Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Wed December 09 2015

Gadget Guy: 3 Innovations To Make You a Tech-Happy Traveler

Travel Technology | Tim Wood | December 09, 2015

Gadget Guy: 3 Innovations To Make You a Tech-Happy Traveler

Some of you may know me as the editor-in-chief of TravelPulse. But long before I was a travel editor, I was a tech geek. I was the guy that sat in line overnight for the first iPhone and the first Xbox. I’m the guy that bought one of the first TiVo machines ever made. I’m the guy who hugs the mailman when he delivers the The Sharper Image catalog, the dork that’s on a first-name basis with most of the associates at my local Best Buy.

That’s why I was thrilled to discover there were so many innovative products on the market for the savvy traveler. My goal in this space is to introduce you to the most forward-thinking gizmos and give you the real lowdown on getting the most bang for your tech buck.

The products you will see in this space are all Gadget Guy approved. I’m not a hater, so if I’m sent a product for review and it doesn’t make it into print, there’s a reason why. I subscribe to the “if you can’t say anything nice” theory. Score a 48 or above in our rankings and you, my friend, become a Gadget Guy Platinum Pick.

That said, let’s get on with the first batch of reviews. And we start with my current favorite find.


One of my biggest travel frustrations is consistently putting my custodian-size stash of keys in the same pocket as my iPhone and not even realizing it. For all the time it takes me to put that surface-saving sheet on my phone just right, I should treat my phone nicer. Up until now, I haven’t found the product that makes that possible.

Aussie inventors Charles and Rex set out to solve the problem of the havoc-wreaking key ring. What they came up with is so simple yet so revolutionary that you’ll be saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

OrbitKey holds your keys in place like a Swiss Army knife via a custom-designed locking mechanism. To add keys, use a coin to unlock the OrbitKey. It fits up to nine standard-issue keys with 5 mm or larger hole diameters.

The bonus here is the style that our saviors have incorporated into the design. Whether you order the premium leather or more sporty elastomer band, you will never get a phone scratch from your keys again. I’ve been stopped countless times by waitresses or parking lot attendants asking me where I got this, half for the design and half for the usefulness.

The OrbitKey comes with an additional attachment ring to hold bulkier car key fobs. Plus, you can get both a bottle opener and either a 8 GB or 32 GB USB drive to add on to your band.

It’s no wonder the duo met their Kickstarter goal in less than 24 hours and have raised $210,000 AUD -- $200,000 beyond their initial $10,000 ask.

The other beauty here is the price. At just $29.95 base price for the elastomer and $39.95 for the leather, it’s a bargain compared to some of the less useful competitors I have seen up over $150.

If every inventor so thoroughly solved every product flaw, there would be no innovation yet. Once you get OrbitKey, you won’t ever think of buying a keychain or key ring again.

BUCK BANG (value for the price): 10

STYLE (will you look good carrying this?): 10

SUBSTANCE (how innovative is the product?): 10

USEFULNESS (is this something I'll always use?):  10

STASHABILITY (will it fit into my travel packing?): 10

OVERALL: 50, a Gadget Guy Platinum Pick

Happy Hour Timepieces

Finally, a product that takes the idea of “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and has built a business around it.

There’s a couple of things that drew me to Happy Hour. First, the simplistic design: Each of their watches have dashes for every hour except happy hour. There, you will see a big “5” on your dial.

The "Ish" model features a frosted mineral crystal display that’s only clear at 5 o’clock and instead of traditional hands, it marks minutes and hours with a small dot and a large dot.

This is a victory for style. It’s a timepiece that stands out on your wrist and has repeatedly been a conversation starter among curious strangers for me.

I tried out two models. The Lightweight ($129.99), one of the most popular models, features a black IP stainless steel casing and a leather-lined canvas strap. I went with the Night Moves option (black crown on black strap), but it also comes with a brushed stainless steel case with both black and an olive drab strap.

The Bottoms Up ($79.99) is a robust piece of masculine accessory. The stainless steel crown is raised above a calfskin case and strap, making it an eye-popper on your wrist. It’s sturdy and beefy. Not a piece for the dainty. This is more for the husky man that sweats all day but is looking to gain style points at the bar.

All the Happy Hour models come with a built-in bottle opener in the buckle, a cool value-add that took me a bit to master but has proven handy many times already.


STYLE (will you look good carrying this?): 9.5

SUBSTANCE (how innovative is the product?): 7.8

USEFULNESS (is this a must have in the travel bag): 8.2

STASHABILITY (will it fit into my travel packing?): 8.7


The Mountie

Ten One Design,

This product love connection was the result of a multitasking afternoon in a hotel room in Orlando.

I had my MacBook Pro in my lap, sorting through emails, and my iPhone propped up on a pillow streaming NFL Red Zone. And it got me thinking. Where’s the product that clips our smart devices to the laptop screen? Somebody had to think of this, right?

After some Googling and a lot of sifting through wannabe contenders, I found Ten One Design’s Mountie.

This is a side-mount clip that gives you either the iPhone-laptop combo, or if you’re feeling ultra industrious, the laptop-iPad combo that creates a second display.

What I found truly special about the Mountie, where it puts any like-minded products to shame, is the swap-out inserts. First, you clip the Mountie in place, then you add one of five rubber inserts that lock in and adjust to the bulk of your smart device. Easy-to-follow directions show you the letter-coded insert perfect for your device, whether a razor-thin phone or a full-size tablet with a bulky outer casing.

I tried them all and the Mountie held every variation in place. Whether I clipped in the iPhone or iPad vertical or horizontal, there was zero slippage.

Kudos to the designers at the Montclair, NJ Ten One.

This is a must-have for the frequent business traveler. Whether you’re streaming Netflix or trying to FaceTime with the family while you finish work, the Mountie delivers on a sizeable promise with impressive precision. Currently on sale for $18.71 (down from a $24.95 base), this is the kind of stocking stuffer, Secret Santa or Yankee swap gem for any tech-filled friend.


STYLE (will you look good carrying this?): 9.1

SUBSTANCE (how innovative is the product?): 9.6

USEFULNESS (is this a must have in the travel bag): 10

STASHABILITY (will it fit into my travel packing?): 10

OVERALL: 48.7, a Gadget Guy Platinum Pick


Products detailed above were provided to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Tim Wood and have not been influenced in any way.

Have a cool travel gadget we should review? Email me at


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