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8 must-have gadgets for summer travel

April 30, 2013 at 10:35 AM ET

Video: With summer vacation right around the corner, it’s time to prepare to head out of town. Tech expert Katie Linendoll shares eight fun and functional travel gadgets, including waterproof iPhone and iPad cases, a floating speaker, and more.

I travel so much my favorite color should be JetBlue. And while I can’t seem to make it an hour on a road trip without having to use a restroom—nor am I good at dealing with coughers on airplanes — I’m great at hunting down cool gadget must-haves for the summer! Here is a look at some of my faves, as showcased on TODAY.

Viama Wine Purse
Christian Conti Photography
The Viama Wine Purse

Wine in a purse, $15, viamawines.com
Finally, a purse your guy won’t mind carrying. These fashionable Viama wine purses (with sturdy spouts on the side) transport what is equivalent to two bottles of wine and come in Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Rosso Red, Bianco White and Rosé. Each varietal comes in a different color satchel, and even though the carrier is made out of cardboard, it doesn’t look cheap. Bonus: it stays fresh for up to five weeks. Decide on which purse to bring depending on if you are eating steak or fish — but everyone knows Pinot Grigio goes with any outfit. Totes amaze. (Get it?).

Cardigan
ThinkGeek
The gadget cardigan, as seen in X-Ray vision.

The SeV gadget cardigan, thinkgeek.com, starting at $75
Finding the perfect cardigan is as hard as finding the perfect man. But you know it when you’ve got it. The SeV ladies’ cardigan has the ideal weight, feel and super deep pockets as well as inner zip pockets to stash your gadgets. Ah! The bliss of going purse- and bag-free.

Frontgate speakers.
Frontgate.com
These speakers keep the party afloat.

iSplash floating speaker, frontgate.com, $80
Sure, there are water-resistant speakers out there, but I’d rather just have one I can confidently throw in a pool. Frontgate offers this brand new speaker ball that literally keeps the party afloat. The two-pound floating speaker pumps out some loud sound and it worth the cost. It works with any Bluetooth device in a 30-foot range. For added ambiance, turn on the soft blue light and let the music flow. Requires six AA batteries (not included). No matter your musical taste, now you can truly boogie on your boogie board. Note: I recommend taking off the speaker grill cover for best quality sound.

With this case, you don't have to worry about dropping your phone in the water.
Lifeproof
With this case, you don't have to worry about dropping your phone in the water.

LifeProof waterproof cases, iPhone and iPad, lifeproof.com, starting at $79
Imagine never having to get out of the pool to check your phone. That’s the kind of convenience you’ll get with LifeProof, an iPhone/iPad case that touts military specifications and water tests each product. Before testing this, myself, I was terrified to throw my iPhone underwater, but it survived. Just be sure to read the guide and ensure the case is airtight before your phone takes the plunge. While LifeProof stakes the claim of being shock-proof, wind-proof, snow-proof and dirt-proof, I’d like to point out that, most importantly, it’s toilet proof.

Katie Linendoll.
waterbuoy.net
The waterbuoy is a lifesaver for your valuables.

Waterbuoy, waterbuoy.net, $17
Plan to Jet Ski, boat or swim in the lake as weather gets nicer? Put your mind at ease about losing those keys with Waterbuoy. This mini flotation device can support to just about anything that weighs less than 2.2 pounds. Simply clip it to your valuable items, like keys and cameras, and if you accidently drop them in the water, Waterbuoy springs to life in 30 to 45 seconds, heading back to the surface. The device knows the difference between rain and submerge, so you don’t have to worry about it activating in a downpour. And thanks to its light flashes, it’s even visible at night. That lady in Titanic who dropped her necklace to the bottom of the ocean sure could have benefitted from one of these bad boys. Each Waterbuoy is a one-time use item.

The TowelMate women's towel.
Nick Nacca / TowelMate.com

Towelmate, towelmate.com, starting at $25
Stash your keys, wallet, and other items right inside your towel with Towelmate. This multipurpose towel comes in a number of colors and styles, such as beach, yoga, gym, golf and kids. Its water-resistant pockets let you stow away your valuables safely and conveniently. (Regular size towel is 37 by 70 inches.)

Tunes for two.
eriedrive.com/Catchlight
This robot ear-splitter helps you share your tunes.

Robot headphone splitter, eriedrive.com, $12
Want to share your tunes with a friend or significant other? This cute little robot keychain (which also comes in a heart version) serves as a headphone splitter, meaning you can both plug your headphones in a jack (via the robot’s eye socket) and listen to the same thing. It’s perfect for a bicycle built for two, just as long as you share the same taste in tunes.

cooler
Amazon.com

Remote control cooler, amazon.com, $72
If R2D2 and Budweiser had a baby, it would be an RC cooler. The cooler, made by Interactive Toy Concepts, holds up to 12 brewskis, keeping them nice and cold, thanks to its insulated sides. While the gadget is a bit loud and not exactly moving at NASCAR speed, it’s fun for novelty’s sake. Plus, with a 30-foot remote range, it’s the poolside butler you never knew you needed. It weighs only three pounds, collapses for easy transport and uses six C and one 9V battery.

Katie Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning technology expert contributing to ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. She hosts a tech show on Spike TV and can be seen as a tech expert on TODAY. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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