When you’re taking a family vacation, you need to be ready for anything. At the same time, you don’t want to pack everything you own and the kitchen sink. Here are some of our travel must-haves.
Galaxy S7 (Samsung)
A good cell phone is absolutely essential, and at the risk of starting World War III, we prefer Samsung’s over Apple’s. To start with, the camera takes vibrant, sharp photos, and the number of available apps is dizzying. The S7 and S7 Edge are also water resistant, which makes them much more durable. And in our experience, Samsung phones age well—they last longer than other brands we’ve tested, and are less likely to get “glitchy” or slow down or freeze. Sprint, the network that Samantha uses, also pairs really well with the new Galaxy line and has some really awesome offers right now for both new and existing customers, making it the perfect time to upgrade. Options and prices vary, visit your Sprint store for details.
HERO4 Session (GoPro)
While your phone will likely double as your main camera for basic photography, most of us don’t want to risk losing or destroying it by taking it jet skiing, skydiving, snow tubing, into the ocean, or on a ziplining marathon. The HERO4 Session is the smallest, lightest addition to the GoPro family. It has a free app that connects it to your phone so you can see your photos and videos right away. You can hold it, mount it, and wear it, and it’s waterproof, so it’s up for any and all adventures. The HERO4 takes sharp, high-resolution, professional-looking video and retails for a reasonable $200. Smart remote sold separately. https://gopro.com/
When you’re on the road, a good pair of shoes is critical and the Sara by NAOT is a great option. These gladiator-inspired sandals are not only super cute, but also super comfortable, and you can dress them up or down. They have an anatomic cork and latex footbed which is wrapped in oh-so-soft suede. And yes, they can get wet and still look and function just fine. The heel and back panels have additional lining and padding that’s remarkably effective in eliminating blisters and those weird “ow” spots from rubbing. That said, we still recommend that you break them in before going on a long hike. About $150. http://naot.com
Nosilife Apparel (Craghoppers)
Here’s a great way to stay warm and to keep away those dreaded bugs (especially the ones who might transmit the Zika virus) at the same time. NosiLife Apparel has both sun protection and Insect Shield insect repellent woven right into the fabric. The jackets are cute, comfortable, and perfect for summer weather excursions and cooler nights. For the kids, check out the new Nat Geo NosiLife Chima jacket, which is soft and lightweight, has front pockets, a zip front, and a hood. It’s also nearly impossible to wrinkle. For mom, we like the NosiLife Astrid Cardigan, which has neither pockets nor hood, but it’s soft, lightweight, hard to wrinkle, and easy to dress up or down, making it perfect for trips where you can’t pack too much. Prices vary. http://www.us.craghoppers.com/
RFID-blocking vest (SCOTTeVEST)
This vest is perfect for when you don’t want to or can’t carry a giant bag, but still need to pack lightweight things like your camera, binoculars, phone, granola bars, wallet, maps, and so on. With 18 pockets, this vest can handle it all. Plus, SCOTTeVEST has somehow designed it so you won’t look like a marshmallow when it’s fully loaded. The vest has a special RFID blocking pocket to keep your passport and credit cards hidden from identity thieves. Pockets are on the inside, so your stuff is also safer from wandering hands. Comes in several colors and in men’s and women’s styles and sizes. About $135. http://www.scottevest.com/