Gadgets

Our favorite tech gadgets for a spring break trip

Pack these tech gadgets for your spring break trip

GoPro, Amazon


The birds are already chirping, the weather is warming up and millions of people are booking travel for a much-anticipated spring break vacation. Whether you’re planning a family getaway, heading on a travel adventure with friends, or even looking to travel solo and just relax, you have plenty of destination options. 

Regardless of where you’re headed, our team of consumer tech experts have compiled this roundup of helpful gadgets you’ll definitely want to bring along on your next trip. These compact powerhouses will keep you entertained on long flights, help you relax during your downtime and make it super easy to document your adventures on social. Some of our recommendations will even make your vacation travel a bit easier.


What are the best gadgets for travel?

The gadgets featured in this roundup all have one thing in common — they’ll make your spring vacation more entertaining, relaxing and better organized. When you have the right gear, it’s easy to entertain yourself during long flights, eliminate common travel-related hassles and record (and share) your vacation memories. 

GoPro Hero 12 Black action camera

GoPro Hero 12 Black

Amazon


Wherever you go, whatever harsh temperature or weather conditions you encounter — on a boat, at a beach, on a ski slope, underwater, or even while soaring through the air on a zipline — with an action camera, you can record every second of your adventure without having to lug heavy gear.

One of the very best and most versatile action cameras on the market is the GoPro Hero 12 Black. It’s water,- temperature- and shock-resistant. It’s also supported by a vast ecosystem of mounts and accessories, so you can capture breathtaking video or still images from a first- or third-person perspective.

This camera can capture video in up to 5.3K (30fps) resolution and then allows you to review and edit from your smartphone, tablet or computer before sharing on social media. In fact, the GoPro app uses AI to make editing video footage a very simple and quick process that generates pro-level results.

What we love about this camera is that there’s a mount for just about any activity you can imagine, so you can securely attach the camera to your body, helmet, sports gear, or even your dog, and then record ultra-sharp and smooth content with an extremely wide field of view. 

This latest version of the GoPro camera is easier to use than ever, which is why we think it’s the ideal vacation option for just about anyone — even if you won’t be scuba diving, skydiving or hiking through a rainforest. For more information about the GoPro Hero 12 Black action camera, be sure to read our in-depth review.


Insta360 Ace Pro action camera

Insta360 Ace Pro Camera

Amazon


There’s a lot to love about the GoPro Hero 12 Black action camera, but a just as versatile and durable alternative is the Insta360 Ace Pro. The camera and lenses were co-designed by Leica, one of the most respected brands in photography since 1869.

The camera is small enough to mount on your body or equipment. Even without a special housing, it’s waterproof down to 33 feet. And it can be remotely controlled from your smartphone, using voice commands or even hand gestures.

One feature we particularly love about this camera is the flip-up, full-color viewfinder that can be pointed forwardsor backward. This is a great camera for capturing digital photos or video of your travel adventures, whether it’s day or night, warm or cold, or you’re in a wet or dry environment. 

When it comes to video, you can record at up to 8K (24fps) resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio, but just as easily capture stunning, smooth and clear 4K, 2.7K, 1440p or 1080p resolution video. Still images are captured at 48MP. The camera is loaded with easy-to-use features. The battery lets you shoot for up to 100 minutes between charges. A wide range of specialized mounts are available.


Apple AirTags (4 pack) Bluetooth trackers

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Apple/Amazon


For iPhone users who like to travel, we highly recommend inserting an Apple AirTag in each piece of carry-on and checked luggage. You can also place one of these Bluetooth trackers in your purse, backpack, on your keychain, or in any item that tends to get lost.

An AirTag can easily be tracked, in real-time, almost anywhere in the world. Instead of relying on GPS, it uses a network of iPhone users worldwide. Using the Find My app, you can either locate your item, or mark it as missing. As soon as the item comes close to any other iPhone (there are more than 1.6 billion of them), the location of your missing item will be sent to your phone anonymously.

While not foolproof, AirTags are a low-cost and easy way to track your luggage and keep tabs on your personal items. They’re very easy to set up and use. The replaceable battery lasts up to one year.

