Six of the smartest travel gadgets

From off-grid iPhone charging to self-weighing suitcases, reviewed by our tech guru

Waygo translator app This magic app (free, available on iPhone and Android) decodes menus and signage in Chinese, Korean and Japanese without drawing on roaming data. Watch the video above to find out more

Raden A22 suitcase, £290
Raden A22 suitcase, £290 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

A “smart” suitcase for the high-tech traveller This wheeled A22 (£290) from New York startup Raden is a 56cm x 35cm x 23cm carry-on made to a very high standard using a high-gloss polycarbonate called Makrolon. It has an inbuilt rechargeable battery powering two USB ports to charge portable devices on the go; proximity sensors to locate it in busy terminals; and a built-in weight sensor to tell you, via the app, when it is approaching weight limits. The scale of the A22 is a great asset too, as I’ve come across a couple of airlines lately getting quite fussy about the size, not just the weight, of cabin baggage. Read more about the Raden A22 here

Brookstone uPillow, $50
Brookstone uPillow, $50 | Image: Hugh Threlfall
AMPware Power Generating iPhone Case, £70
AMPware Power Generating iPhone Case, £70 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

An auto-inflating travel pillow This uPillow ($50) from US chain Brookstone is helping me get the best airborne zzzs I’ve experienced yet. Made of memory foam suffused with holes to make it compressible, it easily fits into travel bags, and when you need to inflate it, it does most of the job itself. Air whooshes into the holes as soon as you twist a screw valve, getting the pillow plumped to a comfortable level in less than a minute. To make the uPillow harder, you can blow into the valve; to make it softer you just squeeze it. Getting the right level is easy (and satisfying). Read more about the uPillow here

Oneadaptr Twist adaptor, from £15
Oneadaptr Twist adaptor, from £15 | Image: Hugh Threlfall
YRoam, £200
YRoam, £200 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

An ingenious hand-cranked iPhone charger-cum-case This hand-cranked dynamo-powered iPhone case could easily save a deal or, in extreme circumstances, a life. Or, it could simply save you having to queue and pay for a charge at an outdoor event such as a festival. A couple of minutes of energetic turning can keep you in contact with the world for a few short calls, while 10 minutes gives you a couple of hours of voice and data use. The AMPware Power Generating iPhone Case (£70) is said to be over 20 times more efficient than solar-powered alternatives. Compatible with iPhone 6 and 6S, it’s not absurdly cumbersome, and weighs a reasonable 110g. Click here to find out more about the AMPware Power Generating iPhone Case


A problem-solving plug adaptor One of the most irritating things for me about travel is having the inconsistency of mains plugs. Oneadaptr has made the best job I’ve stumbled upon to date of rendering mains sockets tolerable for travellers. Its Twist adaptor (from £15) works in some 150 countries; just twist it round and UK, US, European and Australian plugs magically appear. The Twist range includes all the variations you could possibly need: one, for example, gives you four USB sockets; another allows you to plug in four USB devices and an Apple charger, all from one mains outlet. Furthermore, the Twist+ will charge an iPad Mini twice as fast as its dedicated charger. Read more about Oneadaptr here

Data roaming without the drag This WiFi hotspot device from Hong Kong company UCloudlink provides robust coverage and includes a gadget-charging power bank within its chunky (21mm x 64mm x 117mm) case. The data may not always be as fast as that offered by rival Goodspeed, but the charges are less complicated, and this offers the convenience of not having to slot in multiple SIM cards – because it doesn’t need any, while Goodspeed uses SIM cards for different countries – which is a significant boon. Sold as YRoam (£200) in the UK, and branded elsewhere as GlocalMe, it comes ready to use in over 100 countries, and with 1GB of data included. Find out more about YRoam here