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Whether you’re thinking of your own wish list or looking for gifts for others, picking up some gear to make traveling easier and more fun are sure to be appreciated. Follow along for options from $10 that are useful for traveling near or far.
Traveling can be challenging in a variety of ways, especially during the holidays. In this gift guide we’ve rounded up some of the best gear and accessories to help you get through security smoothly, stay organized, and keep your devices protected and charged up.Staying charged
Anker offers amazing value and its products are highly rated. The Candy Bar Power Bank packs a 6700 mAh capacity in a compact size. It even charges at 2A for faster power delivery. At just $13, this makes an awesome stocking stuffer.
If you’re looking for a something with a larger capacity, Anker’s PowerCore 10000 offers over 3 full charges for most iPhones starting at $26 and still comes in a reasonably small package.
If even more power and flexibility sound good, the PowerCore+ 20100 with USB C can charge up to 3 devices at 2.4A simultaneously. The USB C port supports both power input and output and can even fully charge a MacBook once. It’s a great value at $66. There’s also a version without the USB C for $42.
Anker Candy Bar Power Bank – $13
Anker PowerCore 10000 – $26
PowerCore 20100 – $42
PowerCore+ 20100 USB C – $66
If you like to travel as light as possible, there are some good compact, MFi Apple Watch/iPhone chargers available. UGreen offers a 2200 mAh option with a USB port to charge your iPhone (our review) for $50, but a better value is its new model (look out for out full review soon) with 4400 mAh capacity and built-in Lightning cable for $55 (after $5 instant coupon).
Oittm’s MFi Portable power bank also offers Apple Watch + iPhone charging convenience with a 5000 mAh capacity. It’s also a good value at $54, but doesn’t have a built-in Lightning cable.
UGreen Portable Wireless Charger for Apple Watch w/ Lightning cable – $55
Oittm Portable Charger for Apple Watch – $54
It’s always good to have an extra Lightning cable or two, and Anker’s MFi certified cables are a no brainer at $9.
There are some generic brand charging cases available for iPhone 8 and X, but nothing from more reliable companies like Mophie yet. With the low-cost and flexibility of great stand alone power banks, they seem like the way to go.Staying organized
With all the devices, cables, dongles, and other accessories you probably have, it can take some work to stay organized when you’re on the go. Here are some affordable ways to keep things more manageable.
Cocoon’s GRID-IT is a great simple way to keep all your gear in check. GRID-IT is available in a variety of sizes and colors to fit most any bag or setup. Some even offer a laptop or tablet sleeve on the back.
Cocoon GRID-IT from $10
For an option with more protection, a universal electronics case from BUBM might be a good fit. You’ll find a variety of colors and sizes, and some are even waterproof.
BUBM Universal Electronics Cases from $6
Bento Stack is a unique option to keep organized and was designed with Apple accessories specifically in mind. It’s a hard shell style case that keep items contained inspired by bento boxes. It’s a bit pricier starting at $38 on Indiegogo, and also may not arrive in time for Christmas, but deliveries are expected this month.
Bento Stack from $38Bags and luggage
A good bag or suitcase to keep your devices protected and make it easy to breeze through security is really helpful. Here are some top picks.
I’ve been a Timbuk2 user and big fan for over a decade. The bags are excellently made in San Francisco and have a lifetime warranty.
You can create your own custom backpack or messenger bag to perfectly fit your needs and taste, but the Timbuk2 Command Laptop Backpack and Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger are both great off the shelf choices.
Build a custom Timbuk2 bag from $109
Timbuk2 Command Laptop Backpack from $88
Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger from $90
If you’re a fan of carrying on your luggage, the Nomatic Travel Bag is a sharp option. It sports features like TSA approved laptop and tablet pockets that allow you to leave your devices in the bag when going through security, an RFID protected pocket, and lots of storage for accessories.
Other features include a separate shoe pocket, a laundry bag, and detachable waist straps. The bag is also waterproof and seamlessly converts between backpack and duffel bag.
