Friday, May 9, 2008

Travel Gadgets

I have travel on the mind, as I'm set to go on a business trip next week that will entail a rather long flight. This got me to thinking: what are the essential items that one should always have with him when traveling? I've written on this very topic for here's how! magazine, and you can read my article from last year here (click on the link to open the PDF file); or stay tuned to the upcoming issue of here's how! magazine for some more travel gadget ideas. But for now, I thought I'd run down a short list of gadgets that I recommend for any trip.

Noise-canceling headphones: If you're headed out on a plane, whether the flight's an hour or 10, I highly recommend investing in a pair of these babies. They can make the difference between an enjoyable flight and an aggravating one (as can sitting in the middle row bunched between two people!) My personal choice is the Bose QuietComfort 3s, but there are plenty of really neat ones on the market today. (Stayed tuned to here's how! for a review of a few of the latest models.)

Universal power adapter: If you're traveling internationally, a good idea is to grab a universal power adapter that includes all the necessary sockets for plugging in your gadgets from the hotel room or home you'll be staying in.

Mobile phone: Before packing up your mobile phone, check with your carrier on international roaming coverage. The last thing you'd want is to travel all the way somewhere and then find out your mobile won't work! Alternatively, you can rent a local phone and SIM card in most countries.

Digital camera: Fun or business, it doesn't matter. You need to bring along a digital camera to capture your memories. If you're a leisure snapshooter, grab a point-and-shoot model, and if you're going somewhere hot and tropical, where you know you'll be hitting the beach a lot, opt for a waterproof (not water-resistant) model, like the Olympus SW1030. If you want to take along a digital SLR, make sure to bring a sturdy and protective case you can use for carry-on, as well as one you'll want to walk around with. There are tons of options available.

Computer: Whether I'm traveling on business or for fun, I always bring my computer with me. If your travel is just for fun and you own a smartphone with e-mail and Web access, this will likely suffice for your needs. BlackBerry is typically the de facto standard, but I'm also a big fan of the Samsung JACK. And then, of course, there's the iPhone...whenever it comes to Canada.

Magazines, Books, Digital Readers: Flights can be boring, and it's often hit-and-miss with the movies that are provided. I'll usually bring along a novel, plus a few magazines. I just saw Sony's new Digital Reader Book at the company's dealer show in Toronto, and that's a pretty nifty option as well if you're looking for something small and portable. It can hold a couple hundred e-books, and is designed to mimic a real paperback as best as possible with a flap-over case, greyscale font, and a screen with no backlight.

Portable audio/video player: Even if you don't listen to tunes or watch portable video on a flight, you never know when you might be stuck in an airport for hours because of a layover or some other unforeseen circumstance. These gadgets are so small these days, it's almost a no-brainer to load one up with content and pack it up in your carry-on should you need it. I usually bring along a SanDisk Sansa player, and this time, I'm going to try watching some video using the new Nokia N95 mobile phone.

It's probably hard to believe that this is just a "short" list of gadgets. Typically, my carry-on is ALL gadgets. But believe it or not, they're all put to good use.

[Photo: Using Sony's new Digital Reader Book, you can purchase digital copies of paperback books for about 20-30% less than the paper versions, load them up on the device, and read to your heart's content on a plane or train.]

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1 comment:

Linda said...

I always take an MP3 player when I travel too. My favorite one is the newer Fuze from Sansa. I just bought it a month ago from with a code and ended up getting it for a really great price. This player rocks. You should try it out. I makes a great travel companion.