I’m a longtime user and fan of SCOTTEVEST tech-enabled clothing as a stylish and convenient way to carry gadgets.
The company recently released a new Blackout Pocket, a standalone pocket made to keep your most sensitive information private using a technology similar to that which law enforcement and the military utilize to preserve electronic evidence.
Ideal for gadget loving travelers, the pocket is designed to protect your cell phone, credit cards, passport, and mobile devices from the nefarious efforts of identity thieves, RFID (radio-frequency identification) skimmers or NSA surveillance.
Available in three levels of protection, and offered at a discounted introductory price, the Blackout Pocket is lined with proprietary RFID Armor material to protect your digital valuables.
Barking dogs, tolling church bells, blaring music, parading bands, exploding fireworks, police whistles, sirens, and crowing roosters are among the many noises that make up the soundtrack of life in Latin America, our home-away-from-home for nearly two years now.
Like many visitors, we have a love/hate relationship with the auditory vibrancy of the Latin American lifestyle. Most of the time, the crazy cacophony charms and amuses us. At 3AM, not so much.
Not to worry: There’s an app for that.
WANTED: A versatile daypack to keep camera gear and other daily essentials secure, accessible and protected while I’m out actively exploring the world.
FOUND: Lowepro Photo Hatchback AW.
I’ve been scaling back lately on the amount of stuff I lug around. But whether I’m headed off for a day of adventure at home or an extended trip, there are certain items I carry with me: camera gear, a jacket, water bottle, small notebook, sunglasses and a mobile phone, for example.
Nearly every traveling photographer I know lusts after the ‘perfect’ camera bag. I am, perhaps, the biggest romantic of them all. No matter how many alternatives fill my closets and clutter my office shelves, the dream of finding that ‘perfect’ multi-purpose bag remains alluring.
Problem is, I ask a lot of a camera bag, especially for air travel. It needs to provide travel-tough protection, be carry-on sized and not only transport a full arsenal of camera bodies, lenses and digital accessories, but a laptop too.
Enter the Lowepro Stealth Reporter D650 AW.
The Genius swarm was unexpected. Who knew that carrying my MacBook Pro into the Apple Store in a BookBook laptop case would inspire such a flurry of questions: “Is that really a lapbook case?” “Where did you get it?” “Who makes it?” “Do they make one for the iPad?” “Can I look inside?” “Wow, cool!” I felt like a rock star.
I didn’t buy the cleverly disguised laptop case that looks like an antique book to be the chicest geek at the Genius Bar. Rather, I’d bought it to reduce the risk of having my MacBook Pro stolen.
But based on the number of blue-shirted Genius admirers, it looks like innovative Mac accessory designer, Twelve South, has tapped into the collective desire for originality that’s core among true Mac fans.
For the next two weeks, I’ll be participating in the first Travel Blogger’s Caravan. I’d like to invite you to follow 15 top travel bloggers (including yours truly!) for a chance to win a motley array of prizes, perfect for celebrating the holiday season.
If you love exploring new destinations and revisiting old favorites, you won’t want to miss the Travel Bloggers’ Caravan & Giveaway! You just may discover a few new favorite travel blogs to bookmark. I know I have!
Win a Lingo 16-Language Translator
Help us kick off the Caravan right now! Follow @luxcruisebible on Twitter and then tweet about the Travel Bloggers’ Caravan between December 1 and 15. Include a link to this blog post and the #caravan hashtag and you’ll be entered to win the Lingo 16-Language Translator, courtesy of Magellan’s Travel Supplies.
Entrants must have a U.S. mailing address. Entries must be received between December 1–15, 2009. One winner will be randomly chosen from eligible entries on December 21, 2009. Winner will be notified via Twitter DM (direct message).
Just log onto Twitter and tweet something like this:
Check out the Travel Bloggers’ Caravan. 15 travel bloggers and tons of cool prizes to win. http://bit.ly/8TOkPC #caravan
Whether I’m consulting a map, shining light on a camp sign, reading late into the night, or searching the bottom of my backpack, this sturdy little flashlight is what I use to light my way. I like it so much that we have one for home and one that lives in my travel bag.
And it’s not just me. Last month a houseguest used the ICON to light a path each night to our patio so she could sit beneath the twinkling magic of the New Mexico night sky. Her first phone call to me after returning home was to ask “What’s the name of that amazing little flashlight? I want one!”
