My nomination for the gadget of the year awards: the portable wifi thingy.
Last year, when I was in New Zealand, I bought a vodafone portable wifi thingy for $100, or so. I used it for the 3.5 weeks we were travelling and it meant that my wife and I (and sometimes our kids) could use our phones, laptops, and ipads and so forth, pretty much whenever and where ever we wanted, at a very low cost. A low cost, that is, compared to paying for wifi in hotels or paying the extortionate roaming fees on our phones. And - more important than I initially thought - it's got it's own battery, so it doesn't drain my mobile.
Then, last July, we spent 2 or 3 weeks in Wexford Ireland, and I used the wifi thingy to internet-enable our hotel, car, and holiday home. Our holiday home was next to the beach and I got faster download speeds, sometimes, than I did at home.
And, now, I'm back in New Zealand for another 3.5 weeks and - guess what? - I'm using the portable wifi thingy AGAIN. In fact, I'm using it now. And, I've used it dozens of times while travelling around the UK.