So much about traveling is beyond your control: delayed flights, too-small seats, poor service, annoying passengers, traffic jams, pre-packaged meals (or none at all)... the list is endless. Why not tune out some of the aggravation with some of the newest gadgets?
Wireless readers - Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Digital Reader Book store paper books and other traditional print media electronically, giving you instant access to thousands of books, newspapers, magazines, blogs and more. (www.amazon.com and www.sony.com) It can’t hurt to carry a paperback just in case, though.
GPS - The Garmin Nuvi 770 Widescreen GPS Automotive Navigation System remembers where you parked in the crowded parking garage! It marks your position when you take it from the windshield mount and start walking. It’s also got traffic news, trans-Atlantic maps, hands-free calling and built-in microphone. (www.actiongps.com)
Chargers - A new charging pad by WildCharge caught the attention of Today travel editor Peter Greeberg, who wrote that this flat, thin pad instantly starts charging your cell phone as soon as the phone is resting on the pad. This wire-free device can charge lots of cell phones, even MP3 phones. (www.Wildcharge.com)
RoadTrip Blender - A how-did-we-live-without-this entry to the world of the road warrior, this gadget can mix up to 30 pitchers of margaritas before you need to recharge it from your vehicle’s lighter. A full charge lasts 10 hours. Great for camping too. (www.coleman.com)
Digital audio video player - A new gadget, the Go Gear Flash, is a tiny 4GB player that lets you watch videos for up to four hours, with MP3/WMA technology and FM radio. It stores up to 1,800 songs, 3,800 photos and/or 12 hours of video, Greenberg says. (www.consumer.philips.com)
Portable photo printer - In less than 60 seconds, the Digital Instant Mobile Printer by Polaroid can produce a 2-by-3 inch photos, pulling the images from any Bluetooth-enabled camera. (www.polaroid.com).
Solar power - Going somewhere exotic, where a power outlet may not be readily available? Voltaic Systems offers a laptop bag covered in solar panels, which can power three hours of iPod time or 1.5 hours of cell phone talk with one hour in direct sunlight. (www.voltaicsystems.com)
Gear management - Where to put all these gadgets? Try this travel vest with multiple hidden pockets and wire-running conduits for ear-bud and headphone cords. Unobtrusively stash your iPod, cell phone, flash drive, voice recorder, camera, you name it. (www.scottevest.com)
If you want to limit yourself to the essentials, consider the advice of Pauline Frommer, travel writer and daughter of Arthur of Europe on 5 Dollars a Day fame. She travels a lot, she travels light (she never checks luggage), and she travels cheaply. She told the (San Jose) Mercury News that her backpack contains her MAC laptop, a Treo, her Garmin GPS system (see above), a digital tape recorder and chargers.