Travel Tech Series

Best Gadgets for International Travelers

Posted by Scott Tharler on March 20, 2012 at 12:12:40 PM EDT | Post a Comment

If you could only bring six gadgets with you to Europe, you'd go far with these ones we've chosen. They'll help you stay warm, chat with the locals, and recharge wherever you go. So you'll be in great shape to stay entertained and all charged up, whether your travels take you to Stockholm, Hamburg, or Venice.

1. Sony VAIO S Series Laptop

Why We Like It: The Sony VAIO S Series is speedy, sleek, and light—both the 13- and 15-inch screen varieties weigh around four pounds and are less than an inch thin. It is great for multimedia, with a built-in DVD player, plus a high-def webcam and display. And best of all, it's got good battery life. Even the 15-incher clocks in at up to six hours on a single charge—double that with the optional sheet battery ($150), which makes those long-haul flights suddenly seem a lot shorter. All in all, it's a highly portable, fully functional travel computer.

How Much: Starting at $775

Buy It: Visit

2. Vocre

Why We Like It: It's a quick, easy way to break the language barrier. Use your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to record your voice in your language; review the text on the screen to make sure it's what you want to say; with a tap, the app translates it for you, producing a fairly natural sounding native voice. It also has a mode where you simply speak into your device, then tilt it and Vocre translates aloud. To top all that, future versions even promise to do live translation during video calls, which we think will be fantastiska, erstaunlich, and stupefacente!

How Much: Free

Buy It: Visit

3. T-Tech by Tumi International Travel Adapter with USB Power

Why We Like It: With both AC and USB connections, it's able to power up to two devices at once in any of over 150 countries around the world. It's great for not only phones, music players, and cameras, but tablets as well. It comes with a microfiber pouch, handy for both carrying the adapter itself and cleaning all your gadget screens. It will be available to the general public in April.

How Much: $40

Buy It: Visit

4. National Geographic Talk Abroad International SIM Card

Why We Like It: If you're country-hopping, this is the SIM card to have for your unlocked GSM-compatible phone. It comes with both a U.S. and U.K. number; the best rates are for incoming calls. (See the Cellular Abroad site for full rate details.) You can have calls forwarded from your existing mobile number to the SIM's U.S. number—or have folks call that number directly—either way, these calls are just 25 cents a minute wherever you are. The U.K. number gives you free incoming and reasonably priced outgoing calls and texts. The card comes with $29 worth of credits. And you can add more by voice, text, or automatically when the balance gets down to $5.

How Much: $59

Buy It: Visit

5. Storm Logic Jacket

Why We Like It: It's a nice lightweight, insulated, breathable, durable, moisture-wicking jacket. . . that quickly stuffs into its own sack to convert into a comfy neck pillow! They sport a microfleece-lined collar and outer pockets, along with some handy inner pockets. It's available for both men and women. There's also a vest version available now and ExOfficio is coming out with a hooded sweater version in June. They all cradle your neck on the jet ride over and protect you from chills, wind, and rain when you hit the ground.

How Much: $150

Buy It: Visit

6. Traveler Wallet

Why We Like It: Made from a strong, lightweight, water-resistant nylon, this wallet has room for a passport, essential cards, and bills in a couple of currencies. Yet it's designed to carry all that and still be super-thin. The magic lies in its combination of materials and how the compartments are distributed. The benefit is having your money and ID handy all in one place—not buried in various bags and pockets.

How Much: $35

Buy It: Visit

Win an On-the-Go Prize Pack

Enter to win our prize pack, which includes a Sony VAIO S Series Laptop and Tumi International Power Adapter. By entering, you will be signed up for the Fodor's newsletter. You can unsubscribe at anytime. Travel Technology Columnist Scott Tharler is an expert in gadgets, gambling, and travel. He’s written four books, plus hundreds of mobile and wireless tips for Sony and PC World. In addition to his daily Discovery News gadget blog, you can find links to other gadget articles, social feeds and lists of his current favorite gadgets at