Nomatic Travel Bag – $220
There are a several companies making ‘smart’ luggage. A couple of the most popular are Bluesmart’s ONE and The Carry-On by Away. While Bluesmart includes the most features of almost any smart luggage with 3G+GPS tracking, software operated locks, and a power bank, its luggage doesn’t feature removable batteries, which major airlines will start requiring next year.
This also explains why Bluesmart products seem to be unavailable from its website and retailers like Amazon.
The Carry-On and The Bigger Carry-On from Away don’t feature as much tech as Bluesmart, but they do have USB ports to stay charged, a removable battery, a built-in TSA approved lock, and an unbreakable design with a lifetime guarantee.
The Carry-On – $225
The Bigger Carry-On – $245Staying protected
When it comes to keeping your devices protected, it seems like the options are endless. Here are a few top picks for iPhone.
Even though I might not use a wallet case all the time, I particularly find them useful when traveling. An affordable, simple choice is the Silk Wallet for iPhone X or iPhone 7/8 at $15.
Mujjo also makes some great cases like its iPhone X wallet case. The company also offers its high-quality, functional leather cases for almost any iPhone model.
Lastly, JimmyCase offers a unique approach with hardwood backed iPhone cases with a durable elastic back for storing cards and cash.
Silk Wallet for iPhone X – $15
Silk Wallet for iPhone 7/8 – $15
Mujjo wallet cases for iPhone X – $50
Mujjo wallet cases for other iPhones from $24
JimmyCase for iPhone from $40
As for protecting your MacBook or iPad, there’s no harm in adding an extra layer of protection with a sleeve or case even if your bag or briefcase offers up some defense.
On the budget side of things, AmazonBasics has options for felt sleeves from $10-$14 and neoprene style sleeves from $6-$12.
In the moderate price range, Incase offers up solid products to protect your devices that include a little more attention to aesthetics.
For more premium sleeves and cases, Mission Leather Co. makes some sharp options for MacBook and iPad ranging from $70 and up.
AmazonBasics Felt Laptop Sleeve from $10
AmazonBasics Laptop/Tablet Sleeve from $6
Incase sleeves/cases from $50
Mission Leather Co. sleeves/cases from $70Miscellaneous
Other handy items that can make great stocking stuffers or nice small gifts include the iOttie OneTouch 2 or iOttie Air Vent to keep iPhone useful for navigation. Anker also has a good magnetic mount option.
If you don’t have or don’t want to spend the money on noise cancelling headphones, I enjoy using EarBuddyz or Earhoox when flying to give a noise isolation boost in addition to a snug fit with EarPods and AirPods.
Finally, if you live in a cold climate, or are visiting one, Mujjo’s Touch Screen Gloves make a great gift (full review coming soon). They come in both knit and leather options starting at $30.
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Some Android tablets have unique features that set the devices apart from Apple’s iPad 2. Toshiba is offering its Tablet with a replaceable battery option, which users can buy for $89. Keyboards for Motorola’s Xoom and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab are available with specific keys that make it easy to use and navigate the Android OS. Other handy accessories such as M-Edge’s Convertible Sleeve can be used for both e-readers and tablets.Motorola Xoom Accessories
Motorola is also selling a speaker dock for $129.99 and a standard dock for $49.99, both for the Xoom. Motorola’s online store also offers an HDMI cable at $39.99 to connect the Xoom to high-definition TVs. The site also offers cases and covers for $29.99.Samsung Galaxy Tab Accessories
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is available with a 7-inch screen, though a 10-inch version is due out later this year. The company offers the Full Size Keyboard Dock, which offers more features than the product name suggests. A dock at the top can keep the Tab charged and connect the tablet to the keyboard. Another cool feature is a headphone jack outlet at the back of the keyboard, which could be handy when trying to maintain silence. It’s unclear if the dock will accommodate the upcoming 10-inch Tab. The Keyboard Dock is priced at $79.99 on Samsung’s website.
