It’s the end of the year again. Being the end of the year, we thought we would give you a list. Lists are good, right? Last year, we gave you two of them: 7 things to get you there smiling and 7 VPS Victories in 2011. This year’s list covers a topic very near and dear to our ailerons – travel gadgets.
In no particular order, we give you 7 travel-related thingies that caught our eye this year:
1. ThermaCELL Heated Insoles
According to their website, these insoles maintain a steady temperature inside your shoes or boots. Powered by lithium-ion batteries and remote controlled via key fob, the ThermaCELL insoles provide heat at two temperatures, 100 degrees and 110 degrees (F). For around $100, sticker shock may give you cold feet, but consider how many times you’ve burned your toes on the chemical based heaters and these may well be worth the price-if you have frequent trips to chilly climates.
2. Universal Travel Adapter from Flight 001
The Universal Travel Adapter from Flight 001 isn’t like a lot of other travel adapters. It works in more than 150 countries by means of adjustments made via a slider on the side. It’s smaller than a lot of adapters and comes in bright colors too, hopefully eliminating the chance that you’ll leave it in the hotel room for the next guest. But, at $25, it wouldn’t hurt your feelings too bad if you did forget.
3. iPad Mini
The iPad Mini is everything its big brother is – in a smaller package. For the traveler who is used to operating inside the iOS ecosystem, the iPad Mini is the only choice for a tight-spaced travel companion. The 7.9 inch displayed device fits comfortably in hand, much like a small paperback book, and the screen is great for watching movies in-flight. Of course, there’s a premium price tag associated with anything Apple, and starting at $329 the iPad Mini is definitely something not to jump haphazardly into.
4. MEEP! Tablet
While we’re on the subject of tablets allow us to mention one for the younger traveler, the MEEP! Built on Android 4.0, the MEEP! comes with a 7 inch display, 4 GB of internal storage, an SD card slot, still/video camera and Wi-Fi. It even has an HTMI out for connecting to the TV. Oh, and it comes with a colorful silicone sleeve, giving it a level of durability that should help it weather some bumps and dings. At $150, it’s an excellent alternative to handing over your personal tablet to the children.
5. Luggage Scale from REI
The digital luggage scale from REI is a great companion for any frequent traveler. Small enough to fit in one hand, but capable of weighing luggage up to 100 lbs. (44 kg) it may save you some money at the ticket counter. A one-time $26.50 purchase to save on overweight baggage fees seems like a reasonable purchase.
6. Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD’s 1280×800 pixel 7 inch display is stunning. The Amazon store is about as deep and broad a selection of movies, music, books and games as anyone could want. The Kindle Fire HD even comes with Kindle FreeTime, an experience designed for younger users, which allows screen limits and access to selected content – appropriate for each child. The Kindle Fire HD seems like a combination of the best of the iPad Mini and the MEEP! At $199 base price, it’s a great tablet for the money.
7. Ostrich Pillow
The idea behind the Ostrich Pillow is escape. The pillow/cushion/bed-thingy is designed to be worn on the head, concealing the head, ears and hands. According to Studio Banana, the company behind the project, the “Ostrich Pillow offers a micro environment in which to take a warm and comfortable power nap at ease.” Odd and ridiculous as it may look, it also does look comfy. At $99, as long as you don’t mind looking like some kind of insect or Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars, this may be the piece of comfort and quiet you’ve been looking for.
Alright, there you have it. Our obligatory list of things. We haven’t been compensated by any of the product makers above, these are just some items we saw this past year that piqued our interest. What are some of the gadgets you’ve noticed over the last year? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter… we’re there.
Thank you all for being with us throughout 2012. We hope you’ll stick with us for what should prove to be a great 2013!