5 best travel tech purchases of 2015

It only takes a single piece of technology to radically improve the travel experience – take Google Maps, for example, which has made it so much easier to navigate in an unfamiliar city.

While nothing quite as revolutionary as Google Maps emerged in 2015, it still proved an exciting year for travel tech. Typically, there were countless new products sold to travellers as "must haves", which is why we have selected our five best purchases from the past 12 months.

How many of these came onto your radar last year?

Apple Watch

You couldn't fail to notice the Apple Watch. Initially, like many others, we questioned what a smartwatch can do that a smartphone can't. However, that's missing the point of the technology somewhat. What the Apple Watch does offer is the ability to take time-sensitive calls, receive and reply to text messages, check e-mail, and stay on top of appointments.

For your average traveller, that means you avoid making the unforgivable mistake of keeping the rest of the group waiting because your phone was submerged deep in your pocket and you didn't feel it buzz. Though many of the travel apps available to Apple Watch users still leave little to be desired, once they catch up with the technology, its uses will become even clearer.

Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2

When out exploring the world, the last thing you want to think about is charging your smartphone. However, with battery technology not yet at a point where an overnight charge ensures day-long use of your device, we've got to look at the other options of extending battery life.

Enter Kingston's MobileLite Wireless G2, which is not only capable of charging your phone but extending mobile storage. On top of that, this piece of tech boasts a further three functions, acting as a multi-user portable media streaming, media reader and portable Wi-Fi access point.

UE Boom 2

The music that you listen to on your travels often becomes synonymous with the trip, with playback of the tracks that filled your ears when away causing memories to come flooding back when back home.

As admirable as the speakers on our smartphones are, they can't compete with the portable Bluetooth speakers on the market today. Our pick of the bunch in 2015 was the UE Boom 2, which is waterproof, boasts amazing sound and keeps its signal 50 feet away.

PolarPro PowerPole

Whether you love or hate selfie sticks, their rising popularity suggests they're here to stay. To give them their due, they're a pretty handy piece of kit, helping ensure that none of the all-important backdrop is cut out of shot.

The PolarPro PowerPole marked itself as a cut above the rest in 2015, thanks to its compatibility with GoPro cameras and its ability to extend film time by up to ten hours with the built-in 5200 mAh battery.

Olloclip Active Lens

With smartphone cameras approaching the quality of point-and-shoot cameras, some travellers might not see the need to take a separate camera with them. You might, however, wish to improve your pictures by opening your field of view much wider than what you can see through the lens of your iPhone. That's what the Olloclip Active Lens is capable of, boasting an ultra-wide angle of 155 degrees and a two-times optical zoom, alongside professional-style lenses which present you with an opportunity to get creative.