Other Tab accessories include Samsung’s $19.99 Conductive Style, a digital pen stylized like a “premium writing instrument,” according to the company. A range of covers and cases are available on Samsung’s website, with the protective covers priced at $29.99, and leather cases starting at $49.99.BlackBerry PlayBook Accessories
Staples also houses some accessories for non-Android tablets like Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook, a 7-inch tablet that will begin shipping in mid-April starting at $499. Included are a $69.99 Rapid Charging Pod, a $49.99 Leather Convertible Case and a $59.99 Leather Book Binder, which looks like an e-reader case. Accessory maker Targus has listed a nylon Truss case for the PlayBook, which is listed at $34.99, though it is not yet available for order. Targus is also offering a leather Zierra portfolio case for the PlayBook priced at $54.99.Multifunctional Sleeves
M-Edge is selling a $29.99 sleeve that can be used not only for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, but also Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-readers. Calling it “Convertible Sleeve,” M-Edge says the jacket gives users the “best of both worlds by combining the functionality of a jacket with the security of a sleeve.” The front of the sleeve has four small pockets on the edges to hold a tablet or e-reader when in use.Samsung Tab on the Wall Toshiba’s “Screwdriver Savvy” Tablet
Toshiba Tablet, an upcoming 10.1-inch tablet, will include the unique ability to replace a battery, a feature not available in competing tablets. Toshiba says consumers have to only be “screwdriver savvy,” and a replacement battery is already available for pre-order on Staples’ tablet promotion site priced at $89.99. Other accessories for Toshiba Tablet listed include a case ($39.99), a back cover ($19.99) and a tablet pen ($14.99). In all, the Staples tablet website is a good one-stop shop that lists accessories for Toshiba Tablet and other devices. The release date and price for the Toshiba Tablet have not yet been announced.
The Storm has a higher-resolution display, at 480-by-360 pixels. It offers five-and-a-half hours of 3G talk time, according to RIM, compared to five hours for the iPhone. And the Storm has a 3.2-megapixel camera with built-in flash, besting the iPhone’s 2-megapixel camera with no flash.
They are similarly sized but the iPhone is tops for weight and connectivity. The Storm weighs 155 grams (0.34 pounds) while the iPhone weighs 133 grams. The Storm doesn’t have a Wi-Fi networking option, which the iPhone does, and it doesn’t yet have an equivalent to Apple’s App Store, but that should be coming next year. The Storm offers 1G byte of onboard memory (with 128M bytes of built-in flash memory and a MicroSD slot for extra storage), compared to iPhone’s 8G bytes or 16G bytes of storage. Verizon Wireless in the U.S. bundles an 8G-byte MicroSD card to customers, a RIM spokeswoman said, though she couldn’t immediately say if other carriers worldwide would offer a MicroSD card.
The decision on which to choose may come down to ease of use, for which the iPhone is famous. I haven’t tested the Storm thoroughly yet, but BlackBerry devices are known to handle e-mail better, which is handier for me. The Storm is priced at US$199.99 in the U.S. with a two-year contract from Verizon Wireless. It is also available in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada.Flip Mino HD
Pure Digital Technologies’ sleek-looking Flip Mino HD video camera is sparse on features but high on price. It’s small enough to fit easily in the pocket and simple to handle. But at $229.99 it may be unappealing at a time when many people are counting pennies.
It’s not a high-end camera with frills like manual focus and optical zoom, but it is simple to use. A no-nonsense interface allows you to press one button to shoot or play back video. It has a 1.5-inch LCD screen, weighs 3.3 ounces (93 grams) and comes with 4G bytes of storage.
