Published November 18, 2016
Footloose friends and family members will appreciate these grown-up toys to help them document their travels—and stay entertained along the way.
Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
If you’re looking for an inconspicuous way to block out the world around you, this pocket-size pair of Phiaton BT 220 NC Bluetooth noise-canceling earbuds just might be the ticket. They have a clip-style remote control, combine elements of in-ear and earbud design, deliver excellent sound, and have good active noise reduction.
The small, sleek 1More E1001 earphones are one of the few portable models that deliver excellent sound quality. They’re also great to look at and come with nine earpieces in a variety of sizes to help you find a comfortable fit.
Hermetically sealed hotel rooms can have notoriously dry air. The petite, packable Hunter QLS-03 humidifier is small enough to stash in your suitcase and sit on your night stand, quietly adding much-needed water vapor to the air. It mists in any direction you want, and because the tank is an inverted water bottle, all you have to take along is the base.
If you’re looking for very good video capability combined with the versatility of a digital SLR at an affordable price, the Canon Eos Rebel T5i should top your list. Its automatic features will please novices, and its manual controls let savvier sorts get creative. Image quality is very good, and it comes with a swiveling touch-screen LCD, which makes shooting and playback a breeze.
This full-featured camera’s 83x optical zoom lens can capture craters on the moon. The Nikon P900 is pricey but versatile enough to capture distant wildlife on safari as well as sweeping landscapes—without the hassle of having to change lenses.
This point-and-shoot packs an impressive number of features into a surprisingly petite and easy-to-use package. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV comes with a Zeiss lens, is excellent in low-light settings, and records 4K video as well as most any camera we’ve tested. It’s also nicely designed, with an electronic viewfinder that saves space by hiding until needed, then popping up like an onboard flash.
For climates where snow is an infrequent annoyance rather than a daily challenge, a set of all-season tires is the way to go. In our tests of 16 models, the Michelin Defender was the best overall, with solid four-season performance, grip in wintry and rainy conditions, crisp handling, and a quiet ride (size tested, 215/60R16). Plus, based on our treadwear test, you could expect tread life up to 90,000 miles.
Whether documenting a walk atop the Great Wall or someone walking down the aisle, this Sony Handycamis up to the job. It shoots excellent 4K (Ultra High Definition) video, and it has very good audio quality and an image stabilizer to smooth out any shake or jitter. It also has a large LCD as well as an electronic viewfinder—and even takes excellent still images.
"Thinner and lighter than any other Kindle, the Oasis e-reader is the ideal indulgence for literary travelers. Its nonglare screen makes for easy reading on the brightest beach, and the eight-week battery life means you could get through 'War and Peace' and 'Ulysses' on a desert island with juice to spare. Though the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is slightly heavier and has a shorter charge, it's a solid second choice at less than half the price."—Kevin Doyle, Executive Editor
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