Travel, whether it’s for business or pleasure, is not as easy as it used to be. Queues, delays and added security can make for a frustrating journey, but technology is at hand to help ease your journey and also to assist you once you’re there. Martin Bailey, author of The Useful Book of Gadgets shares the best tech to travel with.

Before you leave you should start by pre-loading your phone with a few important apps.

Scanner Pro (iOS, £2.99) turns your phone into a photocopier. It’ll take straight copies of pages, regardless of how you hold your phone and can create multiple page PDFs in greyscale or colour in seconds. Built in OCR also allows you copy/paste the text into other apps, and you can email or share files via the likes of DropBox instantly. I’d recommend scanning your travel documents before you leave and sync them to cloud storage as a backup. That way, if you lose both your phone and your documents you can retrieve copies from any internet-enabled device.

If you need to travel by train in a city centre then make sure to download MetrO (most platforms, from free) and then download the maps for the cities you’re visiting. You now have a searchable route planner that won’t eat into mobile data but will ensure that you know where you’re going.

Camcard (all platforms, from free) is great for business trips and trade shows. Rather than forgetting the people who gave you all those business cards simply snap them with your phone and let the app drop all of the text into either its own database or your contacts list.

Now that you’re making more use of your phone you’ll need to make sure that it goes the distance and will last a full day of heavy use. There are two devices that can help here.

Firstly, the Nomad Key (around £15) is a key-ring sized micro-USB or Lightning charger cable that ensures if you’re close to a USB power source you can grab a quick charge. Secondly, there are plenty of power banks available for £10-£20 that will charge a flagship smartphone four-five times. Look for something anywhere around the 6000-10,000mAh capacity mark, which is a good compromise between power and portability, although if you need to charge a tablet then opt for something bigger.

For something with a bit more oomph consider the Juno Jumpr (around £75). Not only will this 6600mAh charge a phone around four times but it can even jump start a car up to 2L engine size. Although not cheap, you only have to use this device to jump start a car once for it to pay for itself.

I’ve always been a fan of minification and these next two gadgets deliver a small and sleek solution to common travel problems. The Wallet Ninja (around £7, various sources) is a credit card-sized multitool made from 4x heat-treated steel. At just 1.5mm thick it contains no less than 18 different tools, including six hex spanners, can opener, fruit peeler, screw drivers, ruler and even a phone stand.

Sticking with your pocket, the SECRID wallet (from around £22) is great for protecting your credit cards against ‘RFID skimming’. It shields up to six cards from being scanned whilst contained, and with a flick of the trigger mechanism at the base of the wallet the cards fan out so that each one is readily accessible, also looking very cool in the process. There’s a range of colours available and you can either buy just the card shield or a full wallet to hold notes, coins and business cards.

Lastly, if you’re going somewhere hot and, like me, are fresh meat for the local biting beasties then the ByByte (£13, is a great investment. About the size of a lipstick it emits an almost inaudible high pitched sound to irritate mosquitoes, driving them away. Some online reviews have even cited that they could herd clouds of insects around like sheep, with the unit lasting several months on a single AA battery.

I travel with most of these gadgets on a regular basis and being able to travel with this level of functionality, even when travelling light, is a real bonus that helps you travel with confidence. The right tech can help you deal with any situation and make the difference between a good trip and a great one.


Martin Bailey’s new book is out now and available via

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?