The ultimate travelling essentials guide for 2016
Today is National Towel Day, but we'll forgive you for not knowing what that is if you're not a fan of science fiction, or The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, to be more precise. In the iconic comedy series, National Towel Day is invented as a marker of the fact that the towel is the most useful item an interstellar hitchhiker can have.
Now, we're not experts on interstellar travel (yet), but we do know a thing or two about exploring planet Earth. And in 2016, the phrase 'travel essentials' has taken on a whole new meaning. From hotel booking apps to selfie sticks, technology is making travelling easier (and more fun) each day.
So if you're jetting off somewhere this summer, be sure to read on for our ultimate travelling essentials guide for 2016.
Essential travel apps for 2016
Citymapper is available to use in most major cities and can prove invaluable when trying to navigate public transport. In London, for example, upon entering your destination, the app will calculate the best possible route via the London Underground, Overground, National Rail and bus system. In Barcelona, it'll do the same for the Metro.
Duolingo has proven immensely popular as a language tuition app. It's fun, accurate and quick, so you can polish up your vocab before - and during - your trips abroad.
If you're travelling with a group of friends, Splittr is a great version of the cost-splitting app, designed specifically to let you divvy up your spending while travelling. Whether it's accommodation costs, restaurant bills or something else, this currency-wise app is perfect for you and your travel buddies.
This app is great for those quick one-word translations you need on the go while travelling. It's particularly easy to use because it allows you to hold your camera up to the text you need translating, so you don't have to waste time typing words in manually.
Essential travel gadgets for 2016
Portable battery charger
Whether you're hitting a festival or are backpacking through South America, having a sure-fire way to extend your phone's battery is a very valuable thing indeed - and it comes at a lower cost than you might think. There are a number of cheap portable chargers on the market that are easy to carry and reliable. They can range from anywhere between a couple of quid to over a hundred, so be sure to shop around.
Waterproof case for your iPhone
Why bother buying a clunky old waterproof disposable camera circa 1999 when you can simply pop your iPhone into a waterproof case for all of your snorkelling snaps? There are plenty on the market (and not just for iPhones), that will keep your phone safe and dry while taking shots of all of those tropical fish, not to mention underwater selfies.
Pick from a range of Amazon Kindles to enjoy book after book while travelling. If one thing's for sure, paperbacks make for heavy luggage. These slim and portable reading devices, on the other hand, make for the perfect travelling companion - even if you are in favour of physical books when on home turf.
OlloClip 4-in-1 clip-on lens for iPhone
Ok, so this one's fun for travelling and the everyday. But it does have the potential to take your holiday snaps to the next level, which can't be a bad thing. The iPhone add-on means you can transform your normal lens into a fish eye, wide angle or macro lens, giving you much more scope to get creative with your travel photography.
Waterproof gadget bag
Our suitcases are now filled with more travel gadgets than you can shake a flip flop at, meaning something like this waterproof gadget bag can prove to be quite essential on holiday. Just when you think you've discovered all of its pockets, you'll find another one, and then another one, and then another one. It'll fit all of your gadgets and more, and keep them darned dry too.
You may have mocked your friends for owning one. You may have sworn never to be seen with one. But when you're trying to fit yourself, your other half, a sky-scraping temple and its reflection in a nearby lake (not to mention that glorious sunset) in shot, you'll be happy you listened to us and purchased yourself a selfie stick.
You'll be prepared for all eventualities with this handy guide, whether you're making your way around elegant hotels in Paris or are hostel-hopping in South East Asia. Just be sure that, among all your high-tech gadgets and whizzy apps, you don't forget the one thing you can't download… Because you won't be getting far without your passport.