Today’s luxury vacation goes far beyond choosing the perfect destination or booking the best hotel.
It also requires that you bring the best technology with you.
We live in a computer-driven world today.
We’re always connected by the smartphone in our pocket, the tablet in our travel bag and the laptop stored away in our business bag.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you go on vacation, you want to disconnect and unwind.
So where does technology fit in?
Here’s your Ultimate Guide to Travel Technology:
The Necessary Hardware
Most luxury travelers don’t have to worry about going out to buy new hardware because they likely already have it.
But just in case they don’t — here are some of the top gadgets that can help make not only your next vacation better, but also your everyday life.
Smartphones: The iPhone 5
Unless you’ve been living under a shell, you’ve probably heard about the iPhone 5.
Apple’s smartphone turned out to be one of the most-hyped products on the planet and even described by some analysts as one of the biggest product upgrades in electronics history.
The iPhone 5 features a taller, 4-inch screen, significantly thinner body and a noticeably lighter weight.
It’s been pegged as the world’s fastest smartphone, allowing users to multitask between apps (we’ll get to those apps later!) with ease.
It’s an absolutely beautiful smartphone that features a sexy, two-tone aluminum and glass backing.
The iPhone 5 will allow you to quickly check your email, sports scores, calendars, contacts, make phone calls — but on your vacation, it’s most important function is your camera.
That’s because the iPhone 5 has one of the best cameras ever found on a smartphone.
You’ll be able to take photos (again, we have some great apps for you!), including panoramic scenes, and quickly thanks to a much-needed updated processor.
If you’re hoping to get the highest quality of photos, you’ll probably want to invest in a digital SLR camera.
Back in the day these cameras would cost you an arm and a leg, but today they’re quite affordable.
Some recommendations include:
Nikon D600 —
This is a full-frame digital SLR (which means your photos won’t be cropped, allowing you to get the most out of the lens(es) you end up purchasing. Price: $2600 (with a great 24-85mm lens)
Nikon D5100 —
This is probably the best value digital SLR at $650 with a pretty sharp 18-55mm lens kit.
The D5100 lets you quickly choose various scene modes, whether it be action or landscapes.
This camera is small and light enough that you won’t even realize you’re lugging around a camera that turns out professional-quality prints.
Now of course you’ll need to pick up the most versatile lens to hook up to one of these cameras.
Our recommendations include a 35mm f/1.8 prime lens.
It’s a small, single-length lens (meaning there’s no zoom…don’t worry; you have feet to move forward and backward), that can shoot really well in low lights.
You don’t want to be lugging a heavy, 15-20 pound lens.
This 35mm prime lens only weighs 7 oz., but more importantly, it delivers stunningly sharp photos.
Now if you need a bigger zoom lens (safari anyone?), Nikon sells a great 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, which is really fast in focusing.
It is expensive, however, coming in at $2,400.
That’s more than your camera body!
But expect premium results.
Tablet and/or Laptop
You have a choice when you go on vacation now.
You can either bring a laptop, tablet or nothing at all.
Let’s back up first, however.
Why do we need to bring a computing device with us?
For a few different reasons.
We need to check and reply to our emails, make sure all of our tickets and dinner reservations are booked and the top reason: upload our photos!
You didn’t buy that fancy camera for nothing.
So what do you need?
If you’re only looking to upload your photos and clear out your camera’s memory card, you’ll just need a tablet.
Apple’s iPad is certainly the most popular, and you can buy a card reader to hook up to it, allowing you to easily upload and organize your photos.
The iPad also lets you quickly surf the net and check and reply to any emails.
It’s light and you can take it anywhere with you.
If you have some extra time on your hands and want to do some photo editing while on your vacation, then you’ll want to bring your laptop.
Having a laptop will also allow you to easily email photos and share them on your social networks.
Who really wants to do all of that while on vacation though?
Stick to the iPad.
You’ll be pleased.
Apps & More
All of those great smartphones and tablets are really nothing without some of these great apps.
Here are some of our top travel apps for luxury travel:
Kayak.com is the best site to compare flight and hotel prices and its app for iPhone, iPad and Android makes it even easier to compare those prices.
This should be the first app avid travelers should download.
This app is for people who are paranoid by the TSA.
If they feel like their rights were violated during the security check, they can easily report the incident through the app.
Twitter & Facebook:
Of course you need to stay on top of your social networks while traveling.
Facebook and Twitter both recently updated their apps for iPhone, iPad and Android — giving users a great experience.
You can’t vacation without this new social network.
Instagram is like Twitter, but only with photos.
You take a photo, it crops into a square and then you can place a creative filter over it to make the photo look vintage, rad, sexy… the list goes on.
Let your followers follow your vacation though, one photo at a time.
Tripit is a great application that lets you plan your entire trip itinerary online and include important things like flight numbers, hotel addresses, etc.
It then uploads that information to your app, in an easy-to-read layout.
You’ll never have to wonder what’s next on your trip.
Yelp is the best app out there to get quick restaurant and hotel reviews.
If you’re an iPhone user with access to Apple’s personal assistant Siri, you can now ask her what are the best restaurants nearby and she’ll use Yelp to help you out.
Before you go out to eat, always check with Yelp first.
Google Translate & XE Currency:
These apps are for people traveling overseas.
Google Translate does as its title suggests — translates basic foreign language words .
And XE Currency gives you the closest estimate to how much your dollar can go while traveling in any country.
Ever catch yourself searching for the arrivals and departures board at the airport?
FlightBoard eliminates that search and gives you the information instantly.
This app also comes in handy for family or friends wondering when your flight comes in or leaves at.
Looking for the best gas prices while on vacation?
GasBuddy is an independent firm that aims to give that information to its users and they do a pretty good job at it.
The GasBuddy app detects your location and gives you the gas stations within a certain radius and their prices.
Other Luxury Gadgets
Outside of your basic electronics, there are also some nifty luxury travel gadgets that all affluent travelers should bring with them.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
If you travel frequently with your own wine, you must look into purchasing a Wine Cruzer.
These TSA-approved traveling cases come in under 50 pounds with wine and are the best way to safely bring your favorite vintages on that next luxury vacation.
The 2-pack carrier starts at $145 and an 8-pack Pro case goes for $266.
Costa Brava Corkscrews:
The corkstrew is just as important as the glass you pour your wine into.
This luxurious brand of corkstrews makes even the amatuer wine enthusiast look like a seasoned professional.
The Gattorna corkscrew is made of solid brass and stainless steel and is based off authentic designs from the 1880s.
The classic incense wood box that houses the corkscrew makes for the perfect companion to a fine bottle of wine.
Prices are between $85-$100.
Bose Quietcomfort Headphones:
If you’re looking for a good pair of headphones, there’s none better than Bose’s Quietcomfort 15′s.
For $299, you’ll receive a comfortable pair of headphones with excellent sound quality and the most amazing noise-cancelling technology.
You can finally go into a state of euphoria while on that plane.
Thomas Lyte Passport Holder:
There’s no reason your passport should stay in that ugly blue/red/green book.
Dress it up with one of these luxury cases by Thomas Lyte.
Attention Luxury Travelers…Did we forget something?
What gadget do you bring with you on all of your vacations?
About the Author
Andrew is the luxury travel consultant for Estate Weddings and Events, offering readers the latest trends when it comes to high-end travel. When it comes to travel, he credits his expertise to his wife Erin, who has quite the understanding of the finer things in life. Living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, he enjoys the fresh mountain air, Colorado craft brews and relaxing with his cat Franklin.