Which Gadgets Should I Bring With Me On Vacation?

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Kid in the backseat of car

Nerd Chick Adventures: An Essential Packing list for your Summer Vacation.

Whether you dream of lounging on the beach with a margarita and a good book or prefer the thought of trailblazing through the rain forest, vacations can be a great opportunity to unplug from technology. However, we’ve tracked down some gadgets that can make your trip even better. From ensuring that you never lose power to your handheld electronics, to keeping the troops entertained on an eight-hour plane trip, let us take you from, “Ahhh! No WiFi?!” to “Ahhhh serenity!”

If the thought of going off the grid makes you more tense than tranquil, have no fear. The MiFi 2200 is a device roughly the size of a business card that will give you Internet access for up to five devices anywhere you have a cell signal. You can get this card through most cell carriers, but we prefer the pay-as-you-go option provided by Virgin Mobile . It retails the MiFi for approximately $150, and there is no contract like with other carriers. You can sign up for unlimited broadband for the month you need it ($50/month), and let it lapse when you don’t. Feel free to ignore your inbox without missing out on your Facebook updates.

FUN QUOTE: “Babies don’t need a vacation but I still see them at the beach. I’ll go over to them and say, ‘What are you doing here, you’ve never worked a day in your life!’.

— Stephen Wright

These days, relaxation invariably involves some kind of handheld electronic device. Nothing can put a kink in your poolside sunbathing like a dead iPod or Kindle. Allow us to introduce the XeMilo, a solar powered universal battery charger. It can charge two devices at once and is powerful enough to juice up even a tablet PC or iPad. Trust us, this is no small feat! While the XeMilo will put you back $100, never having to fear being stuck in the car with two kids and a dead DVD player is truly priceless.

how to entertain my kids in the car

While we are on the topic of being stuck in the car with the kids, it’s a good time to mention that the I Pad
can take the place of many of your portable electronics while on the road. You can store movies and music for a long car or plane trip and the screen is large enough to share with your spouse or kids — providing you can agree on the movie! Weighing in at less than 2 pounds, zipping through airport security has never been easier. If you happen to be taking a solo getaway without the kids, the iPad’s built in Facetime function will allow you to stay connected via video chat on any WiFi capable Apple device you choose to leave at home with them. If all you need to do in a pinch is answer a few emails or look up a restaurant recommendation, the iPad can absolutely replace your heavier and bulkier laptop. Installing an eReader application (we like Amazon’s Kindle app) will allow you to leave the stack of paperbacks at home, further simplifying your carry-on packing.

Whether you’re snorkeling in Hawaii or hiking in the Grand Canyon, you’re going to want to capture some moments so you can relive them when you’re back in the office and your tan has faded. We’ve yet to find an HD video and still camera available for under $100 that can rival the GE DV1 HD Camcorder in function or durability. Waterproof, shockproof and sand proof, this little guy is the size of a cellphone so can slip easily in your pocket and is up for whatever adventures you have in mind. It’s available through Amazon for around $95, and comes in several snazzy colors from citrus orange to lime green. Video and picture quality are not as good as you can get with a $300 to $400 camera, and there is no flash so it won’t work well in low light. However, at this price point, it’s worth not risking your pricier camcorder or Smartphone while you dangle from that zip line in Costa Rica.

If you’re heart-set on taking your Smartphone along for the ride, consider investing in an Otter Box Defender Case “Defender case for your phone or handheld electronic device  It won’t allow you to take it swimming with the dolphins, but at $49.95 for most Smartphones you can rest assured that shocks, drops and dust won’t sideline your phone for the remainder of your trip. Wherever you take your tech this summer, we wish you happy trails!

If we didn’t find a gadget to address your travel tech quandary post us a comment, and tell us about your favorite vacation gadget.

Drop us a note on Facebook facebook.com/nerdsoncall or email us at nerdchick@callnerds.com.

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