The best of the latest travel gadgets and accessories

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Use it for any overseas credit card purchases and you don't pay currency conversion fee or international transaction fees. Make sure you always nominate to pay in the foreign currency. For ATMs, use the Citi VISA debit card, from CitiBank. It's basically a savings account that you top up before you go and then just withdraw as you would from any savings account through an ATM. If you use a CitiBank ATM OS there is no ATM fee. Standard ATM fees apply for foreign ATMs. No currency conversion fees. You can also EFTOPS with it.

See 28degreescard.com.au/Master_Card; citibank.com.au

ISOBEL KING

THE DUOLINGO IPAD APP

Language learning is much less of a chore when it's effectively one big game. Aside from being free, Duolingo's strength is that picking up one of 10 languages is split into bite-sized chunks, with rewards  as you rise through the levels. Set aside 15 minutes a day to play, and new vocabulary and grammar  are gradually added in. Tedious rote learning of verb endings, however, is entirely absent. See duolingo.com

DAVID WHITLEY

TOMTOM GOLIVE 1005 GPS

Globetrotting road-trippers need no longer pay for and faff around working out a new GPS with each rental car. TomTom's Go Live 1005 has maps of 66 countries built in, covering Australia, New Zealand, North America, South Africa and Europe. Put it in your hand luggage, stick it to the windscreen and off you go. See tomtom.com

DAVID WHITLEY

GOOGLE TRANSLATE APP

Point your smartphone's camera at a Moscow Metro sign or a Turkish menu and voila, the translation appears in English, Catalan, Swedish or any one of 30 other languages. Better still, the app's speech-recognition facility offers real-time audio and text translation, so you can converse with a Polish taxi driver, or tell your Thai waiter to ramp up the chilli. On a cautionary note, the app requires a data connection, which potential for bill shock. Free for iOS and Android. See itunes.apple.com/au

OSPREY LUGGAGE

Hauling your suitcase over cobblestones, dragging it up stairs and consigning it to the baggage hold for random abuse is the ultimate luggage torture test and the Osprey Shuttle Wheeled Gear Hauler passes with flying colours. Rugged and dependable, the soft-sided, 80-litre version has been my go-to travel luggage for five happy years. See ospreypacks.com

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MICHAEL GEBICKI

TRIPIT

As soon as I've booked a flight or accommodation online, I press the "forward" button and zip it across to plans@tripit.com. This free app instantly enters my activities into a travel diary, complete with maps where needed. TripIt Pro ($49 a year) gives alerts of flight delays or changes, tracks points and checks when a preferred seat becomes available. See tripit.com

RICHARD TULLOCH

SONY'S ALPHA A7 CAMERA RANGE

It used to be that photography enthusiasts fell into two camps: Canon people and Nikon people. Now, however, there is a legitimate third option. Sony's Alpha a7 range offers full-frame, mirrorless DSLR cameras in a more compact size than its established competitors. The beautifully sharp, high quality images and reasonable price point mean there will  soon be a spate of "Sony people". See sony.com

BEN GROUNDWATER

LOWEPRO STREET AND FIELD SYSTEM

Lugging an SLR camera and assorted lenses can turn travel into trauma, but Lowepro's (lowepro.com) Street and Field modular system loads the weight on to your hips, allowing freedom of movement, fast and easy access to gear and portability. At the heart of the system is a wide, padded belt with loops and rings that allows you to attach the system's weatherproof pouches and customise your gear for wherever you happen to be.  

MICHAEL GEBICKI

WD MY PASSPORT ULTRA 1TB HARD DRIVE

For backing up your travel photographs as you go or storing dozens of movies (let's face it - you can't always rely on the airline selection) without clogging up your drive, this slick little gadget takes some beating. Aesthetically pleasing with a slim design, it's quick, has bundles of storage space and is compact enough to slip easily into a coat pocket. See wdc.com

GUY WILKINSON

BEATS STUDIO NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

With their fold-up design and protective zip-up travel case, a set of Beats makes for an essential, sanity-saving travel accessory. The recently revamped, adaptive noise-cancelling technology ensures the screaming kid in front is mercifully drowned out while the inflight movie remains crisp and clear in your ear. See beatsbydre.com

GUY WILKINSON

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