I’m not a fan of checking bags at the airport. If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on, as a general rule it will not be coming with me on vacation.
With that in mind, I have a very simple plan when it comes to choosing the tech to take on a trek: select items that multitask.
The most useful gadget for any trip is an i-Pod or MP3 player. Not only does it keep your music all in one small, compact place, it can eliminate the need for those cumbersome books and travel guides.
Check out the website Audible.com. This site has hundreds of books on tape, or, rather, books on Pod, for you to download. Bestsellers like The Da Vinci Code and even self help and fitness selections like The Abs Diet. Good stuff, and your suitcase is much lighter already.
There are also many audio tours available for download now, for places ranging from Rome to Las Vegas to Cancun. These are narrated tours of cities and landmarks that can be stored on your i-Pod. Try Audiotoursonline.com. I particularly like the Disneyland tour, narrated by Walt Disney himself. It’s very retro.
Next, unless you have an unhealthy obsession with your laptop and can’t stand the thought of even one night away from it’s soft, blue glow, leave it at home! The only thing you would really need it for on a quick vacation is uploading your photos from a digital camera. There are much more compact ways to do that.
Try a photo storage unit. Sony makes one called the HDD, and you can check out the review at the the-gadgeteer.com. This is just one of several like it on the market, with prices ranging from around $149 to upwards of $700, depending on storage capacity and speed, etc.
They are plug and play devices, perfect for even a technophobe. You just plug the camera into the device, which is usually small enough to hold in one hand and light enough to put in your purse, and away you go. When you come back to your beloved laptop again, you can just plug that storage device into the computer, and all those photos will be ready to print.
Finally, for the guy or gal who has everything, consider an all-in-one device. The Motorola MPX is an MP3 player, a cell phone, and a camera—talk about packing light! That’s my style.
But at over $900, it isn’t exactly my budget.