Don’t Leave on your Holiday Trip
without These Gadgets
I’m going to treat you like an adult and assume there are things you already know to bring: cell phone charger, GPS, camera memory card, your kids (maybe). Here’s a list of things that aren’t quite so obvious, but are almost guaranteed to make your trip run a little smoother.
With more travelers choosing to drive rather than fly this holiday season, having an onboard diagnostic tool can only be a good thing. For about $100 CarMD will plug into your vehicle’s OBD 2 port to read the status of your vehicle and offer advice for any hiccups it finds.
Portable Wireless Router
There are few different portable routers out there, with different subscription rates and ranges. Some are available from carriers, like Verizon's MiFi 3G router and soon to be available, LTE 4G routers as well as Sprint's WiMAX version. Autonet Mobile's CarFi docking station plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and uses one of the 3G networks to turn your vehicle into a moving Wi-Fi hotspot for anywhere from $29 - $59 a month depending on how much data you need to transfer.

*Tip: Always remember to backup your data onto an external hard drive before leaving home; losing your laptop is a sure way to ruin Christmas.

Computer to TV Cable
Depending on your hardware, this will be an HDMI, S-video cable, composite or component cable, or even an old VGA cable. They come in quite handy for a variety of reasons – the obligatory nostalgic slide/video show, streaming the new episode of Glee that you missed because Grandpa insisted on watching football, or keeping a roomful of kids entertained with YouTube and LOLcats.
Noise Cancelling Headphones

They should change the name to Sanity Preserving Headphones. By definition the holidays are going to include your family members… lots of them… and their children… do you see where I’m going with this? Do your research though, because while most can be used as regular headphones when the circuitry is cut off, there are some that cannot.

Portable Games

There are so many options out there for handheld gaming consoles, that there’s no excuse for not being able to entertain yourself on a long drive. Even if systems like the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP aren’t your style, there’s a ton of electronic Sudoku, Crossword, and general puzzle games to keep you diverted. In addition to the physical handhelds, there are a ton of game apps for mobile phones. See Retrevo’s article on some of the best of those apps.

Portable Speakers

Portable speakers are always nice to have on hand, no matter where you are. What’s the point of having a huge, transportable music library if you can’t share it? We really like the Altec Lansing Orbit 237, which has a phenomenal sound for a very reasonable price.

Waterproof Cell Phone Case

No, you won’t win Best Dressed at the Beach with this; but you also won’t be sheepishly asking your service provider if they will exchange your water-logged phone for a dry one. Perfect for anyone going to the ocean or the snow; or anyone just desperately wanting their three year old to stop throwing their phone in the toilet.

Cup Holder Adapter

I know what you’re thinking - with all these gadgets you’re recommending I bring on my trip – how is one cigarette lighter supposed to juice them all? Well, I present the Wagan USB/DC Adapter and the Powercup Inverter! Shaped to fit in your cup holder, they both turn your one DC port into two and add two USB ports (only one, in the case of the Powecup) as well. So now you and your spouse can charge your phones and your kids can charge their iPods or games. Everyone’s happy (or at least not fighting) – which is the point of the holidays, is it not?

Of course, travelling with all your gadgets means risking loss or theft. There are plenty of systems in place for getting your stuff back though, as long as you utilize them before it goes missing. With their latest update Apple has made Find My iPhone a free application – and despite its name it can be used on both an iPad and iPod Touch. Lojack for Laptops is a software-based recovery program to find stolen laptops, and StuffBak labels any gadget so that it can be easily returned if lost.

Remember to check out Retrevo for all your travelling gadget needs. You’ll find great reviews and manuals for all the latest gear, including laptops, cameras, HDTV and more.

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