Essential gadgets for your city break

Heading to Paris or Rome this summer? Here we’ll reveal the essential city-break gadget checklist for making it a trip to remember

Whether pretending to be in Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik or admiring San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge, a city break is packed with potential memories, adventures and photo opportunities.

City breaks are becoming the holiday of choice for many - with travel organisation ABTA revealing they are now as popular as beach holidays.

But when it comes to gadgets, how do you know what to pack? Here we'll reveal the essential city break gadget checklist for making it a trip to remember.

Venice City Break

Essential city break gadget checklist

  • Camera

  • Tablet

  • Headphones

  • Wi-Fi hotspot

Got that? Now we'll give you our pick of each of the above...

A DSLR Camera is great for: 

  • Things a smartphone camera just doesn't cover. Such as high-quality, professional-looking images of sights such as Rome's Colosseum, the Duomo in Florence etc
  • Taking repetitive, fast-motion pictures of your friends dancing and clowning around without blurring
  • Being able to adjust your camera's settings and change lenses to suit specific requirements
  • Large sensor for taking superior images 
  • Longer optical zoom lenses for focusing on objects such as landmarks at a distance 

Example Nikon D3200


Our holidays are defined by the pictures we bring back. And this is even more the case with a city break - making the Nikon D3200 a great option.

The D3200 is a digital SLR (DSLR) camera. A DSLR is the type of camera used by professional photographers. You have manual control over settings as well as the ability to change its lenses.

It will also fire-off a high number of shots in quick succession to capture an image of your friends dancing in front of Eiffel Tower.

However, with the D3200 DSLR from Nikon you get all the technical benefits of a DSLR alongside the convenience of a compact.

Using its Guide mode you're able to switch from DSLR mode to point-and-click for easy snapping

In a review What Digital Camera? said it's "easy to use, performs well and delivers great images".


Tablets are great for:

  • Keeping entertained at the airport and on the flight
  • Researching restaurants and days out once you've arrived
  • Sharing how much of a good time you're having on Facebook and Twitter
  • Reading and watching films while relaxing on your hols
  • Warning:  Keep a close eye on how much data you're using with a pre-purchased data package and hook up to free Wi-Fi wherever possible. Streaming data abroad can be costly 

Example - iPad mini with Retina display

I Pad Mini With Retina

The pocket-sized iPad mini with Retina display is your perfect city-break companion.

The 7.9-inch device can be slipped inside your pocket or small bag - have tablet will travel.

Enjoy movies you have previously downloaded from iTunes on the plane or while chilling at a pavement cafe.

Because it has a Retina screen you can expect a better picture than on your HD TV back home - with more than 3.1 million pixels.

Research your next sightseeing stop-off online while enjoying a coffee at a café.

The Retina screen makes text crisp and sharp, so why not enjoy an e-book version of the novel of the moment, John Green's The Fault in our Stars, or the latest from Bill Bryson?

The iPad mini is small enough to fit in one hand, is 7.5mm thin and weighs just 312g, perfect for reading or watching movies on the go


Closed on-ear headphones are great for:

  • Listening to music on the plane
  • Listening to music as you travel from one sightseeing destination to the next
  • Blocking out the sound of background noise
  • Watching movies on your tablet without disturbing anyone  

Example - Sony MDX-XB600 headphones

Sony MDX-XB600

On your average city break you won't stay in the same place for too long. A far cry from laying on a beach all day, a city break to Rome could see you taking in the Vatican Museums, St Peter's Basilica, the Roman Forum and - of course - the Colosseum.

Keep yourself entertained while travelling between such destinations with these Sony MDX-XB600 headphones.

As your friends and family chat on the train or bus you can lose yourself in your favourite album. The on-ear design means you won't even hear the hum of their chit-chat. When you do have something to say, just rotate one of the cans away from your ear to hear the conversation

When you're done simply pop them in your bag - they fold, and weigh just 220g.

When it comes to the plane home these cans will really come into their own. Use them to upgrade on those provided by the airline as you check out a movie on the plane's built-in entertainment.

Alternatively, plug them into your tablet and watch something you've already downloaded from iTunes.

City break to a far-flung destination like San Francisco? The earphones are cushioned for longer listening sessions.

Mobile Wi-Fi is great for: 

  • Creating your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot to get online on your tablet on holiday 
  • Getting online to find out information when there's no Wi-Fi available 
  • Remeber to set up for overseas use and purchase a relevant data bundle 

Example: Vodafone pay-as-you-go mobile Wi-Fi 

With this Vodafone pay-as-you-go mobile Wi-Fi dongle you'll have a Wi-Fi hotspot in your pocket. Great if you have a tablet that doesn't have 3G or 4G, and for when you want to get online to find out some information in a place with no public Wi-Fi connection. 

However, accessing the web from overseas can be expensive. It's a good idea to opt-in to a pre-purchased data package, giving you a daily amount of data that you've already paid for. 

Tech sorted, now where to go?

Now you have the tech sorted, which city break should you go on? Below we have listed the top 10 European destinations as highlighted in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travellers' Choice awards.

1. Istanbul, Turkey

2.  Rome, Italy

3. London, England

4. Prague, Czech Republic

5. Paris, France

6. Berlin, Germany

7. Florence, Italy

8. Barcelona, Spain

9. St Petersburg, Russia

10. Budapest, Hungary

Where will you go and which gadgets will you take? Let us know in the comments below…