Twelve for the road
Don't forget the tech when you make your summer trek. Our gallivanting gadget guru picks a carload of the best new travel gear, from a lightweight laptop to iPod accessories.
(Fortune Magazine) -- A century age high-tech travel meant a horseless carriage or steamship and a postcard that arrived home long after the traveler did.
These days - with regularly scheduled tourist rocket flights into space scheduled to begin by the end of the decade - technology is a constant travel companion.
A laptop computer connects to the Internet to communicate via e-mail and instant messaging with friends and loved ones. It finds hotel and restaurant recommendations and makes reservations. It stores digital photos and posts them, along with your travelogue musings, to your personal blog for all to see. But beyond PCs, we've found a gaggle of gadgets guaranteed to make your road trip more fun. Turn the page for our picks.
1 Garmin GPSmap 60CSx handheld mapping system
The folks on the TV show Lost obviously forgot to bring along a Garmin (Charts) GPSmap 60CSx global positioning satellite handheld receiver ($535.70). A must-have for serious hikers, boaters, and the just plain directionally challenged, the 60CSx locks onto satellites quickly, offers turn-by-turn directions and precise elevations, and shows accurate compass readings and orientation even when the user is standing still. It also has an SD card slot for optional topographical and city street maps. garmin.com
2 Uniden GMR 1588-2CK two-way radios
Whether you're hiking through the mountains or taking a two-car caravan down the Interstate, a set of two-way handheld radios keeps families in touch. Uniden's General Mobile Radio (GMR) 1588-2CK walkie-talkies ($60 a pair) transmit up to 15 miles, using 22 channels and voice scrambling for privacy. uniden.com
3 Bose QuietComfort 3 noise-canceling acoustic headphones
Bose's noise-canceling headphones are favored by frequent air travelers for their ability to filter out engine noise without cranking up the volume to ear-shattering levels. With the new QuietComfort 3 headphones ($349), Bose has managed to pack the same exquisite sound quality and noise-canceling circuitry into a smaller, more travel-friendly design, which includes a new rechargeable battery. bose.com
4 Philips PET320 portable DVD player
Keeping kids entertained in the back seat is easier with Philips's PET320 ($130), a one-pound portable DVD player with a built-in 3.5-inch LCD display screen. We would have preferred a wide-screen format, but kids probably won't mind. philips.com
5 Otterbox iPod case and H20 Audio waterproof headphones
You love your Apple iPod. So why do you abuse it so? Protect your precious little gizmo against shocks, scratches, and splashes with an Otterbox iPod case ($20 to $50, depending on the iPod model). You can even take it swimming with a set of waterproof H2O Audio headphones ($40). otterbox.com; h2oaudio.com
6 Fujitsu LifeBook Q2010 ultraportable computer
Fujitsu's (Charts) new LifeBook Q2010 is less than an inch thick and weighs just 2.2 pounds, a traveler's dream. Gorgeously styled, with titanium and magnesium materials for strength, the Intel (Charts) Core Solo--based Q2010 ($2,000 to $3,200, depending on configuration) has a 12.1-inch LCD display, a 30- to 80-gigabyte hard drive, up to one gigabyte of RAM, a biometric fingerprint security scanner, and Wi-Fi wireless networking. An optional docking station ($500) adds a DVD-CD optical drive. shopfujitsu.com
7 Altec Lansing inMotion iM9 portable iPod speakers
Described by its maker as the SUV of portable audio speakers, Altec Lansing's shock-resistant iM9 ($200, iPod not included) is the ideal travel companion for your Apple iPod. alteclansing.com
8 APC UPB10 Mobile Power Pack
About the size and weight of a deck of cards, APC's Mobile Power Pack ($70) provides an extra 50 hours of playing time for your iPod or a full day of backup power for your BlackBerry, digital camera, cellphone, or other USB-based device. apc.com
9 Voltaic solar-power backpack
You'll get a charge out of the solar-power bags made by Voltaic Systems. The comfortable and rugged backpack we tested ($239) has three rugged solar panels (in silver, green, orange, or charcoal) that revitalize the batteries in cellphones, cameras, MP3 players, and other small devices. (Sorry, there's not enough juice to run a laptop.) Excess power is stored in a built-in lithium-ion battery pack, where it's saved for a rainy day. voltaicsystems.com
10 Sony DCR-DVD505 Handycam video camcorder
By recording directly to a standard blank DVD disc, Sony's (Charts) DVD505 camcorder ($1,100) makes it easy to enjoy and share your vacation movies. Just pop out the disc and plug it into a DVD player or PC drive. The camcorder uses a 10X Carl Zeiss zoom lens and has a 3.5-inch swing-out LCD display. It's also a four-megapixel digital still camera. sonystyle.com
11 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2 digital camera
Sony's new six-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-H2 ($399) finds the happy middle ground, offering a 12X Carl Zeiss optical zoom lens, image stabilization, and other big-camera features in a small package. sonystyle.com
12 RaySat StealthRay two-way satellite antenna
For the family with everything, including $36,000, RaySat has an antenna that delivers two-way broadband Internet and live TV to a moving vehicle. RaySat aims at commercial users but will make an exception for the random multimillionaire. raysat.com