16 New Travel Products That Made Our Trips Smarter, Healthier, and More Fun in 2018
Pocketalk Voice Translator
This two-way voice translation device is like carrying 74 languages in your pocket. It allows you to talk as you normally would, without having to look up words or attempt to explain what you're unsure how to say, and translates immediately to keep the conversation flowing. Plus, you won't have to drain the battery on your phone (or pass it to strangers to talk into).
To buy: pocketalk.net, $249 for use with Wi-Fi; $299 with data plan
Trtl Pillow Plus
Any gripes that users of the original Trtl Pillow may have had — the fleece wrap can get a bit warm; the support angle isn't quite right for every neck — are left on the tarmac with the launch of the Trtl Plus. The new version has adjustable neck support which allows for Goldilocks-style comfort and the fabric wrap is vented with a breathable mesh.
To buy: indiegogo.com, $45
Google Pixel 3 Night Sight
Ever the innovators, Google has developed a fix for one of the biggest obstacles to capturing perfect travel photos: not enough light. Night Sight, which debuted in November, is a new feature for the Pixel's camera that allows you to take impressively sharp and saturated photos in the dark, whether it's a cityscape view from a rooftop bar or a selfie around the campfire. No flash or tripod necessary.
To buy: google.com, from $799
In need of a cool, new party trick? Spill any form of liquid onto Ably's Filium fabric — water, wine, coffee, you name it — and watch it bead up or bounce right off without leaving a trace. Ably has found a way to make natural materials like cotton and wool totally waterproof without sacrificing its soft, breathable feel.
To buy: ablyapparel.com, from $40
HP Spectre Folio Laptop
In October, HP unveiled what it calls its "most innovative PC yet": the Spectre Folio. It's encased in 100 percent genuine leather, which doesn't just lend a timeless look, but also enables you to use the device in more flexible ways than ever before. The Folio seamlessly transitions from laptop to tablet to display screen and packs 19 hours of battery life, making it the perfect travel companion for your creativity.
To buy: hp.com, $1,300
There has been a massive boom in wellness-based apps this year, and Timeshifter is one of our favorites — and a game-changer for frequent fliers. It leverages the latest research in sleep and circadian neuroscience to create individualized, easy-to-follow plans to help you avoid jet lag. You'll enter your flight information, sleep patterns, and chronotype (are you a morning or night person?) and it will advise you on when to access or avoid bright light and caffeine, take a nap, or use melatonin to help you adjust to your new time zone.
To download: timeshifter.com, $10/roundtrip or $25/year
Vessi Waterproof Knit Shoes
A versatile, comfortable sneaker is a bonafide must-have for travel — whether you're dashing to your gate at the airport, opting in to a sunrise hike with your newfound local friends, or planning to see the city from end to end on foot. Vessi does you one better: its knit shoes are 100 percent waterproof, so you can puddle-jump in London or forge a stream in the Costa Rican jungle worry-free. The materials they're made with are also completely vegan and ultra lightweight.
To buy: vessifootwear.com, $129
Lighting Science Journi Mobile Task Light
Much more than a portable reading lamp, this circadian LED light uses dual-spectrum technology to either boost your energy or make it easier to fall asleep on the go, depending on what time of day you're using it. The technology was initially developed in collaboration with NASA for use by astronauts on the International Space Station and the light's sleek, flat design is super packable.
To buy: lsgc.com, $110
Eyejust Screen Protector
With the rising popularity of blue light–blocking glasses, the team at EyeJust saw an opportunity to simplify their benefits. The company's screen protector puts the filtering tech right onto your screen, going beyond your standard tempered-glass scratch guard to block 100 percent of the UV light and 37 percent of the blue light it emits. They're also anti-microbial and resistant to smudging. Right now, they’re available for post-6 iPhones and iPads.
To buy: goop.com, $25
Bose Noise-masking Sleepbuds
Bose’s new noise-masking Sleepbuds are designed to do one thing, and one thing only: help you fall and stay asleep. They don’t stream music or connect to anything other than the accompanying app, but they do fit so comfortably in your ear that you can barely feel them, even when laying on your side. Once you've fitted them to your ear, you can choose from 10 pre-loaded “sleeptracks” that employ frequency mirroring technology to render snores, city streets, et. al. inaudible so you can drift off in peace.
To buy: amazon.com, $249
Tile Pro With Replaceable Battery
One thing all travelers fear? Lost luggage. Add to that everything else people commonly misplace while traveling (keys, phones, wallets) and these Bluetooth-enabled trackers are an essential for keeping peace of mind on the go — especially when you're traveling with kids. The newest version comes with a more durable shell, a replaceable battery, a louder alert, and a finding range of 300-plus feet.
To buy: amazon.com, $60 for two
Reliable Ovo 150GT Portable Steam Iron
Regardless of category, we can't help but love a time-saver, and this new portable steam iron gets the job done, fast. Especially perfect for the business traveler who can't afford to not look pressed, Reliable's mini Ovo iron heats up in seconds and smooths wrinkles far faster than the hot shower method could ever dream of doing. It comes with a heat-resistant sleeve for easy packing and is about a third of the size of a regular iron.
To buy: amazon.com, $60
The Pure Company Portable Purifier
This sleek, compact cylinder makes air purification packable and totally filter- and mess-free, which is pretty revolutionary. (CES thought so too, as it just took home an Innovation Award in November.) It's even aromatherapy-enabled. Just add three to five drops of essential oil to a pad inside before turning it on, and the scent will start sweetening the air within minutes. Plus, the quiet whir of the purifier actually makes for a pretty soothing white noise machine if you position it on your nightstand.
To buy: amazon.com, $99
This July, popular fitness class subscription service ClassPass rolled out a brand new way to access audio-based workouts: a free app. With hundreds of "classes" at your fingertips — from yoga flows to guided runs to intense HIIT sessions, it's an active traveler's dream. Sessions range from five to 90 minutes, so it's easy to squeeze a sweat or stretch session in regardless of how packed your itinerary is for the day.
To download: classpass.com
PowerDot 2.0 Smart Electric Muscle Stimulator
Anyone who's been to a physical therapy session knows the power of electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) when it comes to recovery post-training or just relieving sore and stiff muscles. Now, PowerDot has made that technology far more accessible. Once you choose from one of 10-plus pre-set programs, the app will walk you through every step, telling you where to attach the adhesive electrode pads for the best results. It's FDA-cleared and clinically proven to increase blood flow and alleviate tension in the areas you choose to target.
To buy: amazon.com, $199
Nima Peanut Allergen Sensor
Sampling the local cuisine is a key part of experiencing all a destination has to offer, but certain food allergies make it complicated to indulge. Enter: Nima, a portable, Bluetooth-enabled device that allows you to test for gluten and, as of September, peanut protein in your food before taking a bite. The device has shown up to 99.2 percent accuracy, but it's smart to keep that EpiPen handy for those with severe allergies.
To buy: amazon.com, $249