Photo credits: courtesy 1. © 2012 Sony Electronics Inc.; 2. © Vocre; 3. © 2012 Jasco Products Company; 4. © 2012 National Geographic Society; 5. © 2011 ExOfficio LLC; 6. © 2012 ALL-ETT Billfolds Store

Posted in Travel Tech Tagged: Technology, Travel Tech

Member Comments (52)  Post a Comment

  • Seamus on Apr 6, 12 at 08:22 PM

    would have chosen the laptop pre-iPad. Definitely NOT the NG SIM - the rates are not very good. Guess it's a toss up between the jacket and the Tumi adapter

  • chuchucherri on Mar 27, 12 at 09:24 PM

    The sim card! too much of a hassle trying to communicate with people when you get to a country. better to have something that works everywhere!

  • Diane_Zachek on Mar 27, 12 at 07:36 PM

    Definitely the VAIO. I bought one for my daughter and she loves it!

  • LavenderGooms on Mar 27, 12 at 04:05 PM

    I definitely want the Sony VAIO. But the wallet would be pretty nice too.

  • dunia123 on Mar 27, 12 at 03:39 PM

    I want to try the Vocre app. I was just discussing with a friend the Google Translate app, and I'd like to compare it!

  • HeadwatersMT on Mar 24, 12 at 05:56 PM

    The adapter. Always need to power up more than one device at a time.

  • libra5310 on Mar 24, 12 at 09:40 AM

    The SIM card!!! I'm off to download Vocre now!

  • Apres_Londee on Mar 24, 12 at 09:20 AM

    The Sony VAIO, for it's size and battery life.

  • kt785 on Mar 24, 12 at 01:22 AM

    The Sony VAIO S Series

  • kt785 on Mar 24, 12 at 01:20 AM

    The Sony VAIO S Series. The battery life seals it for me.

  • sassy27 on Mar 23, 12 at 02:53 PM

    I would like the International SIM card. I had one that was accidentally thrown away.

  • RM67 on Mar 23, 12 at 12:21 PM

    The Vaio - to replace my 13-year old on-the-blink one!

  • olympicgirl on Mar 22, 12 at 11:06 PM

    I really need a travel laptop and the Sony Vaio looks like the perfect one to take.

  • marylynn35 on Mar 22, 12 at 07:44 PM

    I have never taken a PC with me, so I would like the laptop.

  • carli on Mar 22, 12 at 07:19 PM

    The Vocre.

  • amalizard on Mar 22, 12 at 07:10 PM

    Definitely the laptop.

  • cynthia_booker on Mar 22, 12 at 03:58 PM

    I would love to try the traveler wallet. I am always trying to find ways to travel lighter and the wallet should help.

  • Alyscia_Needham on Mar 22, 12 at 02:39 PM

    I would love the National Geographic SIM Card. We had so much trouble trying to get one while abroad last time. We loved taking it slow, following the map and not planning a day ahead. Having a reliable phone for just in case and calling bnbs in the next town is a life saver!

  • annek005 on Mar 22, 12 at 02:36 PM

    I like the Storm Logic Jacket because I'm always searching for the perfect traveling jacket.

  • campton on Mar 22, 12 at 12:29 PM

    I'd like the Sony laptop as it's speedy and so light plus the optional battery is a must!

  • jebol on Mar 22, 12 at 10:59 AM

    The Storm Logic Jacket. Runner up: The SIM card.

  • lorlilu on Mar 22, 12 at 09:16 AM

    Has to be the sony laptop followed closely by vocre

  • klieghj on Mar 22, 12 at 06:10 AM

    T-Tech by Tumi International Travel Adapter with USB Power

  • Suru11 on Mar 21, 12 at 11:50 PM

    The laptop.

  • cobs on Mar 21, 12 at 07:46 PM

    Has to be the Sony VAIO S Series Laptop - great to check out all the places I should see, store all my photos etc of my travels - great! Like the vocre too - just need the iphone!

