Test Drive Gadget Reviews with Bill and Phil

Technology To Go

Our motto has always been “Have tech. Will travel.” If you have ever been behind us at airport security, you probably switched to another line. We tend to slow the process down a bit with all our tech gadgets. But we love our gadgets because — minus the security screening — they make our travel so much easier. Here are just some of our favorite travel tech gadgets and apps.

Bill & Phil


A pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones is an essential travel accessory for us, especially on particularly long trips. These bad boys are not cheap, but we think that Bose sets the standard for noise-canceling technology. It is so nice to slip these headphones on and simply shut off the noise in the plane, train or automobile while streaming music or movie audio from our phone or tablet. The over-the-ear fit is very comfortable, and the battery life is well over 15 hours. These headphones now even have Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control built in.


While not all our travel is business-related, a good bit of it is; consequently, we sometimes find ourselves participating in online meetings and conference calls in the back of an Uber, in a hotel room or in an airport lounge. We always pack an ultra-portable smart speaker that we can use to stream audio from our phone while on the go. Two of our favorites are the eMeet M1 Bluetooth speaker and the Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth speaker. The eMeet M1 is really good as a speakerphone on the road when you have multiple people on the call at your location. The Bose SoundLink Micro has that really rich Bose sound and also happens to be waterproof.


There seems to be an endless parade of travel aggregator sites that all promise to find the best flight, hotel and rental car deals. The one app we find incredibly easy to use and very helpful is Hipmunk. Hipmunk is especially informative in selecting flight reservations. We love the way Hipmunk displays the available flights based on a scale ranking the flights from least painful to most painful, taking into account the price, any layovers, and departure and arrival times. We started using Hipmunk several years ago just for airline reservations, but you can now use it to book your entire trip with just a click of a button. Hipmunk really has become a digital travel assistant.


Sometimes the best tech is really just low tech. We hate using the foldable tray tables on airplanes because they’re germ magnets. So we love that there are creative, smart people who think like we do because some of these people came up with a wonderful invention, the Airhook. The Airhook is just a smartphone/tablet holder combined with a cup holder that attaches to the tray table in its upright position. Three problems solved at once. This is about the smartest tech we can think of that doesn't require electricity.

Sometimes the best tech is really just low tech.


We all know that so-called “free Wi-Fi” is a big security risk when traveling, so we always bring along our own personal Wi-Fi device. Generally the Wi-Fi device from our mobile phone carrier, for which we pay a monthly fee, is just fine for domestic travel. Accessing secure mobile Wi-Fi can be trickier when traveling internationally, however. The Skyroam Solis 4G LTE global Wi-Fi hotspot is a great travel accessory for the international traveler. This device works in more than 130 countries, and you can access fast internet speeds at the click of a button with no need for foreign SIM cards. You pay just for what you use, and there are no limits or contracts.


Finally, the ultimate in travel tech can be seen in a new genre of suitcase called “smart luggage.” We have tried many types of smart luggage at various points along the "smartness" continuum. At the far end are two budget-busting smart suitcases that really take this tech to a new level. The Cowarobot is a $1,500 smart suitcase that is really a luggage robot. This self-moving suitcase will actually follow you as you wind your way through a busy airport. And, if that isn’t crazy enough for you, check out the Modobag, a $1,500 smart suitcase that you can actually ride to your airline gate. When you see Bill riding his Modobag and Phil leading his Cowarobot like a pet dog, you will have witnessed the apex of smart travel tech — or perhaps the ultimate in frivolous tech spending. You decide.

See you on the road.