The holidays are not considered one of the busiest times of year for nothing. As we all know, they usually call for more phone calls, e-mails, luggage-carrying and shopping trips than the norm. I have found myself wading through bustling crowds of shoppers while simultaneously planning a business meeting and scheduling holiday outings with friends over the phone. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, life becomes pretty hectic when you're barraged with so many things all at once, sometimes inducing headache and sensory overload. Luckily, a wealth of travel gadgets out in the market can minimize holiday stress and keep you organized while being easy on the pocketbook. These gizmos are not all work and no play – in addition to saving you time and providing added convenience, many of these products are even fun to use. Here's a rundown of great holiday travel gadgets you might want to add to your wish list this year:
1. Balanzza Digital Luggage Scale: This user-friendly device is a must-have for baggage-toting travelers. You need only hook the Balanzza's strap to your luggage, lift the luggage off the ground until you hear a beeping sound indicating that the weight has registered on the display, and then set the luggage down to read the weight shown on the screen itself. (It can handle items that weigh up to 100 pounds and can display weight in pounds or kilograms.) The handy scale is easy to use and so small you can carry it everywhere.
2. LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen: When on the move, travelers do not always have their laptops handy and instead opt for the traditional note-taking-with-a-pen approach. However, scribbling notes on paper later proves inconvenient when the material has to be sent directly to one's computer, leaving one to do more work in the end. That's no longer the case thanks to this nifty computer-in-a-pen device, which allows you to take notes that can later be transferred to your computer. Packed with various features including an audio jack, USB connector, speaker and microphone, it allows you to send collections hand-written meeting notes and itineraries without having to use a copy machine or scanner. As an added bonus, it also lets you leave the laptop back at the office or in your hotel room. Who knew a pen could do this much?
3. Belkin Surge Protector: How many times have you had trouble finding a power outlet at an airport or hotel room when you've needed it most? There's no need to sulk any longer. The lightweight Belkin Surge Protector boasts a 360 degree rotating plug, three AC outlets and two USB ports, ensuring the batteries in your cell phone or iPod stay charged while you sunbathe on the beach or host a business conference. Without a doubt, this comes in handy amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
4. Klipsch Image S2 and S4 In-Ear Headphones: Let's say you're traveling by car or airplane and wish to tune out the noise around you, be it the humming of a car's motor or a conversation between chatty passengers. That's when Kipsch's In-Ear Headphones, which couple high-quality sound and comfort, come to the rescue. Not only do the ear tips typically fit the contours of your ear canals, but they dramatically reduce background noise – leaving you undisturbed while you listen to your favorite holiday tunes. A great choice for travelers who simply want to lose themselves in music.
5. Sunagor Micro-Zoom Binoculars: View picturesque beaches, renovated monuments and verdant parks from afar with these light, compact and powerful binoculars. They're small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, purse or coat pocket yet powerful enough to zoom from 7x to 21x at the touch of a lever. As if that were not enough, their multi-coated lenses provide infrared and UV protection.
These products and many more are yours for the taking this holiday season. Holiday travel is draining enough as it is. And while these gadgets may not take all the stress out of holiday travel, they still save you money, time and space – and who does not need a little more of each during this time of year?