As I pack for a European walking tour with The Wayfarers, I’m astounded by the obscene pleasure I derive from planning what gadgets and goodies to bring. While my eldest sister, Kathy, who will join me for the trek, preps with language lessons and historic research, I get ready in true Gadget Girl form. I purchase a digital pedometer, download French music to iTunes, upgrade to the new BlackBerry Tour and the latest Flip video UltraHD.

But, it’s not only the techy toys that have me as excited for the adventure as my sister’s French lessons. It’s also the chance to put my favorite gear to work. Out comes the Outdoor Research rain hat I bought in Alaska last summer that has languished unused in my sunny New Mexico closet. Then there’s the Keen hikers I’ve been breaking in on the mountain trails near home. And, the Naneu camera backpack that’s just begging for a walk through southern France.

So, fellow gadget and gear addicts, if you were looking for an excuse to invest in a few more toys, read on….


Keen Targhee II hiker shoe: The Keen Targhee II waterproof cross-training shoes deliver tenacious traction, stability and comfort. Perfect for a French walking tour, a stroll around the neighborhood or wherever your multisport needs might take you.




Montbell cargo short: These stretch Cargo shorts serve me well during high mileage days on the trail or back home running weekend errands.






Naneu Sahara 217F camera backpack: Perfect for a walking tour, the water resistant Sahara 217F is specially designed to fit everything I need on a shoot- two DSL bodies, a full range of lenses, flash, memory cards, plus lots of extras - without looking like a camera bag, including a dedicated handy heavily-padded compartment for my laptop.




Sigg water bottle: Got a thirst for saving the planet? You’ll dig a Sigg. Clean, sleek and stylish, the Swiss made aluminum bottles are my favorite alternative to plastic. I take one everywhere – in the car, on the trail, at my desk.




BlackBerry Tour world phone: With world phone capabilities on a 3G network, a 3.2 MP camera and enhanced multimedia features, the BlackBerry Tour™ 9630 smartphone keeps me connected, whether it’s around the corner or around the world. People tell me that the purpose of travel is to disconnect. But, for me, it’s thanks to the BlackBerry, that I can be off eating foie gras in France AND accept the next dream assignment, sell a cover shot or share a new discovery with my twitter group.



Teko socks: Teko socks are not only gentle on my feet, but also Mother Earth, made from all natural and recycled materials. Read my full Teko socks review on






Cocoon Traveler’s Tree Silk Travel Pajamas: Simple and stylish, these lightweight silk travel pajamas are perfect for active people and experienced travelers who are serious about packing light.




U Hydration tablets: My new favorite for planet-friendly on-the-go refreshment: 7-calorie delicious, healthy and natural with vitamins and electrolytes. Turn your water bottle into a deliciously refreshing pick-me-up.




Lucy travel pants: I love, love, love Lucy clothing. These travel pants are lightweight, quick dry and amazingly comfortable. I don’t leave home without them.





Overland Equipment Cambridge Tote: Perfect for long-haul adventures yet stylish enough for Paris. Carry it as a briefcase, tote, or backpack; this tote has pockets for everything!






Patagonia Freewheeler suitcase: My husband and I both own this bag and won’t even look at another. Why would we? The designers at Patagonia seem to have thought of everything a traveler needs. Click here for my full review.





 Apple MacBook Pro: Boasting a sleek design, LED–backlit display, and flat-out awesome performance  the MacBook Pro is the Apple of my traveler’s eye. Where I go, it goes!





Keen Calistoga: Try the Keen Women’s Calistoga Shoe for an updated take on the Mary Jane look. Rugged yet stylish, this shoe is ideal for village strolls after a day of walking.






Outdoor Research coastal hat: Designed to fend off rain, this Outdoor Research Seattle sombrero is also great for providing protection from sun.






Lei Spa energizing facial mist: I discovered this travel beauty essential in Maui. Providing a refreshing spritz of mint, lavender and eucalyptus, it’s the perfect pick me up. And when my supply runs low, as much as I’d love the excuse to Maui, fortunately it’s available for purchase online.






 TravelSmith Earth adapter: This all-in-one adapter fits power outlets in over 150 countries all over the world. It also has a USB plug to juice up the travel toys.






 Flip Ultra HD vdeo camera: The mightly mini Flip UltraHD, is a sleek, high definition, YouTube-ready pocket camcorder with 4GB of built-in memory. Perfect for recording that smooth talking Frenchman, or the sights and sounds of nature or catching the excitement of market day.



prAna Eden top: This top is a work of art and there’s no way it’s gonna hang on a wall. It’s too darn pretty and comfortable for that. Who says you can’t be fashionable and active? Not prAnah!




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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".