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Whoever said that it’s about the journey and not the destination has never been forced to fly standby to Shanghai in a middle seat. But even if customer service can often seem stuck in medieval times, we are, thank goodness, in the 21st century, and so plenty of clever gadgets can be had to cut the misery quotient, and even make our time away from home a lot more enjoyable overall.
Raden A22 Carry On Spinner
This lightweight matte-silver travel companion will keep up with your mad dashes to the gate with double-spinning wheels. It also charges multiple devices and has a zipper-integrated TSA lock. And if you’re thinking: “I don’t trust something this sparkly and new with the airlines; what if it gets lost?”–don’t worry. The ergonomic handle doubles as a weight sensor, in case that’s ever an issue. And if full bins and a stern flight attendant demand that you check it, an app will allow you to keep tabs on it via BLE-enabled location tracking—though we’d probably try to keep it on board first, with polite begging and flattery, of course. ($345) | Bloomingdales
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
“What’s that? What? I’m sorry, I’m unable to chat, because I can’t hear you. You’ll have to find someone else to torture for the next 15 hours.” These headsets are pretty much an international sign for “no talking to me allowed.” Sure, neat new technology lets you listen to music and control what you hear. But it’s their talent for taking the edge off of airplane rumble, surrounding chatter, and other din that makes them such a life saver. And now they work even better and longer (up to 40 hours before requiring a recharge), which all goes to show: Leg room is overrated when you’ve got headspace. ($349) | B&H Photo
GLiNet Mini Router
These days, “Safe travels!” has multiple meanings. This nifty contraption helps with one of them: It converts dubious wired networks at hotels or WiFi at cafes to your own private, secure WiFi. At less than an ounce and a half, this smaller-than-palm-sized wonder lets all your devices connect instantly , without the nuisance of plugging in your password into each and every device. We like it in sunny yellow, but it comes in cheery colors, too. ($20) | GLINet
Apple MacBook Pro
If you’re in the market for a new laptop, the re-designed Macbook Pro delivers more speed, power, sound, and color than ever before, in an even slimmer (by 17 percent) silhouette. A new Touch Bar replaces the function keys and there’s now Touch ID, too. Travel a lot? You might consider opting for the 13-inch model — it’s a mere 3 pounds and a whole pound lighter than its 15-inch big brother. Your back and shoulders will thank you for it. (From $1,799) | Apple
JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth Portable Speaker
Whether you need it to decompress after a long day of conferences or to take care of business while on vacation, it may be worth packing up a portable speaker. The rechargeable Li-ion battery in this particular iteration delivers stereo-quality sound for 12 continuous hours, and it’s waterproof so you can play relaxing tunes while soaking in that nice oversized tub in your hotel room (because who has time to do that at home?). What’s more, there’s a built-in noise and echo-canceling speaker phone for conference calls, too—so your clients will think you’ve never left the office. ($99.95) | B&H Photo
iHome SuperCharge 10,000mAh External Battery
Deadlines are stressful enough; why torment yourself, racing against that fast-emptying battery icon? A portable external battery can save the day. This sleek number juices up two devices at once, and yet, at a mere .3 oz, slips handily into a small tote. The gold color makes it easy to spot in said tote, but for those with more subdued tastes, it also comes in gray. ($29.99) |