14 Travel Gadgets That Make Flights & Car Trips Way Less Boring

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I’m a huge believer in the phrase, “Getting there is half the journey.” Three-day road trips are way up there in my list of favorite pastimes, and the longer the flight, the better. There’s something meditative about extended trips; you’ve got nothing to do but sit in your seat and contemplate things. You’re forced to slow down and take life in one mile at a time. That’s something that, in my opinion, we don’t do enough. We’re always on the go, but we’re rarely ever present with what we’re doing.

That being said, staring idly out the window with no travel entertainment can get pretty old pretty fast — especially if your plane’s stuck in a mass of clouds 35 thousand feet over the North Atlantic, or your car just hit that stretch of desolate farmland in Ohio. (Spoiler: The intermittent cow is the most intriguing thing you’ll see all day.) That’s why you’ll need your trusty barrage of gadgets and devices so your travel time is time well-spent. From adult coloring books to hats that play your best get-pumped playlist, this list has everything you need to make sure that you’re entertained and content, no matter how long of a ride you have ahead of you.

Record Your Trip The Travel-Friendly Way

Flip Mino Video Camera, $199, Amazon

Cameras are imperative while you’re traveling, but few cameras are made for the occasion. With so many parts and plugs, they’re bulky, inconvenient, and easy to lose or damage. This Flip Video Camera fits right into your back pocket, and everything you need is mounted directly on the device. It’s got great video quality, the USB connection pops right out for easy uploading, and the built-in editing software lets you easily and quickly personalize your footage.

Keep Warm and Rock On

Bluetooth Headphone Cable Knit Hat, $20, Amazon

If you’re going somewhere cold, gloves and touchscreens don’t always mix. Neither do bulky clothing and wires. This awesome Bluetooth Headphone Hat keeps you toasty with its cable knit design while wirelessly transmitting your music from phones or tablets. It also has a built-in microphone, so hand-free phone calls are a no-brainer.

Color Your Way To Relaxation

Adult Coloring Books, $7, Amazon

Fun fact: Adult coloring books have been found to reduce stress and anxiety, so why not turn your travel time into a low-key therapy session? This one featuring Mandalas and Henna-Inspired designs will keep you entertained for hours on end. It’s the best-selling brand out there because its designs are stunning and intricate, and it can be used with any coloring materials.

Read Anything, Anywhere

The Kindle Voyage, $200, Amazon

If you’re an avid reader with a bad case of wanderlust, you know that books are both a necessity and a huge inconvenience while traveling. The Kindle Voyage holds all of your favorite e-books within its sleek design, and it won’t weigh down your luggage like hardcovers. It’s the thinnest Kindle yet, and it looks more like a printed page than ever before. Finally, its really cool features (like a built-in dictionary, light, translator, and bookmarking system) make it one of the most popular e-book readers on the market.

Game On The Road

PlayStation Portable 3000 Core Pack System, $180, Amazon

If you’re a gamer (or you know someone who'll ask “Are we there yet?” until they’re adequately distracted), this portable Playstation is a great little gadget. With a built-in WiFi system, hundreds of games to choose from, and a platform for both movies and music, it’s a full entertainment system right in the palm of your hand. “Bored” is no longer an option.

Capture the Moment Instantly

Fujifilm Instant Mini 8 Camera , $60, Amazon

While video recording your trip is a fantastic idea, instant gratification is tough to match. See your moment right when you want to with the printer-and-camera-in-one gadget you won't believe you've ever traveled without. Not only does its LED light capture perfect lighting every time, but its High-Key mode means softer images that mimic the Instagram filters you love. (After all, this picture is going to end up there anyway, right?)

Hide Stuff In Your Hair Brush

Hair Brush Diversion Safe, $19, Amazon

One of the most stressful things about travel is that all of your valuables are either on your person or out in the open. You can rest easy with this Hair Brush Diversion Safe, knowing that whether it’s in your checked luggage, the parking lot of a diner, or buried in your beach bag, no one will ever find your hidden money. It holds more than it looks like it would, and it’s both convincing and ridiculously convenient.

Combine Fresh Food And Extra Arm Cushioning

Black & Decker Travel Cooler, $77, Amazon

This is, without a doubt, the most awesome cooler you’ll ever come across. Yes, it keeps your food fresh and cold, but it also heats food up to 120 degrees. It plugs right into your car to keep food at the desired temperature, and it makes good use of small spaces with a few cup holders and a padded armrest for easy riding. You’ll never again go on another road trip (or picnic) without it.

Charge Your Devices Anywhere

Crave Travel Pro High-Density Power Bank, $25, Amazon

For places where plugs and cigarette lighters may not be an option, this Crave Travel Battery is an ideal back-up for your phone or tablet. If you’re stuck in an airport or plane for extended periods of time and your charge is running low, simply plug it in and boot back up. It’s strong enough to go from 0 to 100 percent four times over, and its compact, sleek design and double USB ports makes it ideal for flights, hikes, and tours.

Effortlessly Sleep On Fights And Road Trips

J-Pillow, $29, Amazon

When all else fails, take a nap. This J-Shaped Travel Pillow has more support than the standard neck-ring design, and it guarantees you’ll be able to sleep just about anywhere. It’s designed so that you can lean against windows, seats, yourself — you name it — all while keeping your neck, chin, and head propped in a comfortable position. It’s also got a no-hassle clip, so it attaches right to your suitcase.

Challenge Friends To Some Friendly Competition

Electronic Catchphrase, $22, Amazon

With hours ahead of you and a screen staring-induced bout of carsickness, interacting with your travel buddies helps everyone better live in the moment. Plus, this classic game's five categories and easy-to-understand score display mean no lost board pieces or cards to keep track of.

Charge Everything – Not Just Your Phone

Power Inverter for Smartphones, Tablets, and More, $27, Amazon

Let’s face it: We’re dependent on our devices, especially during long car rides. This power inverter plugs right into your cigarette lighter and can be used just like any wall plug at home. It’s a No. 1 best seller, and it's great for things that you don’t have a car adapter for: laptops; travel TVs; and, frankly, whatever else you can think of. Unlike other brands, it’s got cool features like a low battery alarm, a cooling fan, and short-circuit protection.

Stay Warm And Comfortable Wherever

Travel Blanket, $30, Amazon

No trip is complete without a little comfort. This Travel Blanket is made from an ultra-soft, lightweight polyester material that won't weigh down your bag. Way warmer than blankets they distribute on planes, it even rolls up into a carrying case for compact on-the-go storage.

Never Hear "Who has the aux cord?" Again

USB Cable Bundle Kit, $13, Amazon

It's the worst when only one person in the car brought the aux cord. Have a back-up for when they're the last one on the bus to get that playlist started early. While you're at it, double up on all the necessary road trip items you can't afford to lose (but can sever seem to find): USB car charger, travel charger, two data cables, that pesky aux cord, and more.

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Images: Freestocks/Unsplash; Amazon (13)