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2008 in Review: Innovative Gadgets for Travelers‏

Technology + Gear
by Jessica Jacobson Jan 3, 2009
From mini camcorders to lightweight electronic readers, here are some devices (electronic and non-electronic, new and old) that appealed to avid travelers in 2008.

Every year new inventions make travel a little easier and more enjoyable. Here are seven gadgets that were geared towards travelers in 2008.

1. Pure Digital Flip Mino

To really convey your travel adventures, some live action shots are necessary. Your camera may not offer the video quality you are looking for, but carrying around a standard camcorder adds weight, as well as expense.

The Flip Mino offers good performance and easy of use in a compact package – only 3.9 inches long by 2 inches wide and 0.6 inches deep. The 2 GB memory holds one hour of recordings, easily downloadable via USB port. The 640 x 480 pixel resolution is good for its size.

While larger video cameras can offer superior quality, this camera is a good option on the road when size and ability to start filming quickly are key. Its lithium ion battery lasts for four hours. The camera’s main draw is ease of use – Flip it on, then push a button to film. Push the same button to stop.

You can pull it out of your pocket and record within moments. The Flip Mino allows travelers to capture the sounds and movements of a place – details that a photo alone can’t convey.

2. Fujitsu Lifebook U820 Mini Notebook

If you are like me, you don’t want to give up the functionality of a computer while traveling neither do you want to carry all that extra weight. Take it all with you in a mere 1.5 pounds with the Fujitsu Lifebook U820.

This wonder converts from a standard computer with a keyboard to a tablet PC, allowing you to jot notes with a pen directly onto the screen. The full-feature notebook has Microsoft Office, Bluetooth and wireless capabilities, a built-in webcam to stay connected with friends and family, and a built-in GPS receiver to help navigate.

120 GB of hard drive space provides room to store files, photos and music and its excellent battery life allows for hours of work away from power supplies. The computer fits easily into a small portion of a backpack or purse.

While its 5.6-inch screen and small keyboard take some adjustment, the amazing capacity offered in such a tiny package makes it well worth the investment.

3. Amazon Kindle

Gone are the days of lugging around several guidebooks and worrying about finding reading material in English overseas. Now you can pack all you might want to read within one device.

While the first version was released in late 2007, 2008 was the year the public began to accept the idea of an electronic reader. An updated version is expected in early 2009.

Keep all the information about the place you are visiting handy in one device.

Should you forget a book, download it wirelessly from any location with Internet access.

4. iPod Touch 2.0

Every traveler can use an iPod for access to music, podcasts or audiobooks during waits at airports, bus and train rides and border crossings.

Lightweight and inconspicuous, except for the headphones, it’s a travel gadget that can be enjoyed without attracting a lot of attention.

The iPod touch adds a wi-fi connection, allowing travelers to do research, find information and directions and send emails on the road at any hotspot locations.

The four ounce weight doesn’t add much bulk to your luggage.

5. Pelican Micro Cases

I first came across these cases, or dry boxes, while rafting in Panama and entrusted my digital camera to it.

Miraculously, it remained dry despite our boat flipping and waves crashing over us.

Micro cases are intended for cell phones, PDAs, small cameras and memory sticks.

In addition to rapids, the boxes will withstand temperatures of -10 degrees to 200 degrees and up to 5,000 pounds.

The hard cases are covered by an unconditional lifetime guarantee, barring damage by shark bite, bear attack or children under five.

6. Sea to Summit Pocket Shower

A water bottle can do wonders for washing when no facilities are available. But when you are out in the back country nothing can compare to a relaxing warm shower.

The Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is a leakproof polyurethane-coated nylon fabric that holds ten gallons of water.

The shower head can be turned to control water pressure, allowing a good seven minutes of showering.

You can add hot water to the bag, or hang it up to allow the black color to absorb heat from the sun.

7. Gogo Kidz Toddler Adapter

Anyone who has traveled with small children knows how much kiddie equipment can load them down.

Go Go Babyz makes an array of convenient products that turn infant and toddler carseats into rolling pieces, eliminating the need for a stroller and making airport travel a breeze.

Debuting in 2008 was the toddler adapter which turns a toddler carseat into a four-wheeled stroller.

Which other gadgets do you think were geared towards travelers in 2008? Which ones were your favorites? Tell us below.

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