SXSW attracts thousands of international travelers every year as one of the largest and most influential festivals, featuring 10 days of interactive, music, and film presentations from artists and entrepreneurs from just about everywhere on the planet. If you’re lucky enough to be jet-setting from overseas to Austin in March, there are a few gadgets you’ll need to power your experience.
Two years ago, our Dutch CEO and co-founder Steven van Wel was super frustrated at the lack of WiFi solutions every time he visited the US—voilà, the idea for Karma was born. Travel is in our DNA. Of course, Karma Go would be at the top of our list of SXSW must-haves, but it’s not available until April so we won’t be that guy. Instead, we’d like to recommend some our other favorite gadgets, all made with not just portability in mind, but also great design.
Four in One Flight Adapter—$25
Electric adapters are necessary evils for international travel, but they’re usually ugly, clunky, and leave you with a variety of funny-shaped plastic pieces to lose between the cushions of your couch. This adapter looks like a well-organized set of legos and fits together in one very convenient package. Plus it’s color-coded based on the country you’re using it in. Easy, compact, and design-friendly.
Lumsing Harmonica-Style Portable Battery Pack—$23.99
So-called for its super-slim profile, this beautifully designed battery pack is about the size and shape of a harmonica, meaning it can slip into your pocket incognito-style. It won’t make you the next Bob Dylan, but it will fully charge your iPhone four to five times before the battery pack needs to be charged again, and will work with all your USB-powered devices. It even comes with a handy felt pouch for even easier traveling.
You’ll want to capture every wacky moment of SXSW, so do it with the ultimate compact camera. While the price tag packs a bit of punch, the X100T is a choice travel companion for anyone from amateur to pro photographers. With a super high-quality 23mm fixed lens, optional digital viewfinder, and gorgeous vintage-inspired design, this camera offers the manual feel of a classic rangefinder alongside the portability and high-tech features you’d expect from a tip-top modern digital camera. It's a little larger than an ultra-compact because of its larger sensor, which is also what drives up the price, but it's what truly sets this camera apart from other compacts on the market and makes photos look pro. Works great with an EyeFi wireless SD card—read more below.
Hesitant about shelling out over $1k for a weekend point-and-shoot? We hear you. For the less intense shutterbugs out there, check out the very solid Canon PowerShot S120 for $449. It's fully WiFi-enabled, captures 1080p HD video, and features a big, brilliant touch sensitive LCD viewfinder screen.
EyeFi Mobi Wireless SD Card—$49.99-$99.99
You just nabbed the best shot ever of a tattooed grandma stage-diving. Your first thought: let’s get this puppy on Instagram. But ugh, it’s trapped on your camera’s SD card. With a Mobi wireless SD card, you can upload your shot in a few seconds right from your phone (and watch the likes roll in) rather than lugging around your laptop and going through the clunky process of uploading photos in batches, editing on a desktop program, sending the images back to your phone, and then uploading them to social media (if you have any energy left at that point). Yes, it’s compatible with the Fuji X100T, but you can check compatibility for any other camera right from their site.
Adonit Jot Pro Stylus—$29.99
Tablets are the new laptop when it comes to travel. Get creative with your note-taking while you’re at SXSW and grab this multi-purpose stylus. The Lifehacker community voted it their favorite all-around stylus; not only is it great to look at and affordable, it has a dampening effect to make writing and sketching feel more natural and precise. The damper also makes it quiet, so you won’t interrupt presentations or meetings with stylus-tapping, and it’s got a handy built-in clip so you can stow it away in a pocket or on your tablet sleeve.
We're just skimming the surface of well-designed gadgets for travel, so we want to know what we're missing. Out-gadget the gadgetheads and let us know your picks.