Sometimes the best gifts for travelers are not about what they need, but what they want to help enhance their trips and experiences. One of the best ways to do that for the tech-savvy globetrotter is to get them the latest gadgets. Because while we may have purchased a great pair of headphones or a solid camera a year or two ago, an update is always much appreciated. And this year there have been some phenomenal enhancements to many beloved travel accessories. From compact power banks to the newest drone, here are 12 gadgets travelers won’t want to leave home without.
Bose has revamped its flagship headphones and they are worth every penny. In addition to a completely new look that includes better foldability (which also means a more compact case), the company has also redesigned the controls. Gone are the finicky tap functions—in their place you now have a multifunction button, a power and Bluetooth button, and a capacitive volume strip that can also be customized with a touch-and-hold shortcut. And while the active noise cancellation has gotten even better, the real selling point is the improved sound quality and Bose’s new Immersive Audio, the company’s version of spatial audio for a better listening experience.
Leading drone company DJI has done it again. At 249 grams, the new Mini 4 Pro is just light enough that the drone bypasses FAA registration while still delivering high-quality footage. Like its predecessor, the latest model can shoot in either horizontal or vertical formats, has easy-to-use FocusTrack modes, and can fly for up to 34 minutes on a single charge. But the Mini 4 Pro also now has full 360-degree obstacle avoidance, a significant improvement compared to the Mini 3 Pro’s three-way system that is particularly useful for ActiveTrack; can shoot HDR video up to 4k/60fps; and boasts a greater ISO range suitable for low-light and night captures. For professional videographers, D-Log M and HLG color profiles have also been added so that you have more control during the editing process.
Afraid of airlines losing luggage? Want to make sure the bellhop doesn’t hand off your bag to someone else? Your loved ones probably have the same concerns when traveling. Thankfully, for Apple users, AirTags are here to help save the day. These half dollar–size buttons send out a signal to devices on the company’s Find My network so that you can easily locate your items. Once you’re near there’s the option to ping it from the Find My app or, for those with the new iPhone 15, the Precision Finding feature will pinpoint exactly where your AirTag is located.
For those looking for a fitness and health watch without too many distracting bells and whistles, Fitbit is the way to go. You’ll still get all of your favorite metrics such as Active Zone Minutes, steps, and sleep tracking, all on a clean, easy-to-navigate interface device and accompanying app. And with the new Charge 6, the company has introduced its most accurate heart rate tracking to date along with the ability to connect with select gym equipment—including Peloton and iFit—to display your real-time heart rate. It’s also added a couple of additional perks such as YouTube Music controls and navigation with Google Maps, the latter being particularly useful for those who want to put their phone away while exploring a new destination.
While the Zendure Passport III is still a personal favorite for international travel, those who want lightning-fast charging at home and for domestic trips will love Anker’s 737 charger. The device boasts two USB-C ports and one USB-A port that can charge up to 120W. But it’s the company’s PowerIQ 4.0 technology that really sets this charging block apart from all others, automatically adjusting power to the needs of the connected devices to ensure fast charging. Pair it with one of Anker’s USB-C cables and you’ve got a spectacular gift for someone who appreciates efficiency.
The iPhone 15 is here and the rumors have been true—it’s time to say farewell to lightning cables and a blissful hello to fewer cords in our tech kit and lightning-fast USB-C charging. But beyond needing to pack one less thing for your trip, the iPhone 15 Pro models now come in a beautiful titanium finish that not only makes the phones lighter, but also more durable to withstand any scuffs during your adventures. With the latest iteration we also welcome a new customizable action button that can be programed to your preferred camera mode (selfie, video, portrait, etc.) that’s great for capturing moments quickly. Speaking of the camera, you’ll want to opt for either the Pro or Pro Max to get the best quality. In addition to a 48MP camera that produces more detailed images, you’ll find an improvement to low-light and night captures; the ability to change pictures to portrait mode after the photo has been taken; and a telephoto camera with 5x zoom with the Pro Max. Other travel-friendly features include longer battery life; the introduction of emergency roadside assistance via satellite in the U.S.; and Precision Finding so that you can easily find your loved ones in a busy city or crowded amusement park.
Sony fans, rejoice! An update to the best-in-class noise-canceling earbuds has finally arrived. The new WF-1000XM5s are somehow smaller and lighter than before while still packing quite the punch. As expected, audio quality is fantastic and the already superb active noise cancellation is even more effective now. The earbuds are also more comfortable than ever—it helps that the company has now included extra small ear tips as one of the three additional sizes in the box—and the call quality has been greatly improved. You’ll get up to eight hours of playback time and three more charging cycles with the case.
A couple of months ago GoPro revealed its latest action camera and while the changes are subtle, they’ll be greatly appreciated by professionals and content creators. Like its predecessor, the Hero12 Black shares the same 8:7 sensor that allows for wider captures and easier editing and can shoot videos up to 5.3K/60fps and 27MP still photos. But the latest iteration sees even more improvement in video stabilization, can shoot HDR video up to 5.3K30, and boasts longer battery life. For those who primarily film content for social media, there’s now a vertical recording mode and can finally support Bluetooth connections to external mics and earbuds. And while your average user probably won’t ever touch these settings, professionals will love that the GoPro Hero12 Black now also features timecode sync and GP-Log color profiles.
There’s no skirting around the fact that these headphones look like they belong in a sci-fi movie or make you resemble a certain Batman villain or bug-inspired Marvel character. However, memes aside, the Dyson Zone is a solid pair of headphones. While it’s larger and heavier compared to other headphones, it’s extremely comfortable thanks to soft ear cups and padding on the headband. The Zone’s audio quality is decent, but where it excels is the extraordinary quality of noise cancellation, arguably one of the best on the market. But in addition to being a pair of headphones, the Zone is also a personal air purifier. Air enters through the ear cups, where the company says it’s then filtered of 99% of “ultrafine pollutants,” then pushed through the removable visor to deliver a stream of cool, clean air to your mouth and nose. It’s certainly a thoughtful present for travelers who frequent heavily polluted cities, but they’ll also thank you once they experience the Zone’s marvelous ANC capabilities. Shell out a little more for the Absolute+ set and your loved ones will also receive a swanky carrying case, an extra set of carbon filters, and an in-flight adaptor kit.
Anker’s new Prime line provides a welcomed update to some of the brand’s more premium products making them lighter, smaller, and more powerful than ever. This 20,000mAh power bank sports two USB-C ports and one USB-A port with a whopping total max output of 200W. And in addition to tracking battery capacity, the digital display also shows power input and output for techies interested in seeing real-time numbers. It’s most ideal for those who need to keep larger electronics charged, like a laptop or tablet, and is particularly great for long-haul flights or lengthy train rides.
If you’re looking for something compact that’s easy to carry while on the go, Anker’s new line of Nano power banks are a better fit. This small but mighty device fits in the palm of your hand and delivers a maximum power output of 30W. The 10,000mAh battery can recharge phones about two times and there’s a built-in screen to monitor battery percentage. The conveniently built-in USB-C cable also doubles as a carrying strap. For something even tinier, look to the 22.5W power bank with a foldable USB-C connector.
It never hurts to err on the side of caution and for those who are concerned about credit card skimming, an RFID-blocking wallet is the perfect gift. For something slim and sleek, look to Ekster, a “smart” wallet company that fans out cards with a click of a button. It fits up to 12 cards total with the expandable backplate (which can also double as a money clip). This style also has an AirTag holder that’s ideal for those who frequently misplace their belongings. If your loved ones prefer a more traditional look, there are also some beautiful leather options as well.