Although exhilarating, travelling for work can often be exhausting. An endless succession of airports, taxis, hotels and meetings awaits, and your stress levels can skyrocket, particularly if something goes wrong. But, with a range of travel gadgets now on the market particularly aimed at streamlining business travel, it’s never been easier to remain cool, calm and in control of your schedule. Here are seven of our favourite travel gadgets:
Think suitcases are just for carrying clothes and shoes? Think again. With new breed of suitcase now on the market, your luggage can do pretty much anything you want it to. Smart suitcases such as the Bluesmart, which became the highest crowdfunded travel product ever in 2014, not only scream ‘sophisticated business traveller’ but have built-in battery chargers and GPS, as well as a scale, so never again will you exceed your baggage allowance. Furthermore, the Bluesmart is controlled by a mobile app, meaning you can trace your bag from anywhere in the world and lock it too.
GLOBAL TRAVEL ADAPTORS
Running out of juice on your laptop or mobile when you have a huge list of emails to get through can be highly frustrating. While global travel adaptors – with plugs to fit almost any socket – have existed for a while, these days they’re becoming more and more hi-tech. These clever gadgets not only remove the need for multiple adaptors and therefore lighten your luggage load as well as your to-do list, but many, such as the Boom Travel+ Ultimate Travel Adaptor feature USB ports and built-in power banks, so your phone and tablets need never run out of charge, even if you’re on the move.
TRANSLATION APPS AND DEVICES
Greeting your clients in their own language makes a great first impression, and shows you’ve made an effort too. But even if your language skills leave a lot to be desired, fear not, as language technology is evolving at a rapid pace, with free apps such as Duolingo available to teach you key phrases on your mobile. Going one step further, the Pilot Translation Earpiece, due to be released in late 2017, uses speech recognition to translate conversations directly into your ear using an earpiece synced with an app on your phone. Pre-orders are available in 15 languages including French, Italian and Spanish, with more in the pipeline.
PORTABLE WIFI ROUTERS
Using the internet abroad can quickly rack up huge data charges, causing many business travellers to ration their use or switch off their data roaming altogether. That’s where a portable WiFi router comes in handy. These clever devices, once unlocked, allow you to use any SIM card from any country to set up your own private secure network on multiple devices at a fraction of the cost of the local 4G. Try the pocket-sized Huawei E5787 4G Touch Screen Mobile WiFi Hotspot – it’s high speed, comes unlocked and boasts an easy-to-use touch screen control.
GPS LUGGAGE TAGS
Losing your luggage is one of the ultimate travel nightmares, especially if you are on an important business trip. While in most cases your luggage will catch up with you eventually, it’s often too late for that crucial meeting, so to speed up the process, try a GPS luggage tag such as Trace Me. You simply register your tag online and attach it to your bag, and if your airline finds your suitcase in the wrong location it will contact Trace Me and arrange for you and your luggage to be reunited. Trace Me are so confident in their ability to find your bags that it offers $500 to anyone whose bag is untraceable.
When travelling, it’s easy to lose track of where you last had important possessions such as your keys or your phone, so give yourself extra peace of mind with a Bluetooth tracker, a small gadget that you attach to your possession and then track via a map on a mobile app. One of the best on the market is the Tile Mate, which plays a tune when it’s within Bluetooth range of your phone to help you locate it faster. It even has a crowd-finding feature that allows other Tile owners to help you out when your items go outside the Bluetooth reach of your own phone.
Just because you’re away on business doesn’t mean you can’t look after yourself, so with all that moving about from meeting to meeting why not see just how many calories you’re burning with an activity tracker? These usually measure your step count, but some devices, such as the top-of-the-range Fitbit Alta HR measure calories burned, sleep quality and heart rate too. The Fitbit also features SmartTrack exercise detection, so can recognise whether you’re walking, running, cycling or swimming, and adjust the calorie counter accordingly. And it looks super stylish too.
For smarter business travel the best thing you can do is to bring an expert on board