Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The latest in summer travel gadgets

It seems that every time I travel, I learn of a new technology aimed at making travel easier or more convenient. So, with the summer travel season upon us, I offer this list of some of the new gadgets that could be finding their way to your suitcase or your hotel room.

The items on this list were identified by Daniel Ramirez, vice president of Porter24, a digital advertising company that provides hospitality solutions through an interactive touchscreen concierge service.

New travel technologies include:

Karma Go mobile Wi-Fi

Karma Go Mobile Wi-Fi
Photo courtesy Karma
With the simple touch of a power button, the Karma Go uses a cellular connection to create your own personal Wi-Fi hot spot. Karma Go boasts download speeds of 6 to 8 Mbps with peaks of up to 25 Mbps when running on 4G LTE. Those speeds compare very favorably to the average hotel Wi-Fi, which I have found to usually be around 1 Mbps. In addition, having your own personal Wi-Fi hot spot could mean not having to pay an additional charge to connect to the Internet at your hotel.

The Karma Go can support up to eight devices at once, is priced at $149 and has no monthly fees or contracts. Data is on a pay-as-you-go basis at $14 per gigabyte. More information on the device is available here

I used a mobile hotspot during my recent trip to Poland and found it to be very convenient. Read more here.

USB cufflinks

Shades of James Bond! Well-dressed meets tech-savvy with Ravi Ratan cufflinks that are cleverly disguised flash drives. Simply undo the cufflink, plug the USB flash drive it into your laptop and have instant access to vital information. A set of rectangular matte silver cufflinks retails for $100 a pair and other styles are available. More information is available here.

GPS for your Gucci

Trakdot luggage tracker
Photo courtesy Trakdot
If you or your travel provider has ever lost your luggage, you know how frustrating that can be. Now there’s a device that helps ensure your luggage and you are on the same itinerary. Enter the Trakdot Luggage Tracker.

Download an app to your Android or iPhone, then drop the $69.95 device into your suitcase. The device actually uses GSM (Global System for Mobile communication), not GPS, and will transmit a message to your smartphone whenever it is near an airport equipped with GSM. When you change planes or arrive at your destination, Trakdot will send a text message or email confirming that your luggage has arrived with you. More information is available here.

Keyless hotel keys

Plastic keycards for your hotel room – and even the need to check in at the front desk – could soon be a thing of the past. The Starwood hotel chain has introduced an app called SPG Keyless. The app enables users to bypass the check-in counter and check in on their device. Then, once checked in, guests will be able to simply wave their smartphone to unlock their hotel room. SPG Keyless is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. More details are available here.

In addition, there are several new devices travelers may want to look for when choosing their accommodations.

Charging unplugged

KS Portable
Photo courtesy Kube Systems
It is undeniable: most of us are traveling with more and more electronic gadgets. As a result, many hotel rooms don’t have enough outlets to charge all of our devices. Enter Kube Systems’ KS Portable, a multi-device charger that includes built-in Apple Lightning, 30-pin & Micro USB connectors covering all Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices as well as a wireless drop and charge capability. Place a device on top of the KS Portable and the battery starts to charge. The KS Portable can charge up to six devices simultaneously.

Kube Systems serves the hospitality, food service and commercial markets. In conjunction with Marriott Hotels, placed chargers in Greatroom lobbies of 29 Marriott hotels in 2014. More details are available here. Kube System chargers are now available at about 130 properties, according to Dave Weinstein, the company's vice president. Look for them or suggest them to your favorite hotel(s) to make future travels easier.

The Man (or Woman) in the Mirror

Products from the Seattle-area company Electric Mirror provide many hotel guests the dual functionality of mirrors that serve as televisions. Now, guests can shave or put on makeup, dry their hair or brush their teeth while getting caught up on the day’s news or the latest gossip. The company produces lighted mirror TVs, waterproof TVs and bathroom mirror TVs. More information is available here.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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