Equipped with an ultra bright LED, the Rogue is über efficient, at least ten times more efficient at converting energy into light than regular bulbs. Better yet, its aerospace aluminum body means it can be dropped, thrown and rattled around in the trunk without any damage. And the waterproof O-ring seals, mean I can use it in the rain in London, a Utah snowstorm or drop it in a Panama puddle and it keeps on working.
Favorite feature: I love that fact that it’s powered on one (Rogue 1) or two (Rogue 2) AA batteries, something I can purchase virtually anywhere, anytime.
Not-so-favorite feature: Not available on Amazon - my go-to source for nearly anything - but you can get one at Radio Shack. Go figure.
Bottom line: It’s a handy little powerhouse that’s built to last.
Available in two compact models, Rogue 1 (4.5 inches) and Rogue 2 (6.5 inches) and three stylish colors: silver, green and black. Comes with a handy lanyard so you can wear the light or attacht it a backpack.
As if I needed yet another reason to want a Kindle…
Santa, are you listening?
If, like me, you’re still on the fence about buying a Kindle, Amazon has just release some tempting news. First, their bestselling Kindle is now $259, down from $299. Second, they’ve introduced a new addition to the Kindle family: Kindle with U.S. and International Wireless. Hooray for travelers!
Now traveling bookworms can download books, newspapers, and magazines wirelessly while at home or abroad in over 100 countries. Whether you’re in New York, Paris, São Paulo, Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo, or Sydney, you can think of a book and be reading it in less than 60 seconds. That’s sooo cool!
If you have only … a minute. Print your cell phone photos, travel pics or latest masterpiece using one of these pocket-sized printers to whip up hard copies in no time. Fun, compact and cool, cool, cool. Get those photo faves off your hard drive and into the hands of your new BFF.
Canon Selphy CP780
Gorgeous Prints – In Under One Minute
Enjoy photo lab quality with 4” x 6” images produced in approx. 47 seconds.
Easily view, select and edit your images for simple computer-free printing. No downloading needed, just pick your pic and print!
As mobile as you are
Pocket-size, sleek, stylish design.
Camera Phone Wirelessly transfer images from a Bluetooth-enabled camera phone to the Mobile Printer and print instantly. Using the built-in OBEX (object exchange profile) Bluetooth in the phone and the printer, connecting and printing becomes instant.
Digital Camera Instantly printing images from a digital camera is as easy as connecting the USB cable to the PictBridge-enabled camera and printer. Once connected, follow the PictBridge screen on the camera display. Simply select what image to send to the printer and within 60 seconds, the print is ready to be shared.
Gadget Girl Goes Green
A while back I was fortunate enough to be asked to sign on as the new Green Gear girl at GreenSpot.travel, a wonderful online portal for environmentally responsible travelers.
This month’s featured product is a nifty new eco-friendly gadget - the SteriPEN JourneyLCD portable water purifier.
It’s fast (16oz. in 48-secs), lightweight (5 oz), easy (just one button) and effective (proven to destroy viruses, bacteria and protozoa). Oh, and did I mention it runs on rechargeable batteries, purifying 1 liter of water for less than $0.02 USD? Take THAT you 3-Euro bottle of San Pellegrino! And, even better, because the pen uses light, instead of chemicals, there’s no chemical aftertaste like tablets or drops.
I’m hooked. Whether I’m day hiking in the mountains of New Mexico, sightseeing in Marrakech or shopping in Paris, I’ll have the SteriPEN in my bag.
Fashionistas swear by a Pashmina for warmth, and for years I carried a woolly warm Mexican rebozo. But thanks to rising checked bag fees and shrinking carry-on allowances, those days are gone. Just too much bulk.
If you’re feeling my vibe here, then you’ll love my latest find; the COCOON travel blanket. When you consider that it squashes into it’s own tiny stuff sac, is lightweight and fits easily into my laptop bag, you don’t have to be germ-phobic to recognize that it’s a great travel staple.
Better yet, throw in one of their ultra compact air core, memory foam, or down travel pillows (my fave) and you’ll be the envy of coach class.
To learn more, visit www.cocoonusa.com.
You can also find COCOON products in stock in my new Travel Store.
I’ve taken this little dynamo skiing in Utah, snorkeling in Baja and mountain biking in New Mexico. I even dropped it onto my ceramic tile floor - and it’s still shooting like the little pro that it is. Shockproof, waterproof (to 10-feet underwater), freeze-proof (to -14°F) and basically life-proof, if I can take it, so, it appears, can the palm-sized Olympus Stylus 1050SW.