AirTags can be purchased individually for $24 on Amazon, but they’re also sold in packs of four.


Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) wireless earbuds

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Apple/Amazon


If you already own an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook or iMac and rely heavily on any of all of these, we suggest adding a pair of Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) to your gear. These higher-end wireless earbuds offer powerful noise cancellation, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, and a nice collection of other features that allow you to enjoy audio without distractions.

AirPods Pro work great on an airplane to help drown out engine noises and babies crying. They allow you to focus on whatever you’re listening to or participate in crystal clear hands-free calls and video calls. These AirPods come in a wireless charging case with a USB Type-C port on the bottom.

Thanks to a case that offers multiple charges before needing to be plugged in to an energy source, you get up to 30 hours of listening time. The earbuds themselves offer up to six hours of listening time per charge. They make audio from TV shows and movies sound more immersive, but also do an impressive job with music, podcasts and audiobooks, as well as the sound from your favorite games. In case we haven’t made our point clearly enough, we thinks these are a must-have accessory for any trip.

If you’re not sure which version of the Apple AirPods are best for you, our tech experts have written an easy-to-understand AirPods buyer’s guide to help you decide.


Bose QuietComfort Ultra wireless noise-cancelling headphones

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Amazon


For those who want even more robust sound and enhanced noise cancellation, we recommend noise-cancelling headphones. Yes, they’re larger, heavier and definitely more bulky, but for audiophiles or anyone who wants to immerse themselves in audio and drown out the ambient noise from the world around them, noise-cancelling headphones are the way to go.

Out of all the options available, we love the latest Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones. They offer superior noise cancellation, a long battery life (up to 24 hours per charge), plenty of padding for extra comfort and a generous collection of other features that place them in the premium category. 

The QuietComfort Ultra headphones offers 10 levels of adjustable noise cancellation and customizable audio EQ using the Bose Music smartphone app. These headphones also deliver clear, hands-free calls or video calls from your mobile device or computer.

To learn more about noise cancelling headphones, read our recently published roundup of the 11 best headphones and earbuds for 2024.


Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition e-reader

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

Amazon


There are literally dozens of e-readers, but we selected the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition because it offers a 6.8-inch, reflection-free, easy-to-read display that can be clearly seen in any lighting situation – from direct sunlight to a pitch black room. This e-reader is also fully waterproof.

Battery life is up to 10 weeks (not mere hours). Reading e-books on this handy gadget is much more enjoyable and easier on your eyes than reading from a traditional tablet. Plus, because it’s lighter weight, it’s more comfortable to hold in your hand during extended reading sessions. 

And because it’s waterproof, using the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, you can catch up on your reading in places you’d never bring a tablet, such as in the bathtub, by a swimming pool, at a beach, or on the deck of a cruise ship. This e-reader can also play audiobooks when you pair with with optional Bluetooth headphones or earbuds.

This edition of the Kindle comes with 32GB of internal storage — enough to hold thousands of e-books or hundreds of audiobooks. It also comes with a trial subscription to the Kindle Unlimited service, which gives you unlimited access to more than two million e-book and audiobook titles for a flat monthly fee. Or you can purchase e-books or audiobooks from the Kindle Store. Yet another option is to borrow e-books from your local library via the free Libby service.

In our coverage of the five best e-readers for 2024, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition was our top pick overall.


Apple iPad (10th Generation) tablet

Apple iPad 10th Generation

Amazon


With a tablet, you get a larger touchscreen display than what a smartphone offers, but a much more compact device than a traditional laptop. 

For people who are already invested in the Apple ecosystem, the iPad (10th Generation) is the perfect starter iPad. It’s more affordable than other iPads, like the latest iPad Pros, iPad Airs or iPad Mini, yet it runs the same iOS 17 (or higher) operating system and comes with the same collection of apps. And from the App Store, there are more than 1.6 million additional apps to choose from.

This version of the iPad runs using Apple’s A14 Bionic processor. It offers a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, comes with 64GB of internal storage and supports Wi-Fi 6. It also comes equipped with a 12MP front- and rear-facing camera. Choose between four casing colors. The Apple Pencil stylus (for writing and drawing on the screen) and the Apple Magic Keyboard Folio (for faster and more accurate typing) are sold separately.

