The luggage, gear, and apps that are smoothing the bumps in the road.
LUGGAGE, REBOOTED Meet the gear vanguard: The hardcase Trunksteris GPS-enabled, gadget-charging, and even self-weighing. Silicon Valley startup Bluesmart has designed a roller with 3G-connectivity and a Bluetooth-enabled remote locking system. Prefer a retro look? The new Swedish Holgersuitcase (shown) is handcrafted from a sustainable shock-and-water-proof wood polymer and has built-in chargers.
SWIPE RIGHT FOR A BUDDY Tripr—which bills itself as a Tinder for travelers—uses Facebook to connect mutual friends, and friends of friends, who will be in the same city at the same time. And, while it mimics Tinder’s swipe-right-for-yes feature, the travel hookups are all (supposedly) platonic.
EVERYONE’S AN ATM In the travel godsend department, the Tab Money app lets you withdraw money from participating bars, restaurants, and hotels abroad (you choose an amount in-app, then show a barcode to your bartender or server). Yes, there’s a 4-percent fee, but it’s lower than the 7-plus percent you’d pay at an ATM or currency exchange.
STAY PLUGGED IN Skirt the international roaming dilemma with a portable hotspot from Tep Wireless.For the price of two lattes ($7/day), you can rent a tiny 3G wireless device that allows you to connect up to 5 devices at once nearly anywhere in the world.
DON’T DISRUPT YOUR BINGE-WATCHING GoT cannot wait, even north of the wall.Cloak is a simple IP-masking program that tricks your computer into playing content that isn’t available where you are. On an international trip, it gets you access to Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu, which are otherwise restricted outside the U.S.
BE UNDERSTOOD One of the first apps released for Apple Watch, Babbel teaches you words and phrases relevant to where you are right now—without fussing with your phone. So, in an airport, you’ll pick up words like “luggage” and “flight.” In a café, you’ll learn how to order a coffee.