  • HG0DFREY on Mar 21, 12 at 07:08 PM


  • HG0DFREY on Mar 21, 12 at 07:01 PM



  • Saraho on Mar 21, 12 at 06:26 PM

    Hope I win the computer

  • saige on Mar 21, 12 at 05:07 PM

    The Sony VAIO S Series laptop gets my vote! I'm also intrigued by the ExOfficio jacket, though. Looks like something that would have been handy on the excursion boats in Alaska.

  • Rachel_Goddard on Mar 21, 12 at 03:26 PM

    I definitely want to try out the Vocre program!

  • lindyisabel on Mar 21, 12 at 03:12 PM

    The power adapter would be so convenient- travel with ipad, phone, ipod, etc -cords are a nuisance!!

  • robertcoon on Mar 21, 12 at 02:59 PM

    Just downloaded the Vocre app, but would most like to try the Sony Vaio!

  • trvlndance on Mar 21, 12 at 01:53 PM

    Can't wait to download and try the Vocre app

  • chepar on Mar 21, 12 at 01:11 PM

    the laptop looks great - long battery life, size and features make it very attractive.

  • Lizabeth on Mar 21, 12 at 12:58 PM

    The Sony Laptop would be great for keeping in touch with family and keeping a journal of the trip.

  • AJPeabody on Mar 21, 12 at 12:58 PM


  • Senyor on Mar 21, 12 at 12:49 PM

    I think the jacket makes the most sense. Since it rolls up into itself, little weight or space is used. With all the restrictions on what you can carry on nowadays, this is one less thing to worry about.

  • ElendilPickle on Mar 21, 12 at 12:30 PM

    The Sony Vaio laptop sounds great, as does the T-Tech travel adapter. We've burned out two adapters on our travels, and this one sounds like it's versatile and easy to use.

  • dmahloy on Mar 21, 12 at 11:56 AM

    I can use Voyce on my pending trip to Montreal.

  • JPinTN on Mar 21, 12 at 11:49 AM

    I've got to go with the Vocre APP. Speaking their language and getting to know your hosts (the locals) is so much fun and so important.

  • koalaty on Mar 21, 12 at 11:20 AM

    Love to win that Sony Vaio...Anything Sony has always been my motto!

  • mouseRD on Mar 21, 12 at 11:16 AM

    The Sony VAIO followed by the Nat Geo sim card.

  • campswp6 on Mar 21, 12 at 11:15 AM

    I would like to try the Sony VAIO laptop. What a nice laptop...I would share with my grandson. We want to travel together and could explore.

  • briands on Mar 21, 12 at 10:33 AM

    Definitely the Sony Laptop with 6 hours of battery life. Or with the optional sheet battery for an extra 12 hours would be really nice.

  • JohnCF99 on Mar 21, 12 at 10:24 AM

    Sony VAIO S Series Laptop to keep track of emails and friends.

  • ocjane on Mar 21, 12 at 10:16 AM

    Would love the Vaio. It sounds perfect for a trip. Loved the older one I had. It made traveling with kids a special treat.

  • texasbookworm on Mar 21, 12 at 10:02 AM

    The Laptop for its size and versatility. The rain jacket, if it comes in small/petite size, would be cool, too.

  • wanderlust325 on Mar 21, 12 at 09:55 AM

    Love the Storm Logic Jacket! Seems idea for the trip I'm planning to South America. Versatile jacket AND a pillow for long bus trips.

  • TravellingNola on Mar 21, 12 at 09:54 AM

    The Sony VAIO gets my vote! I would love to take it to Europe----or to my local cafe.

  • dublinjames on Mar 21, 12 at 09:39 AM

    has to the laptop. I've owned two Sony Vaio's and they are great pieces of gear. Also, Vocre. I have it installed on my iPhone and love the way it works.

  • KatShoebox on Mar 21, 12 at 06:46 AM

    The National Geographic Talk Abroad International SIM Card. I like being in touch with my family overseas and when I travel.

  • 5alive on Mar 21, 12 at 01:50 AM

    My vote has to be for the Sony Laptop. People have been bring laptops on trips for decades, but the size and battery would make this quite an upgrade to watch a movie, store a copy of the travel itinerary, keep a travel journal, and download pictures.

    My runner-up would be the SIM card. Clever!

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