Australians are a nation of travellers and, by virtue of our distance from the rest of the world and the kind of places we like to explore, more often than not that travelling involves getting on a plane — usually for a long-haul flight.


While airlines are doing what they can to make travel more comfortable — particularly for those at the pointy end of the plane — technology is also helping regular travellers make things a little more enjoyable.

For instance, the latest must-have travel accessory is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, which cut the noise around you, including the hum of the engines, allowing you to enjoy your in-flight entertainment in peace.

Or, if you would prefer to sleep, there are ear plugs which use the latest advances in engineering to ease problems some travellers experience with air pressure and “popping” ears.

While some solutions are high-tech, Leederville Camera House store manager Lidio Fiore says travellers are always looking for old favourites like neck cushions and adaptors to make their journey that little bit easier.

“Universal chargers are very popular because they do the majority of cameras, including iPhones, ” he said. “And also universal travel plugs, which will work in every country and in reverse, including iPhones and USBs — those are very popular now because you can charge everything you’ve got from one little plug.”


Planes are noisy places. Announcements, crying babies, the person beside you complaining about the lack of a vegetarian option, the roar of the engine. Enter the latest must-have high-flying gadget — noise-cancelling headphones. Block-out that baby by slapping on a comfy set of headphones and plugging into the in-flight audio system or your MP3 player. They come in a range of designs and prices, including locally available options by Sennheiser, TDK, Bose and Skullcandy.

Sennheiser headphones, available from JB HiFi, $279


If you are one of those people who gets ear ache during take-off and landing and that old trick of using chewing gum does not bring relief, then perhaps these special earplugs could be the answer. Called EarPlanes, the developers claim they have been tested by US Navy pilots. They are made of a soft, hypoallergenic silicone and have a special filter designed to gently relieve the pressure in your ears.

You can keep them in for the entire flight to help block out engine noise.


EarPlanes ear plugs, available at Chemist Warehouse, $12.99


They are probably the kind of things you associate with pensioners on package tours but anyone who has struggled for comfort on an aircraft knows the value of a good cushion. Those thin airline pillows are just not enough. These days there are not just the traditional peanut and horseshoe shaped pillows designed to give neck support — like the Sandman Travel Pillow, pictured. You can also get ergonomic seat pillows designed to improve your posture and therefore comfort.

Eagle Creek Sandman Travel Pillow, available at Leederville Camera House, $32.99


Don’t want to use those uncomfortable and inefficient headphones the airlines give you? Prefer to use your own whizz-bang noise-cancelling cans or fashionable earphones? These small travel adaptors split your single jack into two jacks to allow you to plug your own headphones into the in-flight entertainment’s audio system. They are an inexpensive way to help make your journey a lot more comfortable.

Connexia Audio Adaptor Plug, available from JB HiFi, $6.95


Sometimes it is impossible to travel light and there is nothing worse than being caught out by baggage limits. Paying for the excess baggage is expensive. Rummaging through your luggage to find items to leave behind is embarrassing. The solution? Digital travel scales. Designed to be hooked onto a case and lifted in one or both hands to give an accurate weight reading, portable luggage scales can take up to 50kgs.

Korjo digital luggage scale, available at Leederville Camera House, $49.95


Most of us are permanently attached to our smartphones or tablets but on long journeys battery life can become a real issue. Luckily, there is a range of chargers on the market to help you recharge when you are 30,000 feet above the nearest power socket. PowerChimp comes with a range of adaptor tips so it can charge all kinds of phones and tablets or connect to USB ports, a retractable charging cable and 1800mAh rechargeable batteries. If you really need some grunt, there is a PowerMonkey version which uses a 9000mAH lithium battery which will charge your smartphone up to six times or a tablet twice.

PowerChimp power recharger, available at Leederville Camera House, $49.95


Since deep vein thrombosis popped up on the radar as a serious problem for air travellers, compression socks have become a handy precautionary tool. Tighter than normal socks, and worn high up the leg, they assist and improve blood circulation in a bid to prevent DVT. They are a particularly good idea for flights longer than six hours or for anyone who is overweight, pregnant, taking the contraceptive pill, has varicose veins or who smokes.

Compression socks, now available at Chemist Warehouse, $19.95


We are all used to seeing high-quality digital images from inexpensive “point-and-shoot” cameras these days but sometimes those cameras are not as robust as the treatment they receive when you are travelling. Now there is a range of “tough” cameras designed to handle some of the rough-and-tumble which trekking up Machu Picchu or climbing down into the Grand Canyon might expose them to. Tough cameras like the Olympus TG-320 picture are shock-proof and water-proof to three metres.

Olympus TG-320 Tough Camera, available from JB HiFi, $147


Anti-bacterial gels like Aqium have become common in offices and homes in recent years, and with good reason. An aeroplane is just another place where people worry about picking up germs that may make them sick — and at the most inconvenient of times. It is now also possible to buy personal air purifiers. One, called AirTamer, and available online from FilterStream, comes on a lanyard and claims it can create a “sphere of healthy air” for about a metre around the person wearing it. If you are buying the gel, just remember some airlines and countries have liquid size limits for carry-on baggage.

Aqium gel, available at Chemist Warehouse, $2.99


© The West Australian

More Travel news: thewest/