Travel tech tips – here’s what you need!

December 9, 2022

Here’s the gadgetry you need to pack to make flying a breeze, writes PAT PILCHER. Just remember to watch out for the snakes!

With closed borders thankfully fading into the past, we took the opportunity to jump on a plane and have a break overseas. It’d been a while since I’d done any real travelling and packing my laptop bag was an interesting exercise.

In the interest of not packing additional weight, I ensured everything I packed served a purpose (or better still, several) and took up as little space as possible.

Here’s what I packed:

Bose QC45 Quiet Comfort Headphones

$425.95

Bose’s over-head, noise-cancelling cans have been the gold standard for noise-cancelling ear gear for as long as I can remember. The Quiet Comfort 45’s results from constant improvements to its noise cancelling tech and tweaks to its fit (which is sublimely comfy). The introduction of Bluetooth support guaranteed the Quiet Comfort 45’s a place in my laptop bag. Inflight entertainment felt effortless when paired with the Air Fly Pro adaptor (see below). Being Bluetooth also meant I wasn’t getting tangled up in cables when I wanted to hop out of my seat. Best of all, however, the relentless drone of jet engines and crying kids were banished thanks to their industrial strength active noise cancellation.

Air Fly Pro Adaptor

$89.99

Unless you are a billionaire, chances are that you’re stuck in a cramped economy-class seat. If you’ve ever made do with airline-supplied wired headphones, you’re probably familiar with getting tangled in your headphone cables when you want to leave your seat. Enter stage left, the Air Fly Pro Bluetooth adaptor. It’ll plug into the inflight entertainment system’s headphone socket and wirelessly connect your cans for hassle-free in-flight entertainment. Brilliant!

Twelve South Stay Go USB C Hub

$179.99

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as arriving at your hotel to find that the only broadband available is a wired Ethernet connection (and your notebook PC doesn’t have an Ethernet port). The folks at Twelve South must’ve experienced this one time too many. Their USB-C hub has an Ethernet socket, 3 USB-A sockets, an HDMI port (which proved handy for hooking my laptop to the hotel room’s TV) and a USB-C port. The Stay Go Hub also has a 1-metre cable, which extends its versatility and is small enough that packing it was no hardship.

Amazon Kindle E-Reader

$199.95

You could lug a pile of paperbacks overseas with you, but you’d be adding a tonne of unnecessary weight, consuming scarce luggage space. A better solution is Amazon’s Kindle. With access to the Amazon bookstore (and a pile of free e-books if you’re an Amazon Prime member), it has 16GB of storage, which means that the wafer-thin Kindle is a library in the palm of your hand.

HP Spectre

$4399

I needed to take a notebook PC. Not only was I able to download a pile of movies to watch offline once I was airborne via Amazon Prime, but it’s an Intel EVO specc’d machine, which means its rated battery life is 10+ hours, so it’ll keep on keeping on even the longest flights.

Google Maps

Android/iOS

Free

Google Maps deserves an honourable mention as it is simply too useful not to have it installed on your phone. Being able to download maps offline means not being hit with data roaming charges. Its nifty augmented reality mode makes navigating from A to B seem effortless.

Zoomato

iOS/Android

Free

Finding good eats overseas can be more of a miss than a hit affair. At least that was until I downloaded Zoomato, an online restaurant and food guide. It’ll help you find all the good eateries that’d previously been the exclusive domain of locals.

Air NZ App

iOS/Android

Free

While you’ll probably need paper boarding passes for most international destinations, the Air NZ app (you’re flying Air NZ, right?) will let you know if your flight is delayed and allow you to manage your flights, seats and so on. If you subscribe to the overcrowded chaos that is the Koru Lounge, you can even use the app to order a coffee.

Roaming

Various (Price TBC)

Last (but not least) is that old chestnut roaming with a smartphone. While you could leave your phone in flight mode, you’d be missing the many ways a smartphone can make your trip significantly easier. Avoiding costly calls is as easy as checking that your mobile provider and phone support Wi-Fi calling. It routes incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages over any Wi-Fi you’re connected to. Most telcos treat these calls as local calls, deducting them off your plan’s minutes, just as they would if you made the call back home. An even better option is local rates for roaming. This sees your telco charging you a daily fee and billing all the data/calls/SMS usage from your phone as if they were made in NZ, allowing you to use your phone without worry.

 

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Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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