• Round Trip with Colleen Kelly

2021's "Round Trip" Radio-Reviewed Travel Gadgets

If you’ve kept up with “Round Trip” on Chicago’s WLS-AM 890 radio show or listened to the podcasts available online, then you may have heard us talk about and review some travel gadgets and apps throughout 2021. Here’s a quick summary of what was discussed—a list that will help you discern what you’re in need of as you gear up for 2022.


1. SCOTTeVEST


This brand has jackets and vests in a variety of styles that are perfect for traveling, namely because they have multitudes of pockets (one has up to 42!) where you can store all your gadgets and documents safely while on the go. It’s a family-run business founded by Scott Jordan and his wife Laura.


This piece of clothing is perfect for those who are heavy on-foot travelers, whether site-seeing or hiking, because it allows you to avoid the cluttering-up of bags and backpacks that may end up weighing you down. The hidden pockets are there for safety, with RFID-blocking pockets the ideal spot for your credit cards and passports. There are also pockets big enough for phones, tablets, and cameras, and even ones specifically designed for pens and sunglasses.



2. Mophie Powerbanks


While we reviewed a few wireless power banks, we’d like to specifically highlight one from Mophie, a popular and reliable brand. This year, we tried out the Powerstation wireless XL with PD (fabric). (There are also newer versions now out on zagg.com that you can browse.)


We liked this brand because of the smaller size, the ability to charge multiple devices at once, and the fast-charging capabilities. A nice perk was the wireless aspect: Place your phone on top of the gadget and away it charges! Of course, a display showing you how much battery is left is super helpful when planning when to charge what devices while traveling.


3. Apple AirTag


Have you gotten the Apple AirTag yet? While this gadget comes in handy for many reasons at home, we’ve found it particularly useful when traveling abroad. It’s perfect for sticking in your luggage and tracking in case it gets lost. You can keep an eye on the AirTags in the “Find My” app on your phone.


According to Apple, “AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network. These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud — then you can go to the Find My app and see it on a map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy.”



4. Flight Aware and Hopper


Two simple travel apps to give a try if you haven’t already are Flight Aware and Hopper. (We also highly recommend utilizing the travel apps provided by the airlines you are traveling on. It’s one of the best ways to store your ticket and track your flight.)


Flight Aware is a mobile flight tracking app that gives you information about your gate changes, delays and cancellations, weather, and your personal flight status. It’s available for both iPhone and Android, and it displays maps with a visual of the planes that are flying overhead, as well as gives you push notifications via text or email. Best part? It’s free!


Hopper is one of the best apps to book flights, cars, or hotels. It has predictions about prices to keep you on your toes when booking a trip. You can purchase specific plans that help you even further, such as the Flight Change Guarantee plan, which allows you to change your flight up to 24 hours in advance of your departure. There’s also a Delay Rebooking Service and Prize Freezing Tool.


Traveling is stressful; but once you’ve found the travel gadgets and apps that are perfect for you and your traveling style, your journey will become so much smoother. If you haven’t already, try out these brands! We’d love to hear your favorite brands as well.


We can’t wait to discover even more travel gadgets with you in 2022!


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Catch up with “Round Trip” in 2022 for more travel tips, tricks, and gadgets! Airs every Sunday from 6-7 pm CT on WLS-AM 890. More information and the podcasts are available at https://www.wlsam.com/round-trip-with-colleen-kelly/.

Click to subscribe to the Colleen Kelly Travel Newsletter.

By: Megan Kudla