Today’s gadgets and gizmos that I am travelling with to see Teamstudio are things that I probably use most in the USA, mostly because I rent a car nearly every time I am this side of the Atlantic.
#7 – Newtrent battery. This was recommended to me by Mark Myers who also takes a lot of time and care about what he packs to travel. I’ve done a few trips with Mark and we both share a love of simple, cheap and useful tools. This battery has two USB ports on it, one rated at 1A and the other rated at 2A. I’m going to tell you that this charges my iPhone 5s faster that the wall charger, but you won’t believe me until you try it for yourself. It’s amazing! It’s also very good at storing it’s charge too I can leave it in my bag for weeks knowing that it will still have juice in it when I need it. Compare that to my Nexus 7 from Asus that can’t hold a charge more than one day and it’s clearly got something going on in there that’s very clever technology. It will do about 4 – 6 iPhone charges before it needs charging itself, so it pack quite a punch on marks out of 10 for being genuinely useful. I also travel everywhere with this in my bag not just the USA. But here is why I must have it in the USA……
#8 – CoPilot GPS. This is an iOS or Android application that does StaNav and there are a couple of features that make this very useful whilst not expensive. My advice is to download the free one from the app store for your device and then download your one free map set. You can choose from UK+ Ireland, US + Canada, Balkans, BeNeLux, Russia, Central Eastern Europe, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), France, Greece, Iberia, Italy, Nordics, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana), Australia + New Zealand, Brasil, Middle East/GCC (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE). The biggest joy of this SatNav is that you DON’T need a data connection to use it. The map is already there. So if you are roaming in a country where the data costs are huge, and for me that’s anywhere outside the UK, then this could be a real life saver. I mentioned it to friends at dinner last night and even though they have US data plans, they still get charged a lot for mobile data so it of benefit to them too. Add to that mobile data coverage in remote locations can be lacking and you will still know where you are going without have to download the next piece of the map. There are in app upgrades to other maps and better functions, but they do deals from time to time so watch out for their ‘sale items’. The reason this almost requires the Newtrent battery pack is that any GPS software is crazy power hungry and will run your phone or tablet flat in an hour. I never use this without a power supply if I can help it, and there is my reason for these two items being on the same day.
#9 – Windscreen Phone holder. This one is really a very obvious gadget to add to the other two, but It is very useful to be able to see your phone if it’s showing you a GPS map of where you are going. I have something similar to the one pictured, but it doesn’t really matter which one you chose, just find one that has a really strong window sucker and a very tight joint between the sucker and device cradle. When you are in a vehicle moving along the road it’s quite easy for your phone to be bouncing around and vibrating enough that you can’t see the screen clearly. Get one with a solid joint or one that locks in place. I have a one with some form of bendable arm and it’s like a spring when you put a device on the cradle end of it. I find myself jamming the bar as close to the dashboard as possible to stop the movement. This also helps to keep it out of the line of sight of the road ahead.