After connecting the Mino HD to a PC, videos can be easily e-mailed or uploaded to video sites like YouTube. The device works with both the Mac and Windows operating systems.XO accessories, not from OLPC
OLPC’s XO laptops went on sale at chúng tôi on Nov. 17, and chúng tôi is now offering a complete travel pack of XO accessories. For $75 it includes a USB light, a wireless optical mouse, a 2G-byte flash drive, a LAN adapter, a stylus and headphones. For an additional $10 the store will add a laptop bag, though XO laptops already have a handle. Most of the accessories are designed to match the XO’s green scheme. About 5 percent of the proceeds from sales will be donated to OLPC, writes owner Brady Pierzchalski on the company’s Web site.Enjoy opening those boxes
The plastic boxes that gadgets are wrapped in are often hard to open and can even lead to cuts and bruises if you’re not careful. You can now ease that with Zibra’s Open It cutting tool, which is designed to open hard plastic boxes. It’s even got a screwdriver built in to boot. The $12.99 device is available on Zibra’s Web site and at chúng tôi for $10.30.
Have you ever missed an ideal snapshot as you waited for the Camera app’s animation and UI to finish loading? I think it’s safe to say that all of us have missed a perfect photo as a result of having to wait on the iPhone’s Camera app. Things have gotten considerably better in this regard as hardware speeds have improved, but it’s still not exactly perfect.
QuickShoot Pro is a jailbreak tweak that seeks out to solve the issue by letting you snap photos and videos directly from the Home screen. It accomplishes this feat using a couple of different methods. The first method requires you to double tap on the Camera app icon for a photo, and a triple tap on the app icon for video. By doing this, a photo or video is taken without the Camera UI, hence resulting in a faster composition.
The second method is a simple Activator gesture. You can setup an Activator gesture for taking a photo or starting a new video. QuickShoot Pro features quite a few options that can be used to configure the tweak to your needs and liking. It’s not going to completely reduce the wait time associated with taking a new photo, but it’s certainly faster than the stock method for taking photos and videos. Take a look inside as we break down QuickShoot Pro in our hands on video walkthrough…
Once QuickShot Pro is installed, you can begin using it immediately. Double tap on the Camera app icon, and you’ll see an impressive little animation denoting the snapshot. You’ll also notice the green focus boxes when the camera is focusing on a subject. A triple tap on the same app icon yields a red LED indicating that video recording is now taking place.
Venture into the tweak’s preferences contained within the Settings app, shows an assorted variety of different options. There’s the standard kill-switch for starters, along with a bevy of preferences for configuring the way photos and videos are taken. Here’s a quick rundown on what you will find in the tweak’s settings:
Camera Device – Allows you to select between rear and front facing cameras
Video Quality – Let’s you choose the video quality of the movies you shoot
Flash Mode – Enable flash, disable flash, and select automatic mode
HDR – For enabling High Dynamic range photos
Anti-Blur – Waits for the device to become still for 5 seconds before a photo is taken
Image Capture Shortcuts – Activator gesture for photos
Video Capture Shortcuts – Activator gesture for videos
If you’re the type of person who hates venturing into the Settings app over and over again, you’ll be glad to find a shortcut options window — this allows you to adjust settings on the fly. The options window can be configured using an Activator gesture, and pops up directly on the Home screen to let you change HDR, flash, and camera device settings. You can configure the window to disappear after a set amount of time in the tweak’s settings.
Last but not least, there’s another option contained within QuickShoot Pro’s settings. This option allows you to select additional icons for invoking the camera with double or triple taps. This is great for those of you who use an alternate camera app like Camera+, and/or for those of you who hide the stock Camera app icon.
Traveling with connected devices could open you up to data breaches or cyberattacks.
It’s important to take protective steps before traveling with your devices.
Failure to take the proper cybersecurity measures when traveling could put your entire business at risk.
This article is for business owners and professionals who plan to travel with connected devices like laptops, smartphones or tablets.
In the office or at home, you may be protected from online threats thanks to a robust cybersecurity solution for your internal network. But what about when you’re on a trip? You won’t be protected by your office’s network security, and must depend on hotel and conference center Wi-Fi, which aren’t always safe. Using your mobile devices on the go increases your risk of being exposed to online threats – hackers are always looking for opportunities to infect mobile devices and use them to gain access to the greater network.
