Living the frequent flyer life can take its toll on the best of us, no matter how much you love those in-flight peanuts. So why make it harder on yourself?
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1. Smart luggage
The days of analogue carry-ons are over. Bluesmart describes itself as ‘the world’s first smart luggage’, and we’re pretty sure it would beat our travel bag at chess. Raising over $2 million on Indiegogo, this internationally-sized carry-on can be controlled directly from your phone, via the Bluesmart app.
Forget about smart locks, tracking apps and standalone luggage scales: you can use the app to lock and unlock your bag, weigh it, track its whereabouts and even receive a notification whenever it leaves your vicinity. Check and mate, Samsonite suitcase.
Bluesmart comes equipped with a 10.000 mAh battery and 2 USB ports, allowing you to charge your phone up to 6 times. New features are currently in development, including support for Apple Watch as well as a partnership with Uber, which will act as a lost Bluesmart recovery service. The bag’s also got zippers and spinning wheels and stuff.
2. Mobile WiFi hotspot
I remember a layover in Rome and having to spend 10 euros to check my inbox. Spoiler alert: it was empty. Airport and hotel WiFi are notoriously overpriced, but a few valiant startups are here to help. One of the most popular choices at the moment, Karma is a contract-free, pay-as-you-go WiFi hotspot, which ensures you’re never without internet when you need it.
There are two pricing options to choose from, relative to your needs. The device itself is $149, and you can either pay $14 for each GB of data that you use or commit to a monthly fee that eliminates data caps.
Karma is currently limited to the United States only, but there are already a few international options on the market as well. XCom Global International MiFi Hotspot offers affordable internet in 44 different countries, keeping you safe from exorbitant roaming charges and randomly-priced airport connections.
3. High-capacity portable charger
If you’re travelling with your phone, camera, laptop and your favourite USB-powered blender, a conventional external battery just won’t do. There are plenty of portable chargers on the market to choose from, and then there’s Anker Astro E7 26800mAh. Astro E7’ capacity is some of the highest of any external battery pack, with more power inside than a typical MacBook.
If your external battery is anything like mine, you pretty much have to recharge it after every use. Astro E7, on the other hand, can fully charge an iPhone 6 ten times before having to be recharged itself. The E7 includes three outbound USB ports, which is hardly the first. The difference from other multi-port chargers, however, is that a common 6-8k mAh cell simply doesn’t have enough power to effectively refuel more than one device at a time, making the additional ports redundant.
Needless to say, E7 has plenty of electric love to go around. According to one review, you can connect an iPad, an iPhone, and an iPod at the same time, recharging all of them at almost full speed. Being the poster child for Apple has never been so easy.
4. Pocket espresso machine
As a travelling caffeine junkie, you’re often forced to make unfortunate compromises when it comes to your morning cup of joe. With the aptly-named Minipresso by Wacaco, however, your coffee addiction is kept safe across all time zones.
Minipresso is a portable, hand-powered coffee system that you can easily bring along in your carry-on or even your pocket. Rather than having to be plugged in or relying on batteries, Minipresso is powered by the user, which literally pumps the device to brew coffee. The machine works with both grounded coffee and capsules. Once you add hot water, you unlock the piston and pump several times, depending on the type of coffee you’d like. Pump the machine 13 times if you’re craving weak coffee, 18 times for a regular espresso and 28 times for the most physically-demanding double espresso you’ve ever made.
The Minispresso creates coffee at 116 psi, just like traditional espresso machines, complete with a rich crema on top. While being an impromptu barista won’t necessarily help you close that sale (unless you’re selling coffee), we’re pretty sure that brewing your own coffee while tugging your intelligent carry-on at least ensures you the envy of every business traveller worldwide.