Smart Living | Lifestyle

Lifestyle | 16 May 2022

How tech can help you enjoy a summer of adventure

If you’re ready to stretch your horizons this summer, our tech suggestions can help you discover new destinations to head for - and then make the most of your time when you get there.

There’s only one feeling better than the giddy anticipation of a summer getaway. And that’s the sweet sensation of switching on your work email’s Out of Office autoreply and finally heading off.

If you need inspiration on where to go, and you’re ready for somewhere different rather than your usual haunts, then tech can provide a helping hand. And, with a little bit of preparation, it can also help you make the most of your time in the sun.

Jack’s Flight Club

This weekly email newsletter delivers choice deals on flights straight to your inbox. As well as all the usual suspects like Bali and Bilbao, more off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as Sao Tome, Ecuador and South Korea, regularly crop up. Even if the specifics of the deals aren’t quite right for you, Jack’s Flight Club will still provide ample inspiration for your next trip. If you need even more ideas, there’s an optional paid-for Premium version of the email packed with even more deals.

Although the UK has – at the time of writing – ended all COVID-19 testing, entry and tracing requirements for travellers, some other countries continue to have their own conditions. SkyScanner (one of the sources for the deals in Jack’s Flight Club) has a handy tool on its website for checking what pandemic-related conditions apply for any given destination, so you can prepare well in advance.

Much Better Adventures

If you want to really shake up your next trip, the activity holidays offered by Much Better Adventures couldn’t be more different from the usual beach and city breaks. From cycling in Morocco and rafting in Montenegro, to hiking in Greenland and kayaking around the coast of Wales, these are trips that will blow away the cobwebs and get your adrenaline pumping.

OS Maps Premium

If your adventures take you to one of the UK’s many hiking routes, then an OS Maps Premium subscription can help you stay on the beaten path. The low £5 monthly fee, which you can cancel at any time, gives you access to all of the Ordnance Survey’s highly detailed maps which span the entire country. All National Trust routes are visibly marked in green and you can download maps for offline use on your iOS or Android device, so you don’t need to have an internet connection to pinpoint your location and stay on course.

Unusual Activities from NotOnTheHighStreet.com

If you’re in the mood for a day trip or perhaps a long weekend, rather than a full-blown holiday, the list of ‘Unusual Activities & Experiences’ from online retailer NotOnTheHighStreet.com can help.

From clay pigeon shooting to beekeeping and basic blacksmithing, they’re nothing if not a far cry from propping up the bar yet again at your local pub. Plus, like Much Better Adventures, they work with small, local businesses whenever possible.

Ricoh Theta SC2

If you’re heading for the great outdoors, then it can sometimes be hard to capture and convey the grandeur of your surroundings – even with your smartphone’s ultra-wide camera lens and panorama mode. That’s where the Ricoh Theta SC2 steps in.

Around the size of a whiteboard marker, this dedicated camera has two ultra-wide lenses, one on each side. This enables it to capture immersive 360-degree photos and videos. While you can enjoy them using the accompanying smartphone app, those snaps and clips truly come to life when viewed through a VR headset – even a basic budget model like the Google Cardboard will do the trick nicely. Do bear in mind, though, that you’ll get the best possible picture quality from the Theta when shooting with plenty of light.

Anker PowerCore III Wireless PowerBank and PowerPort III

If you’re anxious about your smartphone and other gadgets running out of juice when you’re out adventuring, the PowerCore III power bank from Anker will provide ample reassurance with its huge back-up capacity.

It has USB-C and USB-A ports, as well as wireless charging, so it’ll work with almost any conceivable device in your rucksack. Plus, just as importantly, it can fast charge itself using USB-C Power Delivery so you can quickly top-up its charge with no hanging around required.

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If you need a wall charger to charge the PowerCore III, as well as your other devices, then Anker’s PowerPort III can do the job with aplomb. As its name implies, it has three USB ports. Plus, it comes with slimline swappable UK, US and European plugs, so you don’t need to cram bulky plug adapters into your luggage.

Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 450AW

If you’ve been bitten by both the photography and the outdoor adventure bugs, then you’ll need a rugged, water-resistant bag to carry all your gear. This backpack from camera bag specialists LowePro has an adjustable padded tech compartment with a capacity equivalent to a 21-litre daypack. Uniquely, as its name suggests, you can swivel the bag around from your back to your front so you can quickly get to your camera and other gear – but without fully unstrapping the bag.

If you need to carry more tech and outdoor gear, then consider LowePro’s Powder Backpack 500AW. It has more than double the capacity at 55 litres, although you’ll have to do without the Flipside swivelling feature.

Joby GorillaPod

With our tips and guidelines in-hand, anyone can take memorable photos of their adventures. The GorillaPod can help get your camera or smartphone safely into position for that unique picture-perfect perspective.

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This miniature tripod has stiff yet flexibly adjustable legs that can securely stand on or wrap around surfaces such as rocky boulders, branches and fencing. The GorillaPod is available in several different sizes, with each one in the range able to carry progressively heavier smartphone and camera setups securely.

SunSeeker

If you need to find out whether a particular spot outdoors will be lit just right by the setting or rising sun, whether it’s for a perfectly posed photo or to have a golden-hued backdrop for popping the big question, then the SunSeeker app can help.

SunSeeker can show you the position of the sun on a map or a compass, at any time and on any date. SunSeeker is available for iOS and Android.

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