The Amish made some valid points when they sussed and scrutinized the benefits of technology. Does social media actually bring us together? Do smart home gadgets truly make life easier for us? We cannot provide a definitive answers to those questions at this time, we can declare this: a flight — short or long — without travel tech accessories is an absolute nightmare. And so, instead of doing a deep dive into Amish culture, we are gathered here today to discuss, disclose, and discover the best tech to travel with in 2022 and beyond.
Whether you're traumatized from the symphony of baby cries that echoed throughout your last flight (or you're the scarred parent of those screaming children and never want to go above 10,000 feet again) or you’re simply looking to battle the twin airborne terrors of anxiety and boredom — we are here to help. Ahead, you’ll find musical sleep masks, tried and true e-readers, pre-programmed child-friendly tablets, sleek portable chargers, and more gadgets that will guarantee that the smoothest of air travels await your (red) eyes below. Scroll on, add a few handy tech products to your on-site Refinery29 cart, and boom: navigating the sky is easy as pie.
On some flights, you forget your headphones; on other flights you forget your eye mask — now, you only have to remember to bring a single product: this wireless, thick, cushy, and light-blocking Tune Out Musical Sleep Mask. Yes, it’s backordered until June, but if you're already booking summer travel, then now is as good a time as ever to start adding helpful gear to your cart. The mask features an adjustable velcro strap in the back, a 6-hour battery life span, and will blast anything you have stored on your phone, whether it's your favorite Rain For Sleep playlist or some oh-so soothing ASMR sounds.
Traveling is a common way to begin a new chapter in one's life — or just a new chapter in a fresh New York Times bestseller. The Kindle Paperwhite tablet series is R29 editor-approved — after test-driving the 2021 release of Amazon’s best-in-class e-reader, deals writer (and avid bookworm) Mercedes' Viera, was pleasantly surprised at "how different this was from just reading on the iPad or any other tablet," and loved how "the screen looks like paper” and the device’s lightweight feel.
This all-new Kindle model is fully equipped with slimmer borders, adjustable warm light displays, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns. With 8GB of storage, you can keep thousands of titles on deck, and read them on the plane ride to your destination, finish it on the beach, and start a whole new literary adventure on your flight back.
Amazon also has your kids’ digital entertainment covered. The USB-charged Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet includes one year of Amazon Kids+ (Freetime Unlimited) which grants you access to over 20,000 apps, games, audiobooks, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and the like. All tablets feature parental controls (screen time limits, goal setting, filters) and contain entertainment specifically tailored for kids ages 3 to 7 years old — meaning, you might actually get to rest your eyes peacefully knowing that your spawn is enjoying appropriate pre-loaded content throughout the flight. (Even if it's only for 10 minutes.)
For those allergic to crying babies, loud coughing, seat-mate small talk, and that weird, inescapable airplane white noise, Bose's Over-Ear Headphones are your psychological EpiPen. That world-class adjustable noise-cancellation, wireless connection, 20-hour battery life, and simple touch controls might as well have been made to quell plane-related anxiety. One Bose verified buyer explained, "it's nice to be able to adjust the noise cancellation level because, at level 10 you are totally isolated from any external ambient sound." The reviewer even expressed their excitement for their next air adventure: "Looking forward to taking my next flight, so I can further avail myself of all the features the NC700 model offers."
The world's slimmest portable phone charger (we're assuming) truly does come in "clutch" during a never-ending flight. Yes, many modern plane cabins come with their own seat USB-chargers, but this frequent bi-coastal traveler can attest to the one too many times my spot just happened to not have one. So, be completely worry-free knowing this Apple and Android compatible, 0.16-inch thick, charger-cable-included device can fill a battery up to 3,000 mAh. (For reference, an iPhone 13 battery allegedly has about 3100mAh capacity.)
We're blushing at how cute Pinch Provision's lil' pink tech kit is — but we mustn't forget about the functional beauty that lies on the inside. Unzip the pouch to find a pair of earbuds, screen cloth, password hint list, two cord organizers, a phone/tablet stand, USB wall charger, and a 2-in-1 charging cable all in one handy kit.
We've all been there — you're on a red eye, about to doze off just as the plane reaches 10,000 feet, and suddenly, your seat mate flips on the brightest bulb to ever exist: their airplane overhead light. So, if you don't want to be that guy on your next flight, opt for this sweet, tiny clip-on light that will illuminate the page, and not your entire row.
Nintendo changed the game when the tech company debuted its most portable console to date: The Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo OLED Switch is the brand's newest model (that our beauty writer conveniently reviewed a few months back) and boasts a brighter, wider display and an improved kick-stand. Either version of the console and the plethora of games is optimal for keeping one entertained throughout the entirety of their next journey — just download content with the airport wifi before you board, and you're ready for takeoff.
We searched and searched for a sanitary tech product that would make it past TSA, fit in a carry-on, and actually be of use to one on a flight. Meet the unicorn of tech devices: PhoneSoap's battery-powered mobile sanitizer. Specifically crafted for travel, this product can conquer pesky germs lingering virtually anywhere on your cellular device with its powerful UV-C lights in just about five minutes. Take it with you on your next excursion and leave those wasteful wipes and sticky-phone days in the rearview.
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