When on a business trip and constantly using your mobile device for work, you need to be wary that you’re more at risk of attack. There are certain best practices that all employees should follow when traveling with your work devices.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right mobile device management solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.How to configure your devices for travel
These are some cybersecurity musts when traveling with your connected devices.1. Password-lock your devices.
Always make sure your devices are locked and password-protected. Should your device be lost or stolen, your first line of defense is a strong password. Even simple storage devices like your USB thumb drive should have a password.2. Enable 2FA or MFA.
If possible, enable two-factor or multifactor authentication on your devices. On top of a password, use a credential system that requires you to insert an unlocking USB device or a biometric lock, assuming that’s a feature on the device.3. Encrypt your data.
If you’re traveling with sensitive data on your laptop, it’s best to fully encrypt your device with disk encryption software. This locks your data behind more authentication factors and encrypts it, so if it falls into the wrong hands, they can’t strong-arm their way through to the disk. The data is scrambled and impossible to decipher without the password.
Ideally, you shouldn’t store sensitive data on your device. Instead, access it through the cloud over an encrypted connection such as a cloud access security broker (CASB).
“Don’t store sensitive work data on a mobile device, period,” said Mendy Newman, vice president of cybersecurity product management for Ericom Software. “Mobile devices can easily fall into the wrong hands, where they are subject to tampering by sophisticated cybercriminals who are only too happy to sell that data to the highest bidder. Instead, data should remain securely within the corporate data center and accessed remotely over an encrypted connection that protects the session from prying eyes, even when using public Wi-Fi.”4. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth auto-connect.
A feature on many laptops and mobile phones is an auto-connect option for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. Make sure this is off, as you don’t want to auto-connect to just any Wi-Fi connection you pass. Most public Wi-Fi connections are unsecured, and some can be set up for malicious purposes to gain access or download malware to your device.
Before traveling, back up your sensitive or critical information on an external device or to the cloud, and make sure you have the latest version of all of your software applications.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) sounds like an intimidating term, but anyone who has used one will tell you how easy they are to set up and use. In the past, VPNs were mainly an enterprise-level phenomenon. However, privacy-cautious internet users are now relying on VPNs more than ever.
You can now get a VPN for a much lower price, set it up within minutes, and ensure your connection’s security and privacy.
Table of Contents
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about setting up and using a VPN.How Does a VPN Help You?
VPNs can help you with the following things:
Stay Anonymous Online (Always Choose a VPN With a No-Logs Policy)
A VPN with a strict no-logs policy doesn’t collect any data when you’re connected to a VPN server. Once you disconnect, it’s almost as if you were never there.
Major VPNs are usually headquartered in countries with no data retention laws, like the British Virgin Islands and Panama.
Encrypt Your Internet Traffic
A 2023 FTC report revealed that many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can be at least as privacy-intrusive as ad platforms. Many ISPs have access to your unencrypted activity and can trace that activity back to you.
It’s not just your ISP that can access a user’s unencrypted traffic. For instance, when using public WiFi, your data may be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. If you need to transfer sensitive documents and use online banking using a public network at a cafe, you should use a VPN.
VPNs encrypt your traffic, so anyone who tries to access your online activity won’t be able to decrypt the data even if they get their hands on it.
Access Geo-Blocked Websites or Bypass Censorship
Say you’re going on a trip to the Maldives. You won’t have access to Netflix U.S. or HBO Max when you get there. Opening Netflix will take you to the Maldives library automatically. You can’t binge-watch your favorite Netflix U.S. show from the Maldives, unless you use a VPN.
You can do this by connecting to a U.S.-based VPN server. This will help you acquire a U.S. IP address. When you log into Netflix with a U.S. IP address, the website will think you’re physically located in the U.S. and let you access the U.S. library. You’ll also be able to access platforms like HBO Max that are only available in the U.S. from different countries using a VPN.
