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Top 5 gadgets for your summer trip

By Rebecca Ford, Contributing writer
Published On: Apr 10 2012 02:51:21 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 17 2013 09:36:27 AM CDT
Road trip vacation, car on map

iStock / Bosca78

The possibilities for travel over the summer months are endless -- from the picturesque deserted islands of the Pacific to the crowded, cobbled streets of Rome.

Travel abroad, however, can also challenge any wanderer technologically and geographically. What if your cell phone doesn't work in Tokyo? What if your laptop dies in Madrid? What if you're lost in Buenos Aires?

Whether you're traveling to far off foreign lands this summer or only as far as a tank of gas will take you, your trip can be cleared of a lot of pesky roadblocks and speed bumps by picking up some of the newest travel gadgets on the market today.

From GPS devices to the most innovative chargers known to man, the five following travel devices can be timesavers and lifesavers when you're traveling.

Earthmate PN-60w hand-held GPS

No. 5: Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator

If you're hiking the Himalayas, or even wandering through your local hillside, you've probably noticed that your cellphone doesn't have service.

If you're a serious hiker, having a GPS and a communication device for safety reasons is imperative. The Earthmate handheld GPS and text-messaging unit, available for $449.95 from Delorme.com, works where cellphones don't because it uses 100 percent satellite technology.

The waterproof device also features NOAA nautical charts, barometric altimeter readings, topographical maps and aerial imagery,

Ease the minds of your friends and family at home by sending them text messages from your hike. Your loved ones can even track your location because the SPOT Satellite Communicator will place markers on an online map every 10 minutes updating your location. Your mom will love you for it.

PowerFilm Solar Panel Charger

No. 4: PowerFilm USB + AA Solar Panel Charger

A portable solar charger is your life source when traveling abroad. Not only can you charge your cellphone and MP3 player, but the versatile PowerFilm Solar Panel Charger, available from Amazon.com for $99.99, can also charge your AA batteries from your camera. It can charge AA batteries in four hours (in full sun).

Light (it weighs only 49 ounces) and foldable (it folds up to about the size of a men's large wallet), this solar charger can travel with you anywhere, so when you're on a day hike, let it soak in the sun's rays during your lunchtime picnic.

You can even charge your devices at night through the USB port because two included rechargeable batteries act as storage devices for the energy absorbed by the solar panels during the day.

Day or night, you'll be powered up with the PowerFilm Solar Panel Charger.

Kodak Playsport Video Camera

No. 3: Kodak Playsport Video Camera

When you're on the move, you need a camera that can keep up with you, come hell or high water. The Kodak Playsport Video Camera, available for $179.95 from Kodak's website, isn't afraid to get wet or to go for a ride.

The waterproof video camera can shoot up to 10 feet under water, and its rugged design allows for crisp 1080p HD videos in almost any environment. Not only can it stand to get a little wet, but the Playsport can survive a drop -- of up to 5 feet, for all the klutzes in the room. A built-in image stabilizer means you can take videos even if you're on a bit of a rocky road.

The LCD Glare Shield feature provides a filter for the display screen to cut down on glare from the sun so you can see your recordings with ease.

In addition to all of these travel-friendly features, the Playsport comes in a variety of colors including black, red and aqua so you can always find it when it's been buried in your backpack.

Etón TurboDyne Road Torq

No. 2: Etón TurboDyne Road Torq

If you're taking a road trip, the Etón TurboDyne Road Torq is a great gadget to bring with you for the ride.

The roadside assistance device, which will run you around $30 at various retailers, has a spotlight and emergency beacon, which would be ideal for any emergency car breakdowns.

The device is self-powered by a crank, and Etón says two minutes of cranking yields 15 minutes of power.

Because of its retractable tripod-like design, you can place the Torq on the ground or on the roof of your car and direct the light wherever you need it to go. You can also use it like a hand-held flashlight. With the flashing beacon, you can set up the Torq to warn other motorists of your situation.

The Etón TurboDyne Road Torq tripod is foldable for easy storage, and can easily be kept in your car in case you should need it on your travels.

ClamCase iPad Keyboard Case

No. 1: ClamCase iPad Keyboard Case & Stand

If you're a techie at all, you probably already have an iPad, and have realized how great this lightweight item is for travel. To enhance your iPad-ing experience, you'll want to get a case, stand and keyboard. But now, you can get all three in one.

The ClamCase iPad Keyboard Case and Stand, available for $149 from ClamCase.com, has a Bluetooth keyboard so you can easily write your travel memoirs from anywhere.

Flip the keyboard over and you've got a stand that will hold your iPad at the perfect angle so you can watch a film on the plane. Close the case completely to protect your iPad beneath the matte black surface while on the move.

And no matter which version of the iPad you have, no worries. ClamCase offers various versions of the case compatible with all three generations of the device.

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