Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Must Have Travel Gadgets + Tips.

As the weather gets nicer here are some travel musts for your getaway.


Mobile Hotspot

There is nothing more frustrating than bringing your laptop or tablet somewhere and not having wi-fi access avails. Take matters in to your own hands with a mobile hotspot. This can be obtained a few different ways. If you have a newer smartphone, iPhone4, Evo, Droid X, etc. you probably have the capability to turn on a mobile hotspot in your settings. Its around $20 extra a month and typically can connect up to 5 devices. And it of course allows you to set your password for access. It's worth it since hotels cost around $10-$15 for wi-fi and are usually slow and unsecure anyhow. If you don’t have a mobile hotspot option think about purchasing a Mifi hotspot. Its about the size of a credit card and is available from most cell carriers. The initial cost is a bit pricey (around $269 without contract or $50 with 2-year contract) but if you travel a lot or can get a write off from work it's probably worth it!


Kind of the obvious one but hey for two day travel trips couldn’t make more sense to swap out that bulky laptop. Plus, with a $5 download of iMovie you can make a quick vid of your trip and share instantly! Here is a pic of me and my sis on vacation for a few days. I not only used my iPad2 for work connectivity but also to stay in touch with the rest of our family on FaceTime.

Underwater Goggles / Scuba Mask

Remember how fun it was to have an instant camera with underwater capabilities? Now, you can really kick it up a notch with HD underwater goggles and scuba masks. Liquid Image brings the only dive masks with both underwater video and 5MP stills with an easy to access shutter button. Plus an LED light inside to let you know if you are in recording mode and microSD slot for 16GB expandable memory.


Google Translate, Free

Awesome for international travel - easily translate speech straight to your devices. You can type or speak entries for instant translation and also save previous entries. Translates over 50 languages.

Postage ~ Postcards, $1.99 - $4.99

Remember when you sent a postcard from vacation and it would get there three weeks later - now, ditch the delay. Postage allows you to create customized e-postcards with your photos and share via email, Facebook, Twitter. Change effects like sepia, black and white or glow effects. Change font or theme background. Earn instant vacation envy from friends.

AroundMe, Free

Uses your cell's GPS to quickly locate hotels, ATMs, coffees, gas stations, etc. within close distance.

A few other tips.

Take advantage of travel packages on websites. It was only until recently that I started using these on sites like Orbitz and Southwest. By booking hotel, rental car and flight all at once I saved $500 on one particular Vegas trip. You can even save by booking just two of the three together.

Rethink taking a hotel towel. A lot of hotels are using RFID tags on both towels and bathrobes to ensure people aren’t stealing them. (So much in fact that one hotel has reported saving $16,000 a month). So probably best to go ahead and not take anything home… that phone call would be mighty embarrassing and you would earn your Karma paying for the shipping back too. Click here for full NYTimes Article.

Why I use Orbitz. I've been using Orbitz.com for far too many years and mainly because they have a 24 hr cancellation policy. Not many people know about this. If I see a flight that has a good deal and its a "Last day at this price" - I'm not afraid to snag it and cancel if needed.

Rental Insurance. If you don't have car insurance (like many of us New Yorkers without cars) rental insurance can be pricey! Well, you might already have rental protection on one of your credit cards. Example, for $24.95 total I am completely covered for every day of a rental (no matter the length of trip) as long as I use a specific credit card I own. It would be more than that a day if I purchased insurance from the rental car place.

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