New gear for smarter travel.
This story originally appeared on Fortune.com.
The world traveler has no shortage of gadgets to choose from when hitting the road. But how many of these products would improve your trip? Whether you’re touring or on a business trip, which gear would prove most handy?Fortune looks a new crop of travel items—ones that are changing and easing how we navigate and experience the world.
1. Bring Your Own Wi-Fi
For travelers, this is kind of a big deal: The Venture Backpack (thisisground.com, $925) comes with its own Wi-Fi. The made-to-order leather bag is available in two sizes that are TSA-approved for leaving a laptop inside when going through security. The wireless Internet is supplied via a palm-size device by Karma Go (yourkarma.com), which has several plans: a contract-free auto-refreshing plan ($40 to $150 a month) and a pay-as-you-go option ($15 per gigabyte).
Caveat: Constructed of vegetable-tanned Italian leather, the bag isn’t ideal for all weather, but it’s sleek and attractive as a business tote.
2. The Robot Suitcase
The future is now—or rather, in November, with the debut of the Cowarobot (cowarobot.com, $699), a robotic suitcase that follows its owner. Launched on Indiegogo, the Cowarobot avoids obstacles while following at arm’s length at up to 4½ miles per hour. It has other smart features like embedded GPS, an electronic lock that opens via app, and a “find me” option so the suit- case never gets lost. Even better: It has 96.5 watt-hours’ charging capacity, allowing the suitcase to go 12½ continuous miles.
Caveat: Your robot friend may have trouble keeping up with you on Old World cobblestone streets. Fortunately, though, this suitcase can be rolled the old-fashioned way—pulled by a human.
3. Wrap it Up
Wrangling device chargers is a necessary part of travel that can mean unsightly Velcro straps, rubber bands, and tangled messes. So Saddleback Leather, which stakes its reputation on built-to-last leather goods and trades in heritage-style bags, recently introduced this Cord Wrap Set (saddlebackleather.com, $35 for four sizes). Covered by a 100-year warranty, the adjustable leather and metal tabs look like something Grandpa might have used in the old days if he had any portable wires to deal with other than transistor radio earphones. Saddleback also offers a Square Cord Wrap Set (also $35 for four) that can store cords in cigarlike rolls, and a small cable bag ($53) to stash one or more neatly bundled cords.
Caveat: Using these cinches may free luggage space for other electronic devices. Pack responsibly.
4. Smartphone Photos
LG’s Cam Plus (lg.com, $69.99) attaches through the G5 smartphone’s battery port to transform the phone, when held horizontally, into an approximation of a traditional camera while also supplying its battery backup. The phone then has an external grip pad, a zoom wheel, and shutter and record buttons. It’s part of LG’s suite of photo-graphic and video modular add-ons, including a 360-degree camera and virtual-reality viewer.
Caveat: The G5 phone and Cam Plus aren’t easy to set up, at least not for this iPhone user. The extra bulk from the grip and buttons precludes using a protective case on the phone, but this add-on is handy for excursions.