One of the perks of my job is getting to check out cool products and places and get the scoop on what's new and trending. Occasionally this means sneaking away for the day or a weekend to somewhere fabulous for a little VIP special treatment. Last week I was invited to the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC for the Tech and Travel Luncheon (TNTDC), a showcase of tech and travel brands by the Consumer Technology Association. Wait till you see all the awesome gadgets and gear you're gonna want this summer!
The Hottest Tech Trends for Travel
- Ladies, this one you are gonna love! The Knomo Elektronista is a stylish leather purse with a 3000mAh battery that charges your devices on the go. I love the cross body style, perfect for busy moms, plus it's got tons of pockets to keep you organized. Retails for $295.
- Are you about to go crazy from listening to your child's current favorite cartoon over and over in the car? Then the JVC Tinyphones are a must. These kid sized headphones feature a volume limiter to prevent hearing damage. Now you can finally reclaim your car radio and catch up on pop songs that you've been completely in the dark about while your child is safely entertained. Or just enjoy the silence. What is that again?
- This next tech trend made my husband freak out! Like most men he's pretty gadget obsessed, especially when it comes to something survival related. The WakaWaka Base 10 is a portable solar power station and light kit that is capable of charging virtually any type of smartphone or small electronic device within just a few hours and providing up to 150 hours of safe, sustainable light. It's lightweight at 1.2 lbs and ideal for camping and hiking trips, or just a great tool to keep in the car for road travel. WakaWaka makes smaller solar chargers as well, and with every product purchase a solar light will be given to leading humanitarian aid.
- The Olloclip is great for photo fanatics like me who want to take their iPhone pics to the next level. This tiny 4 in 1 lens clips on and off your iPhone and allows you to snap pics with a range of lens effects: fisheye, wide angle, 10x macro and 15x macro.
- Another great tech innovation for photography enthusiasts, the Ricoh Theta is the first consumer camera that captures a 360 degree panoramic view, up to 3 minutes in duration. Fast wi-fi transfer allows sharing of videos to social media and it's even equipped with an SDK that allows users to develop their own APPs.
- Urgent.ly is like the Uber of Roadside Assistance. With thousands of trusted service providers nationwide, an easy to use smartphone app, and no membership fees or annual dues Urgent.ly is a must for any vehicle owner. A fast, safe, and reliable solution for when you have car trouble, run out of gas, lock yourself out or need a tow.
- I've been a huge fan of Shutterfly Photo Books for awhile, they make it so easy to create stylish, custom photo books in minutes. The Shutterfly app makes it easy for you to upload,view and share your pics plus they offer a wide range of gifts and goods you can create.
- The Orbit is a genius little product everyone should own. Attach Orbit to your keys or other valuables and you’ll be able to locate them by making the Orbit beep using the free mobile app. Using Bluetooth this little gadget can find anything so you won't have to worry about losing your keys, wallet, camera, or sanity again.
The Willard Intercontinental DC
A Luxury Hotel that's more than Kid Friendly
After being introduced to the latest in tech and travel we were given a tour of the historic Willard Hotel. The lobby area alone is impressive, with artwork on the walls and 48 state seals painted on the ceiling. This gorgeous hotel has hosted an impressive list of celebrities and important people, including politicians and almost very president dating back to 1853. Our charming guide filled us in on lots of fun facts and secrets about the hotel as we toured several of the rooms.
The Jenny Lind Suite is breathtaking and a popular room for brides. The bathroom boasts a beautiful marble soaking tub, ornate cherry blossom tiled shower and the most incredible view of the Washington Monument.
The Willard offers several room options from standard rooms to executive suites. Family travel packages include cookies for the kids, complimentary valet parking, daily breakfast for two adults and two children and a Washington DC sightseeing guide.
The Willard's New Kid Concierge Service
Starting in July the hotel will offer an exciting kid's program with amenities and entertainment tailored just for younger crowd. The new Kid Friendly Concierge Service will feature a pre-arrival checklist, a Children's Concierge specialist, weekly history tours and kid friendly dining options. The hotel is also working on local partnerships with the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Carousel to add to the list of fun things for kids.
Our tour ended at the Round Robin Bar, a popular place for politicians and dignitaries to have a drink. We were treated to a demonstration of how to make the house specialty drink, the Mint Julep. U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the drink to Washington D.C. at the Round Robin Bar. Four ingredients make up this sweet cocktail: Maker's Mark Bourbon, 4 mint leaves, simple syrup (powdered sugar and water) mixed and muddled, served over crushed ice.
Following the Mint Julep making we were treated to a mini class to learn how to make a few popular summer cocktails.
A gourmet lunch to finish off the day! I should have taken more pictures of the delicious food, but honestly it looked so good I completely forgot. The red, white and blue gazpacho trio to start was tasty and so well presented. Steak and shrimp skewers that followed were paired with yummy barbecue sauces, the Texas style especially.
And finally a dessert that was almost too pretty to eat! I did manage to contain myself long enough to snap a few pictures of the white chocolate monument, candy coated strawberry and adorable duck cookie. The Willard is introducing Millie the Duck as a lovable hotel mascot and part of their new kid's program.
I came home from the Tech and Travel luncheon with lots of exciting ideas for gadgets that would make great gifts and a few I want for myself. Can't wait to start planning a staycation visit to the Willard Hotel again. Maybe a girl's spa day or just a much needed getaway with my hubby. I'm excited to bring Brady sometime to check out all their new kid's amenities, and maybe grab a few more of those duck cookies!
Tell me what are your must have travel gadgets? What amenities do you look for when booking a hotel for your family trip? Share in the comments or on our Facebook page.