We know that choosing the best Apple iPad model can be confusing, so our in-house tech experts have compiled a comprehensive iPad buyer’s guide.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE Android tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE

Samsung


For Android users, the Samsung Galaxy S9 FE tablet is an affordable, versatile, entry-level tablet that’s suitable for kids, students and adults alike.

The Galaxy Tab S9 FE is equipped with a 10.9-inch LCD touchscreen display. This version is configured with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The tablet comes in four colors and is one of the very few that have an IP68 waterproof rating. This makes it a perfect travel companion.

Another thing we like about this tablet is that there’s a microSD memory card slot built in, so you can increase the internal storage simply by inserting an optional memory card. The Wi-Fi only tablet measures 10.01 x 6.53 x 0.26 inches, weighs 1.15 pounds and works with Samsung’s S Pen stylus.


Away: The Carry-On aluminum luggage

Away: The Carry-On

Away


Is this a tech item? Yes, and we can prove it. 

In addition to being durable, The Carry-On from Away has an optional rechargeable battery pack and external USB ports, so while you’re whizzing through the airport or waiting for a flight, you can recharge your mobile devices without needing an outlet.

The carry-on comes in three colors and features a rugged, all-aluminum hard shell with two interior compartments. The handle extends outward and the four 360-degree spinning wheels make it easy to move around. 

The exterior measures 21.5 x 13.5 x 9 inches, so it fits within the overhead compartment of most commercial airplanes. You also get a TSA-approved combination lock. If you pack efficiently, the bag is designed to hold between five and seven complete outfits. 


Marshall Willen portable Bluetooth speaker

Marshall Willen Bluetooth Speaker

Amazon


Many of the small, Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested offer lackluster sound at best. This is not the case with the ultra-portable and fully waterproof Marshall Willen speaker. Not only does it sound great, it makes the perfect travel companion.

Use it to listen to your favorite tunes in the shower, or add some music to your camping or fishing trip. On the back of the speaker is a strong rubber strap that makes it easy to attach to a backpack.

The built-in controls are in the form of a small joystick that’s located in the top-right corner on the front of the speaker. You get up to 15 hours of listening time per battery charge. And in addition to being IP67 rated for water resistance, it’s also shockproof, so it can withstand being dropped or bumped around a bit.

On its own, the speaker offers mono audio, but you can pair two of these speakers together to generate loud and robust stereo sound. The Willen offers impressive sound quality from its two-inch speaker. The unit measures just 4 x 4 x 1 inches and it weighs a mere 1.21 pounds.


Mophie Powerstation XL portable power bank

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Amazon


It’s not always easy to find a power outlet in an airport, hotel lobby, in a taxi, or any public place. That’s when a portable power bank comes in handy.

The Mophie Powerstation XL uses a 20,000 mAh rechargeable battery. It puts out 20 watts of power to handle fast charging of your devices. We like that this power bank is travel-friendly and offers one USB Type-C and two USB Type-A ports, so you can recharge up to three devices at once. The unit weighs 1.2 pounds and has four tiny LED power indicator lights, so you know how much juice is remaining within the battery.

This larger size version of the Mophie Powerstation measures 6 x 3 x 1 inches. Several more compact designs are available, but they don’t offer the same battery capacity as this one. 


Allocacoc PowerCube

Allocacoc PowerCube

Amazon


We all travel with a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, laptop computer, camera, wireless earbuds — some kind of mobile gear. The problem, of course, is that a power outlet isn’t always around.

Bring along one of these handy PowerCubes. It plugs into any standard power outlet and provides four, three-prong outlets and two USB Type-A ports. It has a built-in surge protector and can be used with any of the gadgets you travel with.

Several variations of the PowerCube are available, including one that has a built-in, five-foot extension cord. All come in your choice of colors.


To learn all about the latest consumer tech, read in-depth product reviews, discover informative buyer’s guides for popular products and find the best deals, be sure to check out our constantly updated tech coverage.


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