Vacations are great – what’s not to love about taking time off to relax and unwind while taking a trip to somewhere new? What’s not great is traveling to your destination, where the journey itself can take a good chunk out of your holiday time.
There’s only so much sleeping you can do while you wait for the fun to start, and if you spend most of your time working on a phone or a computer, you’re probably looking for a change of pace from the same two screens you face regularly.
If you’d like to disconnect from your usual day-to-day and relax with other kinds of media, check out our recommendations of the best travel gadgets to bring with you on a long trip.
For the Digitally-Inclined Bookworms
Losing ourselves in a book is one of our favorite pastimes, especially when we’re stuck on a long commute to our destination. Gone are the days when you had to lug around hefty physical books – now, you can keep your reading material in a nifty device that’s book-sized or smaller.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
With its updated 11th generation launched in 2021, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the device to get if you’re looking for an e-reader that’s convenient and comfortable to use.
Its large and clear display features e-ink technology, so you can read for hours without too much eye fatigue, and it stores up to 8GB, which is plenty of space for all your old and new favorites. Coming with a 6.8-inch display and weighing only 203 grams; not too big nor too heavy to bring with you on a long trip, even if you’re carrying your phone and laptop with you. If the price of $90 is a bit outside of your budget, there are tons of refurbished models available for a handful of dollars, with most of them hovering around $30.
The latest models can be found on Amazon under this link.
Kobo Clara HD
If you’re not looking for a specific e-reader and the majority of your books don’t come from Amazon, the Kobo Clara HD is a great alternative to the Kindle Paperwhite mentioned above.
Its interface integrates well with Overdrive software, making it one of the best options for those who often borrow books from public libraries, and the Kobo brand of e-readers is particularly popular outside of the US. The Kobo Clara HD is a little lighter and smaller than the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, with a color-changing front light that lets you shift between blue to yellow. The front light can also shift automatically depending on the time of day, so if you read often at night, your eyes and body will have no problem getting ready for bedtime.
The link to their online outlet can be found here.
SanDisk Clip Jam
Not all of us like to read text during our leisure time, especially if our eyes are strained and fatigued from long work hours. Audiobooks and other downloaded audio media are great for staying entertained without tiring out your eyes, and the SanDisk Clip Jam does the job of keeping all your audio media files on hand in a pinch.
This blast from the past hails from the iPod Shuffle era, and if you’re looking to disconnect while keeping occupied with your favorite audiobook or song playlist, you’ll love this single-task device. The Clip Jam only has 8GB of built-in file storage, which is plenty of space for audio files. If you need more, you can easily expand it up to 64GB using the microSD card expansion slot. That’s a lot of songs – about 21000 songs or 1800 hours of audio in total!
The SanDisk Clip Jam doesn’t have Bluetooth or WiFi compatibility, though, so your entertainment is limited to whatever you can fit into its file space, but that also reflects on the price of only $30.
For the Gamers, Both Young and Old
If you prefer something a little more involved, our next recommendations for travel entertainment are going to push all the right buttons. Whether you’re a retro gamer or someone who’s having fun keeping up with the latest offerings, we’ve got you covered.
Nintendo Game & Watch Retro Handheld Consoles
Cute, portable, and packing tons of fun in a nifty little package, the Nintendo Game & Watch features some of Nintendo’s best retro offerings, bringing you titles like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario on a device that is small enough to fit on your wrist. These pint-sized units have a classic gaming aesthetic for their exterior, with quite a modern interior sporting a USB-C port and 1000mAh lithium-ion battery.
Depending on which edition you get, you’ll be able to play classic Zelda or Mario games on your Nintendo Game & Watch. The first console release lets you play the original NES Super Mario Bros., its sequel, Super Mario Bros. 2 (AKA The Lost Levels), and a special version of one of the original Game & Watch games, Ball.
Meanwhile, the Legend of Zelda edition contains three games: The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda II for the NES, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. You can find both of them in Nintendo’s store for less than $50.
Nintendo Switch Lite
If you like something a little more modern, the Switch Lite lets you enjoy Nintendo’s latest titles in a size that’s perfect for traveling. Unlike the flagship Nintendo Switch OLED, the Switch Lite’s integrated controllers are built-in, so you don’t have to worry about detaching them and losing them while you’re on your way to your holiday destination.
What we like about the Switch Lite is that it’s compact and light enough to be portable without compromising your gaming experience. If you’re traveling with friends or family, up to 8 consoles can be linked for some extra multiplayer fun – the hours spent traveling will pass by in a flash and you’ll be at your destination in no time when you’re equipped with the best entertainment Nintendo can offer. You can check out the latest price under this link.
Valve’s Steam Deck
One of the latest contenders in the handheld gaming department. The Steam Deck comes in a powerful and convenient form factor, and lets you enjoy over 600 different PC games. Depending on your gaming appetite, you can choose between three models: the 64GB eMMC, 256GB NVMe SSD, and 512GB NVMe SSD. If that’s not enough, you can always expand your storage with a MicroSD Card.
The only trouble you might have with the console is availability. Right now, the queue is set to around 1 month of waiting time, depending on your location. For the best angle, be sure to visit Steam’s official store.
Between the comfortable controls and 7-8 hours of battery life, you’re set for on-the-go entertainment no matter how long the journey is, just be sure to pack in some headphones – which brings us to the next point!
For the Audiophile on the Go
Whether you’re listening to music, playing a game, or tuning in to your favorite podcast while you travel, good headphones are a must for protecting your bubble of rest and relaxation from background noise. Check out our suggestions for the best beats.
Bose Noise Cancelling 700
Comfortable enough to sleep in and stylish enough to wear as a fashion statement, Bose NC700 headphones come from one of the front runners in the active noise-cancelling tech industry.
This powerful, sleek headset comes with a touch-sensitive gesture pad for playback controls, USB-C charging, and a metal headband that’s tough to break, making listening to your favorite audio a smooth, low-friction experience. The NC700 also have 20 hours of playback per charge, so your music can keep you company on those tedious long-haul flights.
The price hovers anywhere between $250 and $300, depending on the offers. For the latest pricing, check out Bose’s Amazon Store.
Sony WM1AM2 Walkman
If you were a cool kid back in the 80s, you definitely had a Walkman – the era of portable hi-fi music players isn’t over yet, though, as Sony released not one, but two Walkmans in 2022. The Sony NW-WM1AM2 is made especially for the most discerning of audiophiles, featuring an aluminium-alloy body and a low resistance, oxygen-free copper cable connection for top-quality audio.
This premium digital media player also features a USB-C port, WiFi streaming, and a HD display, so you can stream your favorite beats from streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify using its Android 11 interface. With 128GB of expandable storage and up to 40 hours of playback time, you’re sure to have a fantastic audio experience for the duration of your trip.
Before you get this, consider pairing it with a suitable set of headphones for the best audio experience money can buy. While the Bose NC700 mentioned above is plenty good, the Sennheiser IE series of earbuds are your best bet. Personally we would recommend the IE900 if they are available in your region, if not, the IE300 will be equally fun. You can find both of them under this link.
If keeping your gadgets fully powered on your trip is a problem, try a battery pack that will juice up your devices for maximum entertainment while you travel. The Zendure SuperMini Go charges up to three devices at a time, packing 15W wireless, magnetic charging, 20W USB-C, and 22.5W USB-A ports into a compact body with a 10,000mAh battery capacity.
Now that you’re fully equipped with gadgets and gizmos to fill the time you spend traveling on holiday, go forth and enjoy yourself! Wishing you safe travels and a fun, relaxing holiday.