5 Must-Have Travel Tech Items
Worth their weight in baggage fees, these business-travel tools enable connectivity, improve efficiency and help road warriors keep track of everything from expenses to luggage.
Powerbag Instant Messenger ($180)
You'll buy the Powerbag for its signature feature, a rechargeable battery (zipped into an interior pocket) that can charge the average smartphone four times. But you'll love it for its USB ports, internal cables, exterior-accessible AC port for plugging into the wall and a meter that shows how much energy the bag has left.
Hot Spot to Trot
The Liberate's 2.8-inch color touchscreen shows everything from battery life and signal strength to connected devices and password settings. It's a welcome tool for organizing 4G connections among up to 10 devices at once via Wi-Fi, with enough juice to run for 11 hours. Bonus: A microSD memory-card slot turns it into a 32 GB wireless network server.
AT&T MiFi Liberate ($200)
Filling out expense reports is a necessary evil, but the NeatReceipts scanner lessens the pain. The lightweight USB-powered device, the size of an empty paper-towel roll, quickly scans and stores anything from full-size documents to credit card receipts, automatically categorizing them using Neat's recognition software.
Place this small gadget inside your checked bag, and it'll tell you whether your belongings made it to your destination city or were sent to Mumbai. The battery-powered tracking device works through cell technology, alerting users of their luggage's location via text, an iOS or Android app or e-mail. It's cheap peace of mind, even with the $8.99 activation and $12.99 annual service fee.
We have backup plans for our computers, but what about our phones? The Plus is all of 2.6 ounces but can handle 10 hours of conversation on one AA battery. It'll even work in extreme temperatures. Cool feature: A geolocation service identifies a SpareOne user's exact whereabouts, turning the device into an emergency beacon that can be accessed through a smartphone app.
SpareOne Plus ($100)
Based in Portland, Ore., John Patrick Pullen covers travel, business and tech for Men's Journal, Fortune and others.