You can also use VPNs to bypass government censorship. For instance, if you’re traveling to China but need to access Facebook, you’ll need to bypass China’s Great Firewall using a VPN.
However, not all VPNs can bypass geoblocks or bypass censorship. You’ll need a VPN that can hide the fact that your IP comes from a VPN server.How to Set Up a VPN
Setting up a VPN is an easy three-step process and doesn’t require technical skills. If you need help choosing a VPN, we discuss that in the next section. We’ll use ExpressVPN to illustrate the setup process.
Sign up for ExpressVPN from its website.
Download the ExpressVPN app for your device and install it. It’s available for all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. If you’re on an iPhone/iPad or Android device, you can download the VPN app from the Play Store or the App Store.
Launch ExpressVPN and press the power button to connect to a server. It will automatically connect with the best server location, but you can also choose one yourself from the list.
Network Lock: ExpressVPN calls its kill switch Network Lock. You’d want to keep this enabled so the app can stop all internet traffic if the VPN connection drops abruptly. This will ensure you never access the internet with an unencrypted connection unexpectedly.
Split tunneling: This feature lets you use a VPN connection for specific apps while other apps continue using the unencrypted connection. ExpressVPN lets you create an allowlist (apps that can use the VPN connection) or a blocklist (apps that can’t use the VPN connection).
Once you’ve configured the VPN, you can connect to a VPN server and access websites without worrying about security and privacy.3 Best VPNs (Free Alternative Included)
There are countless VPN providers, but you’ll want to choose a reliable service to ensure your online security and privacy. We’ve picked the three best VPN services. Two of them were selected based on their feature portfolio and popularity. The third option is a free VPN for those who aren’t looking to spend on a VPN just yet. All listed VPNs have a no-logs policy (they don’t track your activity).
ExpressVPN is currently the best VPN available. It offers top-notch security through VPN protocols like OpenVPN, and its proprietary Lightway protocol, combined with AES-256 encryption.
It bypasses geoblocks on almost all streaming services, including Netflix. Since ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and excellent connection speeds, you can enjoy buffer-free streaming on your favorite streaming platforms.
Note that a VPN connection will slow down your speeds at least marginally in most cases because your traffic will need to travel through an intermediary server (the VPN server). VPNs may improve your speed in some cases where the ISP has been throttling speeds. You can test speeds using the built-in speed test on ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN checks all the boxes—it’s fast, secure, and reliable. The only downside is that it’s expensive. If you’re open to spending extra for a premium service, ExpressVPN might be the right VPN for you. There’s no trial, but you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee to claim a full refund if you don’t like ExpressVPN after using it for a few days.
NordVPN comes very close to ExpressVPN in several aspects. It’s almost as fast, secures your internet connection, and offers all the bells and whistles you’ll find on ExpressVPN, like split tunneling.
The VPN works on all major operating systems and allows six simultaneous connections (compared to five on ExpressVPN). However, you can install both VPNs on a router. This allows using the VPN for any number of devices as long as they’re connected to that router.
The best part? NordVPN costs half of ExpressVPN and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee too.
If you’re looking for an even cheaper alternative, consider Surfshark or CyberGhost. Don’t want a paid VPN? Check the next provider.
The best VPN services are the paid ones. While there are tons of free VPN services, most of them are unreliable and insecure, except a few like Windscribe and Tunnelbear.
Windscribe secures your connection just as well as paid VPNs. If you want a free VPN to secure your connection from hackers when using a public WiFi network or hotspots, Windscribe will do that for free.
You can install Windscribe on your computer or a mobile device. It also has a browser extension for all popular browsers, including Chrome.
Windscribe is quite easily the best free VPN available, but the free version comes with limitations. The free version has a 10GB monthly data cap. Plus, the speeds are mediocre at best, and you’ll experience occasional buffering when streaming in HD.Ready to Use a VPN?
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