Whether you’re escaping the winter and heading off to balmy Buenos Aires or readying your winter woollies for a trip to one of Europe’s magical Christmas markets, a city break makes for an excellent holiday at this time of year. Whether you’re looking to wine and dine on delicious local cuisine, experience a little history and culture, or shop last year’s Christmas socks off, there’ll be a city getaway that can deliver the experience you seek.
But any fan of a good city break has most probably experienced one or two of life’s little challenges on one of their trips. Getting lost in the backstreets of Barcelona perhaps, or your battery running flat just as you need to call a taxi. Fortunately, this is the age of technology and, as a result, there are a range of quality gadgets that can save your soul at those crucial moments when your irritation levels are about to shoot through the roof. Here are five of our favourites that you ought to think about packing on your next trip… travel in the 21st century has never been easier:
Ok, it might seem a little bit obvious seeing as 82% of Brits will take a smartphone on holiday with them this year and that free Wi-Fi is practically a given in all manner of hotels, restaurants and bars in this day and age, but taking your smartphone on a city break is a must. Why? Because of the excellent array of highly useful apps on the market that will not only minimise the items you need to carry in your backpack tenfold, but will make your city-slicking life a whole lot easier. Apps like Citymapper offer detailed real-time departures for an array of public transport in approximately 30 cities worldwide; XE Currency can help you keep track of your spending by offering up-to-date currency conversions so you don’t have to rely on mental arithmetic; and Google Translate will help you to get your head round the lingo by quickly translating signs and menus as well as words and phrases. And these barely scratch the surface.
As we’ve ascertained that a city break is not the place for a digital detox, be sure not to let yours run out of juice on your trip. In fact, the same could be said for your mp3 player and other chargeable bits of tech you might be carting around with you. Pack a portable battery pack and you’ll never again have to revisit the dark days of a disconnected past - the minute you see that ominous red-light warning signal, plug yourself in and be on your merry way. You’ll never run dry again. Unless, that is, you forget to charge the battery pack…
Nervous fliers and light sleepers take note, these could very well preserve your sanity on your next trip. Yes, we’ve all experienced headphones before, but a high quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones are a whole different breed. The best ones might be pricey but you get what you pay for - they employ nifty technology to match outside sound such as the whir of a plane’s engine or the buzz of city nightlife outside your bedroom window and feed the opposite frequency into your ears, cancelling it out.
There are certain cities where you just know that the urge to shop is going to take hold. New York for instance, the home of Bloomingdale’s, Fifth Avenue and more thrift stores than you could imagine in your wildest vintage dreams. So, it goes to follow that, on occasion, your case might come back weighing a little more than it did when you flew out. Pack your own mini luggage scale to weigh your bags and never get caught out at check-in again, holding up the queue as you empty your personal possessions out on the floor for all to see.
Love them or hate them, the selfie stick has become a ubiquitous part of travelling culture. Even if you feel a bit silly when using one, you should say a silent prayer of thanks you don’t have to hand your phone over to a stranger who will somehow manage to simultaneously highlight your double chin and chop off the top of your head.
Gadgets may be important, but they’re not as important as travel insurance. Let Medical Travel Compared help you to find the best policy for your trip so that you can head off to explore your new city knowing that you’re covered.