The folks at Olympus seem to have thought of everything any adventurous shutterbug could ask for – rain or shine, underwater, on the slopes or on the run. Boasting 10.1 megapixel high-quality photography, image stabilized video, scene specific shooting modes, quick-access buttons for flash and exposure control, this svelte little number screams Yes You Can!
Favorite Feature: Topping my list is it’s pocket-sized convenience assuring that I’m never without a camera. Better yet, at 10.1 megapixels, if I do happen to snap the shot-of-the-century, it’s publication-quality. Did I mention it shoots YouTube ready video, too? Very fun.
Not-so-favorite Feature: No viewfinder means that I have to compose my shot in the LCD screen. But every shutterbug under the age of 30 that I voice this complaint to tells me to “get over it!” Okay, okay, I get it, viewfinders are sooo middle-age, but I still don’t like it.
Bottom-line: I wouldn’t even think of adventuring without it.
$299.00 suggested retail price: www.olympus.com
Also available at The Travel Store at EllenBarone.com powered by Amazon.
My new Seattle Sling waterproof camera bag just arrived. I can’t wait to try it out!
Boasting proven dry bag technology, I’m thinking it should be perfect for any adventure near water: sea kayaking, skiff rides, wet landings, hiking in the rainforest, or even a trip to Seattle in the rainy season. Ingenious!
More to come soon, as I head off to Baja’s Sea of Cortez to put it to the test!
The techie in your brood will love this new twist on the classic Swiss Army knife; the Swiss Army Multitool with USB Drive. With the addition of a detachable USB drive and LED mini-light no self-respecting digital traveler will want to leave home without one. Use it to transfer and share your vacation snaps, illustrate your Power Point presentation with its red LED light ray, screw a battery compartment shut, file your nails or snip the tag off that new dress, female or male, this is the ulitmate geek gadget. $69.95; National Geographic.
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, to Bermuda. Tough, lightweight and BPA-free, trust me on this one, once you go Sigg you’ll never go back.
About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Let your style roar…
Set off for college, the office, or the road with this season’s hippest accessory and protect your mobile tech from taking a hit in style. All about style and function, this fashionable line offers all the features any on-the-go Gadget Girl craves: external pockets to carry the extras; non-slip carry straps; a slim, snug, durable design; and graphics that roar with personality. From $34.95; www.designersleeves.com
Go ahead, trade in those goofy lighted slippers from Aunt Sally for the gizmo you really wanted, PlanOn’s new mobile Printstik. I won’t tell. Promise. After all, what self-respecting gadget geek wouldn’t want to add a Printstik to their portable arsenal? It’s Bluetooth enabled, lightweight, fits in your pocket and syncs with your PC laptop, PDA, and mobile phone, and prints “on the spot” wirelessly. From $199.00; www.planon.com
This day bag by Tilley Endurables is the perfect city carry-all, yet tough enough for adventure. I prefer the ease of access of this padded, rainproof shoulder bag to that of a backpack. Not to mention the handiness of eleven pockets, inside key-clip, conveniently located pen pockets, Velcro-closed side pockets perfect for a water bottle and cell phone, and waterproof interior pockets that’ll keep important documents dry even in a downpour. It’s spacious enough to carry a bulky zoom lens and conceal an expensive SLR while you dine or in a pub, where you’d rather not rest it on the tabletop or sling it over a chair back, while its school-bag look doesn’t scream camera bag to thieves. It also passes macho-muster with my husband who I’ve finally trained to carry his own stuff (no more, “honey, can you put this in your purse?”).
By now you probably suspect that if I can go ga-ga over a laptop bag, the right suitcase could probably send me over the moon. You wouldn’t be wrong. My husband and I both own this bag and won’t even look at another. Why would we? We’ve watched our Patagonia Freewheeler take a fall from the top of a heap from a makeshift luggage cart on a rustic airstrip in Myanmar, without so much as a torn corner or bent frame. It’s trailed after us over cobbled streets and bounced up railway station steps, been dropped roughly from the rooftops of third-world buses and lashed to camels in the Sahara. And, when it finally did, after a decade of traveling the world, tear slightly along a seam, when we returned it to Patagonia for repair, they sent us a new one - free.
Made from tough ballistic cloth nylon, this water-repellent free-wheeling suitcase sports the same wheels as those found on the best inline skates. The designers at Patagonia seem to have thought of everything a traveler needs: Its duffle-style top compartment collapses snuggly into a hard-sided bottom to slide easily under a ship’s bed or the floor of a hotel closet and a zippered lower compartment keeps your shoes and dirty laundry separate. $350.00; www.patagonia.com