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11 Useful Travel Tech Gift Items – 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Find a few tech gifts that can make planning travel easier and more exciting while on the road.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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Today’s world is filled with technology – most of it an unnecessary distraction. But there are a few pieces of tech that can be helpful in planning your next trip and making the most of your vacation. Staying connected around the world, recording memories, and listening to music are a few ways technology can benefit travel.

Browse through this list of travel tech gift items and see if anything can fulfill a need for future travel.

2021 Holiday Gift Guides

Before you can buy the perfect Christmas gift, you have to find it. Each year, I publish a series of Holiday Gift Guides to help you find fantastic travel gear, accessories, unique gifts, and awesome items to put under the tree.

No. 01

Skyroam Solis X Smartspot

Everyone needs data while traveling – and some people need a lot of data. Relying on cellular hotspots provided through smartphones can work, but it’s a drain on the phone’s battery. The Skyroam Solis X Smartspot not only provides a dedicated hotspot device, but also a fantastic service.

The Solis X can connect to 10 devices at one time to their global network – cellphones, tablets, and laptops. Skyroam offers pay-as-you-go or monthly plans for the US, Europe, and Global with up to 135 countries around the world covered by their service.

No. 02

Apple iPad Air

Why would you need a tablet when most people already have a smartphone? Because tablets make it easier to browse maps, book hotel rooms, watch videos, and read destination guides while traveling. There are a lot of great tablets on the market, but the Apple iPad Air is one of the best for travel.

The 10.9-inch edge-to-edge screen is just 0.25-inches deep, weighs one pound, and uses the increasingly popular USB-C to charge. Along with the Zugu Case – the best case for protecting iPads – you’ll have a powerful mobile device for planning your trips.

No. 03

Kindle Paperwhite

Nothing will never beat the smell of a new book or flipping through the pages for the very first time, but when it comes to a weight limit while checking a bag at the airport it will be nice to have a Kindle Paperwhite.

The Paperwhite features an 8GB memory – capable of holding thousands of books at once – and an impressive 10-week battery life on a single charge. The brightness can compete with full sunlight, allowing you to comfortably read outside. Along with a waterproof design, you’ll have access to your books and magazines wherever you travel.

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No. 04

GoPro Hero 10 Black

GoPro just keeps making the popular action camera even better. The GoPro Hero 10 Black now features 23MP still photos, 5.3K video, live streaming across all social media platforms, and built-in stabilization.

The GoPro is the ultimate action camera, but also makes a great pocket digital camera while traveling. With longer-lasting batteries, it’s perfect for capture videos throughout the day or recording timelapse of colorful sunsets. With the companion app for smartphones, it’s easy to download photos or videos and upload to social media in minutes.

No. 05

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Whether you’re listening to music, your favorite podcast, or watching the latest episode of Chicago Fire, if you’re in public you will need a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. The Sony WH-1000MX4 is inarguably the best set of noise cancelling headphones on the market – but at a whopping $350 price tag.

At just $60, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Noise Cancelling Headphones are a budget option that performs surprising well. The over-the-ear headphones offer a great balance between quality sound and noise cancelling technology, allowing you to clearly hear what you’re playing.

No. 06

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Wireless Earbuds

Noise cancelling headphones are great for use in coffee shops, airplanes, and crowded places, but do you want to be one of those people wearing them while walking down the street? While out and about exploring a destination, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Wireless Earbuds are perfect for listening to music, making phone calls, or listening to directions.

The earbuds will last for about 7 hours on a single charge, but the carrying case acts as a second battery and adds an additional 21 hours of charge. Use the earbuds as a stereo pair or independently, each with a built-in microphone for making phone calls.

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No. 07

Anker Soundcore Boost Speaker

How many people walk into a hotel room and immediately turn the television on just to have some background noise? Instead, why not play some of your favorite music with the Anker Soundcore Boost Bluetooth Speaker?

The upgraded version of their popular wireless speaker, this model features a bass boost, USB-C charging port, and up to 12 hours of playtime on a single charge. A nifty feature is the ability to add a second speaker – at twice the price – and they will automatically create a stereo pair.

No. 08

Tile and Apple AirTag

When Tile came on the market in 2017, it helped people find their lost keys, track stolen bags, and reconnect with the accessory case they left behind. Since then, the world of Bluetooth trackers has expanded with the addition of Apple AirTags.

Bluetooth trackers cannot connect to a cellular network independently, instead relying on nearby smartphones. Tile devices transmit their locations to other Tiles or smartphones with the Tile app installed and setup. AirTag uses the Find My network, similar to how Apple users can track their lost or stolen iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Pro, connecting to other iPhones to transmit location. This limits both options to relying on other devices for tracking, but the Apple network is much larger.

Tile has more options for devices. The Tile Sticker is the smallest device and perfect for small travel items like speakers, headphones, and even tablets. The Tile Slim is the size of a credit card, perfect for slipping into a wallet, purse, or protective case of a tablet. The Tile Mate is the device that started it all, perfect for attaching to keychains, slipping into bags, or attaching to digital cameras. The Tile Pro is the most powerful with a longer transmission range, allowing your most important items to be better tracked if lost or stolen.

Apple only offers a single version of the AirTag. The AirTag uses a simple one-tap setup to instanly connect to your Apple ID account, allows you to give each AirTag a unique name, and tracks everything through the Find My app on Apple devices. One of the biggest advantages of AirTag is the tiny built-in speaker that emits a sound on command to help you pinpoint the location.

When deciding which to buy, it may come down to as simple as the smartphone used. AirTag will only work with iPhones, and while Tile will work with both Apple and Android devices, it’s better working with Android.

No. 09

Anker PowerCore III 10K Power Bank

In a world of mobile devices, endless streaming, and constant data transfers, we need power to our cellphones more than ever. Anker is an industry leader in portable power banks for cellphones, tablets, and laptops, but with their latest power bank they have taken to the next level.

The Anker PowerCore III 10K Power Bank features a Qi charger to wireless charge your cellphone. This allows you to simply place the phone beside the charger in a bag, purse, or flat surface, and the charging begins. With a 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery, you’ll be able to charge your mobile device dozens of times.

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No. 10

DJI OM 5 Gimbal

DJI made a substantial upgrade to their smartphone gimbal stabilizer, releasing the DJI OM 5 Gimbal. The core functionality remains the same – a 3-axis gimbal, compact folding travel design, and thumbstick controls.

The first major upgrade was inclusion of a magnetic catch for effortlessly snapping compatible smartphones into place. For phones with a magnetic catch, the included clamp bracket can be added to the OM 5. The second upgrade – featured for the first time on the popular gimbal – was a telescoping extension rod. This allows videographers to capture better selfie footage and perform wider movements.

No. 11

SPOT Personal Locator Beacon

Most hiking trails have logs where hikers can register their journey, giving rangers a tip in case something happens along the way. But even knowing someone is lost on a trail does not guarantee they’ll be found quickly. The SPOT Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB, is a device that adds a layer of protection anywhere in the world.

The SPOT PLB uses a direct satellite connection that transmits your GPS location to a secure network. Users with access – parents, spouses, or friends – can access your location through the SPOT website to see your current location. The SPOT Trace only tracks your GPS, but the SPOT Gen4 allows you to send preprogrammed custom messages to alert authorities you are in danger.

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
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