One of the most difficult decisions before leaving home at any time of year is deciding what digital devices to bring along on the trip. My laptop or just the iPad? My iPad and my iPhone? My digital camera or just my iPhone? Then there are all the chargers and the surge protector with extra USB ports that I now bring along.
This summer I discovered one more digital device that I cannot live without when we travel — a tiny JAM bluetooth speaker that has big sound and darn good quality. About the same size as the small plastic drinking glass that I bring along when I am not in hotels and weighing not much more, this speaker connects with my laptop or iPad or iPhone (doesn’t matter which devices I decide to bring or not bring).
With my JAM speaker I can listen to my music on my devices or use the Tune-in app and stream any radio station that I like — in my case classical music radio from anywhere in the world. As of now I am not a big fan of music streaming services, but JAM broadcasts whatever a digital device is playing as long as the gadget can be paired with the bluetooth speaker.
At home I listen to music on a Sonos Play I wireless system. We have three wifi-connected speakers around the house, purchased after lots of homework. Our final Sonos decision was made after reading this New York Times article. Yet the Sonos system, while super-easy to install and portable — and it puts the orchestra right in the room with me — is burdensome to travel with and a bit of a hassle to reprogram for each different room it uses.
I did not do much research when I bought my JAM. I simply read lots of speaker reviews on several websites and chose based on what I read. It cost less than $25.
My itty-bitty JAM fits in a corner pocket of my suitcase or even in my purse. I simply get it out, charge it with the USB cable for an hour, pair it with the device that I am using and, voilà, I can listen to several hours of music. Jam announces when it pairs and when it needs more charge. Besides traveling I can use it on the porch, in the back yard (even when I am weeding the garden), and on picnics.
My great summer device discovery has brought enormous pleasure to our travels and summer activities.