus £39.00 per month for 1GB of data). The Globalgig Hotspot provides an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to five devices and delivers data service via a cellular service provider in the country you're in. This is the end of bills that take your breath (or your accountant’s breath) away.

Saxx Underwear

Comfort when you’re traveling is vital and choice of clothing is critical. But there’s one type of garment that is truly crucial: Underwear. Yep, travel in the wrong “unterwäsche” (as the Germans would have it) and it could ruin your trip (a wedgie from New York to Paris is no fun). I highly recommend Saxx Underwear as the most comfortable, best engineered, and most practical underwear ever. Bar none. In particular I recommend the Brief Fly ($29.95) but your mileage may vary. Sorry, ladies, I’m not qualified to opine on your travel ware options (well, I am, but not with practicality in mind).