Apps, books and gadgets: A traveler’s packing list


The Wizcom Reading pen will translate text written in another language to English.

By Christina Oehler

Despite the winter weather, students will soon have a light at the end of the tunnel: spring break. With a week-long vacation just around the corner, students have just enough time to put together the perfect packing list for the ultimate spring break trip. Once the basics are packed — appropriate clothing, cosmetics, footwear — there’s still room for a few other handy and fun items to fit into your suitcase. Whether the destination is the warm beaches of Mexico or the snowy slopes of Colorado, these apps, gadgets and books are some useful items every traveler needs this spring break: 


With the growth of technology, travelers can utilize their smartphones to find convenient apps that will enhance their vacations.

Tripomatic: With a technology that covers over 400 different countries, this app allows travelers to ditch guidebooks and maps and quickly update their trip at the touch of a button.

“Tripomatic is an online travel planner that enables travelers to make their own personal travel guide,” said Barbora Nevosadova, co-founder of Tripomatic, in an email. “It recommends what to do in your destination and helps you find your way in the city.” Tripomatic can be used online or through a smartphone app, where users can select their destination, and then find sights they are interested in visiting.

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    “People can change their plans according to the weather or their mood, and Tripomatic will always recommend the best options for them,” said Nevosadova.

    GateGuru: Long layovers and waiting for flights can be uncomfortable and boring, but with GateGuru, users constantly have options for entertainment. This app enables users to find interesting options for cuisine, shopping and activities, all within walking distance of their gate. Users can also find coupons and maps for businesses within their airport, so waiting around for a flight won’t feel so long. 


    Any avid reader knows that it’s not a vacation without a good book, but with the stress of reading textbooks all semester long, there is little time to sit down and actually enjoy a story. Spring break offers a week of free time to catch up on leisure reading that students may miss out on during the semester.

    “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, a New York Times Bestseller for combined print and e-book non fiction: The story follows U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle during his four tours overseas, and the PTSD he experiences during every return home. This book has been turned into a best-selling movie, earning over 200 million in the box office.

    “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins was called a “Hitchcockian thriller” by, and follows the story of a girl who finds herself in the middle of a crime she has witnessed. This book was ranked second on the New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover fiction, and is a good read for anyone with an interest in crime and mystery.


    Wizcom Reading Pen: Often when traveling, the biggest burden of becoming assimilated to a culture is overcoming the language barrier. However, the technology company Wizcomtech has created a solution for wary travelers. The ReadingPen 2 is a device that allows users an option to highlight a piece of text and listen to it translated into English.

    “It’s mobile, and completely self-contained,” said Mark Lamendola, owner of Mindconnection LLC, a Kansas-based company that sells the pens throughout North America.

    “You can scan the text and listen to the translation whenever and wherever, because the pen does not require connection to the internet.”

    With about 28 languages available for translation, this pen is perfect to bring with when traveling abroad.

    GripTight GorillaPod Stand: When visiting exotic lands, capturing the beautiful scenery is a must. This product allows users to take a picture from any angle, because the flexible tripod can hook itself around almost anything. Using rubber pads and bending leg joints, users can wrap their iPhones around a surface and take pictures from a variety of angles.

    Christina can be reached at [email protected].