Traveling has always been a means to get away. To escape. To leave behind a desk job, paperwork—and more recently, technology, social media and the Internet. Lugging a laptop to the Bahamas? Most people would say, “Forget it.” These days, though, that’s not always the case. As New York Times writer David Carr has put it, “The last time I got on an airplane without a laptop, there were no laptops.” High-tech gizmos surround us everywhere, and whether you like it or not, there’s no avoiding that fact. They’re as much a part of our daily—and now traveling—lives as, say, a wristwatch once was.
The good news, even for technology naysayers: There’s plenty of high-tech stuff that can make trips more enjoyable and relaxing. Take, for example, the Philips PowerStation Pebble. Traveling with this handheld $40 unit will ensure that your phone will never again run out of power while you’re navigating back to your hotel using your mobile phone as a GPS.
For the high-end (and deep-pocketed) excursionist, there are plenty more options. From Copenhagen-based company Æsir, there’s the Æ+Y, a handmade cell phone; from Colorfly, there’s the Pocket HiFi C4 Pro audio player, with its impeccable sound and retro look. Both almost make you forget you’re using an electronic gadget in the first place. Let’s not forget Sony’s HMZ-T1 personal 3-D viewer, either. The device mounts directly on your head, packs easily and allows for a quick escape—in certain cases, from your trip itself. (Let’s face it: Not every vacation goes as hoped.)
Even the less tech-inclined traveler can find a fix. These days many everyday items have been turned into neat gadgets: a pen, for example, that can start a fire and includes a flashlight and compass; a Swiss Army Knife with a biometric fingerprint sensor and laser pointer; binoculars with high-definition lenses. Escaping no longer means leaving technology at home. These devices—call them travel accessories—are proof.