A Smooth Vacation Powered by Travel Tech
Before you hit the road (or air) this summer, remember that the right tech can make travel much more pleasant.
We've collected convenient tech products for charging your tech, gizmos for keeping the kids out of your hair, cool cameras and photo accessories for capturing key moments, and more.
Let's start with a memory card designed to download images from your digital camera automatically.
Eye-Fi Connect X2 Memory Card
When you're snapping photos of the family on vacation with your digital camera, the last thing on your mind is how much space you have on your memory card--which can lead to serious disappointment when the camera's "no vacancy" sign lights up.
Enter the Eye-Fi 4GB Connect X2 Memory Card, which automatically uploads your photos and videos to your computer via a Wi-Fi connection.
It can also automatically connect directly to about 25 media websites, including Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa.
Jawbone Jambox Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Soaking up the sun at the beach or in the park? Want some serious music? The Jawbone Jambox lets you take your tunes with you, packing powerful audio in a stylish box design.
The 2.7-pound Jambox connects to any Bluetooth device, letting you stream audio from music, movies, and any other media you may want to enjoy on the go.
Jawbone says that the boom box provides up to 15 hours of continuous play on each full charge.
Jawbone Jambox | $199
Coffee Cup Power Inverter
Give the electronic devices that you take with you on your driving vacation an energy boost with the Coffee Cup Power Inverter.
Though it looks like a coffee cup, the Power Inverter features two AC plugs and a USB port for charging as many as three gadgets simultaneously. It fits perfectly in standard car cup holders.
Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter
Keep small groups of people entertained on this summer's road trip with the Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter.
This interesting splitter allows up to five people listen in to the same music from an MP3 player at the same time. It also works with DVD players--helpful if parents want to drive in peace and let the kids listen to the Lion King for the hundredth time on their own private headphones.
This Belkin YouTube video explains in more detail how the splitter works.
GoPro HD Hero2
If your summer vacation plans include outdoor sports and activities, consider documenting them with this clever sports camera.
The mountable GoPro HD Hero 2 is waterproof to a depth of 197 feet, and it can capture full 170-degree wide-angle 1080p video.
The camera also can shoot 11-megapixel photos at a burst rate of 10 photos per second, enabling you to capture your adventures while they're still in progress.
GoPro HD Hero2 | $300
Belkin Wireless Dual Band Travel Router
If you’re tired of relying on shaky public Wi-Fi, take matters into your own hands with this Belkin Wireless Dual Band Travel Router.
Perfect for a hotel room or a coffee shop with slow bandwidth, this router lets you create your own high speed Wi-Fi connection for privately connecting all your devices. It also fits into a small travel bag so it's easy to carry with you.
The MotoMount for iPad is perfect for entertaining your kids on long road trips.
Use this mounting system to attach your iPad to the back of one of your car's front-seat headrests, and let the backseat passengers enjoy all the movies and games they want.
iPad MotoMount | $6
Olloclip iPhone Camera Lens
The Olloclip iPhone camera lens is the best way to take full advantage of the camera on your iPhone 4 or 4S while on vacation.
This small lens slides over the iPhone's rear camera, and you can adjust it to fisheye, wide-angle, or macro mode to enhance your vacation photos.
Android owners can find similar lenses for their phones at Photojojo.com.
Freeloader Pico Solar Charger
A vacation can be the most frustrating time to have your devices run out of juice. The Freeloader Pico Solar Charger allows you to charge your devices when you can't get to an outlet.
First you charge the Freeloader (warning: the device takes between 3 and 10 hours to charge completely). Then it transfers that power (in just 30 minutes or so) to your phone, iPod, GPS, or other device.
You also can power the Pico from a PC or a laptop on rainy days.
Roku 2 XS
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, you'll be glad you have a way to entertain everyone who's stuck indoors at Grandma's house--and the only thing Grandma has to supply is Wi-Fi.
Using the Wi-Fi, the Roku 2 XS can stream dozens of Internet video services, including Netflix and Hulu Plus, to most high-definition and standard-definition TVs. It also includes a cool motion controller for gaming, and it comes with Angry Birds preloaded. Let's just hope that, its name notwithstanding, it doesn't "rock you to excess."
Roku 2 XS | $96
If you have the cash to spend, the BladeFish Seajet could be the ultimate companion for your family's next snorkeling adventure.
The Seajet propels you at a modest 2.5 mph--fast enough for a leisurely (and relatively effortless) tour of a coral reef. BladeFish says that the charge on this lightweight rechargeable sea scooter lasts for up to 40 minutes.
BladeFish Seajet | $466
Image: Courtesy of Firebox.com
SiPix Pocket Printer A6
Work has a way of finding you, even when you're on vacation. If you occasionally have to print something out while traveling, you may find the SiPix Pocket Printer A6 quite useful.
The A6 uses thermal printing technology to print documents without using any ink. Just make sure that you have the A6 and some sheets of SiPix thermal paper ($5 for 100 sheets) with you, and you'll be all set.
SiPix Pocket Printer A6 | $35
Bonus: Three Useful Roadtrip Apps
iExit: Want to know what's at the end of an off-ramp before you get there? The iExit Interstate Exit Guide app, available for $1 for iOS (for a limited time at this price) and free (for a limited time) for Android, lets you check to see what restaurants, stores, and restrooms are at each exit ahead of you, so you can plan your trip accordingly.
iOnRoad: Available for free for Android devices, this driver safety app monitors the road and warns you if you get too close to the vehicle ahead of you. Perfect for overnight drives when the rest of the family is fast asleep.