After months of dark evenings and assorted snow, rain and sub-zero temperatures, our thoughts are naturally turning to the prospect of warmer weather and, in particular, the summer holiday.
And, unless you’re heading off for a tech-free, spiritual retreat from the always-on world of work, you’ll want the lowdown on the must-pack gadgets for holiday 2014.
Specialist travel insurance broker Adrian Flux has come up with 10 of the best gadgets to help you on your holiday.
1. Denon AH-NC800 noise-cancelling headphones
A clever set of headphones that are perfect for listening to music on aircraft or in other noisy environments. Smart electronics cancel out sound like aircraft engines, producing a clear, clean sound. £249.99.
The little brother of the iPad was made for holiday travel. Many people cite the size of the original iPad as a barrier to portability, so the introduction of its smaller, lighter sibling has opened up the holidaymaker market for those wanting to watch video, browse the internet, play games etc on the go. £269.
3. LG XF-2 portable theatre
This portable hard-drive that plugs into the TV should be available in the summer and, with 500gb of storage, you can fill this with films, music and more and stick it in your hand luggage. Imagine how many episodes of Tracey Beaker or the Teletubbies that is if you want to keep the kids quiet while you enjoy an evening drinking sangria on the balcony.
4. Handheld UV Monitor
This clever little device from Oregon Scientific will tell you the strength of the sun and show you how long you can safely stay out in the sun by gauging the UV reading, sunscreen factor and skin type. Great for mad dogs and Englishmen. £29.99
5. Playstation Vita
OK, so the rise of smartphones and the iPod touch as gaming devices – and its cost next to the cheaper Nintendo DS – have dented Sony’s hopes for the Playstation Vita. But it’s still a fantastic bit of kit with an amazing screen and is without doubt the best handheld gaming device on the market. £229.
6. Kodak Playsport
A cheeky little video camera that works at up to 3m underwater and records the whole thing in full 1080p HD. Built-in image stabilisation means you can record clear footage just about anywhere, and easily upload it from the SD card (which can store 10 hours of video) to your PC, TV or on to YouTube. £79.
7. Mophie Juice Pack Air
Fed up with your smartphone running out of juice after a couple of hours of heavy use? You can double the iPhone’s battery life and give it some added protection too with this combined battery and case pack. So it makes your slimline phone a little bulkier – but at least you can still use it. £59
If you’re going away for a while and want to get through a few books on your travels, it’s a no-brainer to pack one of the various Kindle e-reader range. You can buy the basic model for just £69, or go for the top of the range but still inexpensive HD Kindle Fire, an iPad Mini rival, for £159. And you can store thousands of books, some of which you might actually read.
9. Belkin Rockstar headphone splitter
On a journey with more than one child but only one DVD player or iPad? Then keep the peace with this nifty little gadget that allows you to connect five pairs of headphones to one device. £8
10. D-Link Cloud Camera 5000
You may not wish to think of England while you’re away, but this brilliant and inexpensive security device means you can keep an eye on your home wherever you are in the world.
The clever camera’s motorized pan and tilt base, which you can control remotely, means you can take a good look around your front room to make sure all is in order, whether it’s signs of a break in you’re looking for or an errant son or daughter raiding the drinks cabinet. £190.