Plane & Simple – 10 Apps & Gadgets To Travel With

How did travellers go from essential maps to essential apps?

It’s hard to take a trip anywhere without using at least a fistful of applications, ranging from those that make planning easier to ones that make foreign lands seem more familiar. There’s tech to book tickets, track air turbulence and find calm yoga retreats; to learn the language of your host country, make new friends while you vacation and vanish into a soft bed when jet lag hits.

Add to that, gadgets that can stand their own in the face of long flights and flailing, wailing babies, and you’ve got yourself a list to hang on to, turbulence or not. See below.

Flight Tracker 
If only I could find my flight in this sea of flights…

This one’s our personal favourite to use right before, during and after flights. App In The Air’s flight statuses, delay announcements and gate changes (Sent via SMS) are more timely and accurate than airport announcements. You can track friends’ and family members’ flights too (stalker alert!) and if you have commitment issues, you can try AITA’s Facebook Messenger flight tracking bot, before you download the app. Bonus: Nervous passengers, look up Turbulence Forecast.

Available for iOS and Android. Download here, free.

Noise Cancelling Headphones 

You only chance of sleeping like a baby, your best defense against a wailing child (they create a domino effect, just so you know) in seat 3E is a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. Now there are several options, but we like the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 during long flights, namely because of its amazing 24 hour battery life.

Buy it on Amazon here, Rs 9,900.

Translation
Telling the waiter what your favourite dish is, in a snap • Image credit JCStudio- Shutterstock

This one got us through two weeks in Tokyo, with very little lost in translation. Google Translate lets you work with 103 languages (59 even when you’re offline!), and best of all, let’s you use your camera to take a picture of text for translation. Tip: Use their phrase book and save important ones like road directions; “cheers!” (you know how important it is to make new friends while bar hopping!); please and thank you.

Available for iOS and Android. Download here, free. 

Currency Converter

Xe.com and now the app, has always been our go-to for quick currency conversions. Super handy while shopping.

Available for iOS and Android. Download here, free.

Water Bottle & Shower

Lunatec Aquabot is a water bottle that will satisfy your thirst, but also serves as a mist-er and when the cap is adjusted to the right pressure, it turns into a shower! Perfect for that music festival trip, because hippe chic is nice, but not taking a shower is just bad manners. Glass-tonbury, anyone?

Buy it on Amazon here, approximately Rs 2,000.

Luggage That Travels 
Modobag with rider • Offical website for modobag

“Why can’t we ride our luggage and get to where we’re going faster with less stress?” This question posed by Chicago entrepreneur Kevin O’Donnell led to the invention of the Modobag, a motorized carry-on suitcase that you can actually ride. Designed in cahoots with a motorcycle designer, it offers 2000 cubic inches of packing space, and can accommodate riders up to 260 lbs. On a single charge, it can travel up to 6 miles, at 8 miles an hour. Remember, don’t drink at the airport lounge and drive.

Buy it on modobag.com, approx. Rs 95,000 for one carry-on bag.

Towels That Travel Light 

Microfibre Towel. This isn’t a gadget in the traditional sense, but a ton of tech and research went into its invention. Ultra compact micro fibre towels that fold like dinner napkins, save suitcase space, are very absorbent despite their size and also have fast-drying super powers. Bookmark (the sea green colour) for your next camping trip.

Buy it at Decathalon.in here, starts at Rs 399.

Sleep Partner 
Looking to beat jet lag? There’s an app for that (or you could just nap).

Jet Lag Rooster, featured on CNN and BBC, will try and minimise those foul jet lag effects. It uses “recent scientific research” to help you customise your trip schedules, and best understand how much sunlight exposure can reduce your jet lag and help regulate your sleep cycles.

Available for iOS and Android. Download here, free. 

Rechargeable Heated Insoles

ThermaCell’s heated insoles are just what the doctor ordered for tired feet, particularly on long flights. During winter trips, these provide that special, toasty feeling. Marshmallows not included.

Buy on Amazon here, models start at Rs 4,000.

This story was contributed by the team at brownpaperbag.in, a culture and lifestyle portal in Mumbai, Delhi & Bangalore.

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