Although we all try to ditch our cell phones, BlackBerries, notebook computers, etc., and get some quality time in the sun, the constant itch for technology seems too hard to scratch.
Regardless of all the passport confusion and the headache-inducing airport security, summertime traveling is still one of America's favorite pastimes.
If you're ramping up for a nice long vacation, getting away for the weekend, or just trying to drown out the crying kid in the seat next to you, here are some tension-easing gadgets that will help you to kick back and relax.
1. BlackBerry Pearl: This eye-catching super phone does it all. It's smaller than older BlackBerry models but packs a mighty punch. Along with standard cell phone functions such as text messaging, Bluetooth compatibility and a web browser, the phone also offers e-mail, a media player, organizing applications and more. For shutterbugs and photo enthusiasts, the sleek device includes a digital camera that produces 1.3-megapixel pictures, perfect for sending vacation snapshots to friends and family members. If black isn't your color of choice, the new BlackBerry Pearl also comes in white and red. Prices vary, but the Pearl can be purchased for as low as $199. See your wireless provider for details and availability.
2. Linx Audio Headphones: Everyone's experienced sitting next to someone whose music was so loud that you could hear everything coming out of the headphones. Not only is it annoying to those in close range, but it can't be healthy for the users hearing.
Problem solved. Able Planet's headphones use noise-canceling technology to suppress airplane sounds by enhancing quality and speech clarity. The advances allow users to hear audio at lower volumes, which helps to preserve hearing. The technology heightens the perception of loudness without having to turn up the volume.
Lisa Deutch, a representative for Able Planet, said that the company has received a lot of great press and positive responses from users.
"Link Audio was originally developed for a new generation of top-of-the-line hearing aids," she said. "Then, it was discovered that the technology could alter the audio signal to enhance sound quality for people with normal hearing, as well as provide optimal sound clarity for hearing loss."
Not only do users approve of the product, so does the staff at Able Planet.
"We all use them in the office, on the road, at NASCAR events and in airplanes," she said.
Able Planet's noise-canceling headphones are available at www.ableplanet.com for $299.99.
3. Pure Digital! disposable cameras: Camcorders and digital cameras can be pretty pricey nowadays, and hard to keep an eye on when traveling or packing. Pure Digital! has created an inexpensive (under $30) disposable digital video camcorder small enough to fit in your pocket, purse or beach bag. The new device will capture up to 20 minutes of color video and sound, and allows users to delete whatever they don't like.
When you've taken all the shots, take the camcorder in to one of the 9,500 participating retailers. Once processed, the camcorder is replaced by a DVD for use on a computer or in a DVD player. The DVD also contains software that will allow you to e-mail the video clips or combine multiple clips into a movie.
Also from Pure Digital! is a disposable digital camera that holds 25 high-resolution 4x6 color photos. The device includes a preview and delete feature and can be purchased for under $20. Users will receive a photo CD and an index of all their pictures. The camera also includes a self-timer, automatic flash and red-eye removal.
According to Jamie Simmons, a CommStrat representative for Pure Digital!, the quality of the camera is less than those that are over $100, but it is still a great product for a very reasonable price.
"Because it is so inexpensive, it is often used as table-toppers at wedding receptions. For vacationers, it's perfect for the beach or hiking, or anytime a bulky and expensive camcorder is better left at home," she said.
These products are now available at over 4,500 CVS pharmacies nationwide (as well as many other locations). Those vacationing can drop them off for processing, wander about town seeing the sights, and pop back in to pick up their pics later.
For more information on both gadgets, check out www.puredigitalinc.com.
4. Freestyle Audio Sport MP3 Player: For those living an active lifestyle, an MP3 player is probably almost as important as a cell phone. But with most iPods or MP3 players, the delicacy factor is too high and durability too low.
Hikers, surfers, swimmers, or even klutzy partiers, listen up. Freestyle Audio has created a product with durable technology that's waterproof and designed for physical activity. Not only is this MP3 player safe when submersed in up to 10 feet of water, it's buoyant, holds up to 320 songs and weighs less than 1.3 oz. -- all for as low as $100.
For more information, check out www.freestyleaudio.com.
5. Magellan Crossover GPS: Wonder what it's like to be King (or Queen) of the Road? Waterproof, pocket-sized and lightweight (8.5 oz.), this miniature Global Positioning System navigates roads, oceans, trails, lakes and more, making sure you'll never get lost. The device has a color touch screen menu with easy-to-read graphics, turn-by-turn voice guidance, upgradeable real time traffic updates, an MP3 player, photo viewer and much, much more. For $399.99, you can get one at www.magellangps.com.
6. iGo Juice 70: With all the technology around today, having too many cords is always a hassle, especially when traveling. Who really wants to lug around all the chargers and extra baggage?
This product comes with various extensions, tips and a small carrying case, so you can charge all your gadgets with just one charger. It also has an airplane and lighter adapter to make sure you're always connected. This juicer, which costs $119.99, can be found at www.igo.com.
Don't let technology weigh you down. Be travel savvy this summer, keep your mind clear, your baggage light and save the stress for the Monday morning back at work.
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