Gadgets and grooming for long-haul travel

FullSizeRenderYou’ve got to love long-haul flights because without the pain of travel there is no gain.

Still, it’s no picnic being cooped up in a jet-propelled tube at 35,000ft and once you arrive at your destination it’s nice to have some home comforts, especially if you are travelling alone, as I frequently do.

If your final flight destination also involves lots of additional travel – I clocked up 1,700 miles on a recent tour of Alabama – those little goodies, neatly stowed in your luggage, can make all the difference. So here is a selection of gadgets and male grooming products I took along to the States to help take the stress out of long-haul travel.


 Voombox Travel, £49.99.

This portable, bluetooth speaker was in constant use as I moved from hotel to hotel, criss-crossing Alabama. In fact, it became part of my daily chill-out ritual, hooking it up in the bathroom or bedroom as I grabbed a few minutes downtime before the next appointment/meal/cocktail…

The rechargeable unit has six-hours’ battery life and comes in groovy colours including indigo blue and vermillion red. For such a tiny unit and a low cost, the sound quality is far from small or budget. A built-in mic means you can take, and make, hands-free calls but I prefer to use it to blare out  sweet soul music. Impressive.

In fact, the Voombox, by Divoom, is so good we also hooked it up in the car so I could play the favourite tunes from my iPad as we cruised through the Deep South.


square_louped_mm_450x_01_sq_travel_sennheiserSennheiser MM 450-X, £249.99

Sennheiser’s stylish headphones offer outstanding performance, as the price tag might suggest; you definitely get what you pay for here. The wireless connection is seamless (if you read the instructions properly – I didn’t, because I’m an idiot, and it really is very easy) and delivers faultless sound from your mobile device.

Sennheiser’s clever NoiseGard technology strips out background noise, which is particularly effective if you are on lengthy flights, as I was. Various widgets, all included, also allow simple connection to in-flight entertainment systems, so I wore mine when I watched the on-board movies. There are also international power adaptors, again included. It’s a great package.

square_louped_mm_450x_02_sq_travel_sennheiser  A TalkThrough external microphone allows you to talk to travel companions without removing the headset. Or you can just pretend to be asleep.

I have also used the 450’s big brother, the 550-X (£299.99), which offers superb bass, depth and clarity of sound, but the 450-X actually edges it for me due to its hyper-compact configuration for travel.


4-in-1_middle_imgOlloclip 4-in-1iPhone Lens, £59.95

The picture quality is so good on modern iPhones (I have a 5) that I sometimes wonder why I bother with a big camera. Sacrilege, I know, but when you need a quick snap on the go you can’t beat the iPhone – and instant wizardry is enhanced with Olloclip’s nifty 4-in-1 lens system.

The Fisheye, Wide-Angle and two Macro lenses come in a small, draw-string purse that fits comfortably in your man-bag or pocket. It’s more of a fun adaption than a tool for serious snappers but nevertheless the results are good.


I used the Fisheye (which captures a 180° field-of-view) and Wide-Angle (doubling the field-of-view of the iPhone) more than the mega-close up lenses. However, the latter did deliver some weird and wonderful images if you take lots of food images, as I do. Cakes turn into moonscapes.

Here is the inside of the wonderful Trowbridge’s ice cream bar in Florence, Alabama, snapped with the Fisheye. I had Peachy Peach ice cream (I know you’ll want to know that) because they grow a lot of peaches out here and someone’s got to eat them.

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Fisheye-captured ice cream bar

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Peachy Peach


HP Continuous Moisture eye cream


You don’t want to turn up looking haggard after an inter-continental flight, so refresh those fuggy travel eyes – and keep the crow’s feet at bay – with a dab or two of Anthony’s High Performance Continuous Moisture Eye Cream (£36).

In all honesty, I thought this product was going to be a complete waste of time – cos I’m a bloke, right? – but I found myself strangely addicted to its replenishing properties.

Apparently, the hydration is all to do with jojoba oil, shea butter and squalane; cucumber extract “soothes” while carrot root gives “elasticity and tones.”  I just know it works. Big boys have fat fingers so apply with your pinky.


Equally effective are Anthony’s non-foaming Glycolic Facial Cleanser (£26) that leaves you zinging and purified and the Oil Free Facial Lotion (£29) is revitalising, smoothing (thanks to aloe and chamomile) and stops you feeling like a dried out sack of spuds.

Bulldog One Step At A Time, £10
You can’t get enough skin hydration when you’re on the road – or up in the air – so I also took this.
Inside the dinky tin, you get neat little 30ml tubes of skincare rescue: a face wash, shave gel and moisturiser.
 I have used Bulldog moisturiser for years (I know, that’s why I look so great) and it never fails to deliver epidermic satisfaction. Every time I smell it, it reminds me of a trip to Barbados – and that’s a gift.

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