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Travel Gadgets for Writers

If you're a travel writer, or just taking a vacation, it's good to bring along some essentials to help you make the most out of your trip. I know many writers who dislike being away from their computers too long, but if you plan ahead, you can bring the comforts of home with you.

We asked our staff what their favorite travel gadgets were. Some said, “Travel? What's that?” (And no, we're not overworking them!) But others wrote in about some of their favorite things they can't be without when traveling, writing, or going on a weekender. Enjoy!

Annette Fix's Pick!

Alpha Smart

Back in 1998, at a screenwriting conference, I saw a little promo table that caught my eye. I bought the new gadget they were displaying: the AlphaSmart 3000 (now called the Neo)—a lightweight word processor with a standard-size keyboard that runs on 3AA batteries for 700 hours of typing. It uploads to PC, Mac, and can print to a USB port printer. It weighs less than 2 lbs. and fits easily into a tote bag or roomy purse. It has 8 files that store up to 100 pages of text, so I've been able to work on several projects at a time, just by switching to a different file. And I've never lost a single piece of writing because it has an auto-save feature. Eleven years ago, I bought my AlphaSmart 3000 for $249 (the price is still the same now!) and it was the best investment I've ever made for my writing because it's still going strong. I use it on plane trips, in bed, waiting in doctor's offices, at the beach, sitting in cafés, at my son's sporting events, to take notes in workshops, and the list goes on and on. This product is my must-have recommendation for any writer who wants to be able to write on the go.

Sue Donckel's Pick!

Kodak EasyShare Digital Camera

Digital cameras sit high on the list of must-haves, especially for travel. You never know when you might want to capture a place, pet, person, or special moment inside digital space for a future work. Kodak cameras make quick shots simple. I use an Easy Share-One with 6.1 mega pixel resolution and 3x the optical zoom. The nifty little gadget holds up to 600 photos, which is far greater than the number of stories I can write in a month! It fits easily inside my pocket or purse, next to my notebook and pen. Uploading to my computer is a simple matter of plugging it into my hard drive. The software does the rest of the work for me.

Good for Campers!

Solar Generator Briefcase

For those of you who like camping and need some juice for your laptop, portable electronics, GPS devices, and other small electronics, why not steal from the sun? “The two powerful solar panels generate 13 watts of power. That's 14VDC at a working current of 750mA! That's more than the average plug-in power supply!”

Hmmm... now if they'll only make one in pink. ;-)

Traveling to an exotic location?


Worried about your water when traveling? Check out this ultra-portable water purifier! Instead of toting along a huge pump with filters, or buying bottled water every couple of hours, save the environment and travel light with this amazing gadget. Just turn it on (it takes two AA batteries), hold it in your scary water for a minute, and presto! You have purified water at your fingertips. The last thing you want to do is get sick while working as a travel writer, so why not be safe and bring this little gadget with you on your next exotic locale. I'd recommend bringing a reusable water bottle and refilling it to save time.

Global Translator

This is not just a travel translator, it SPEAKS too! How cool is that? You'll be able to communicate without butchering the language as well. We all know how hard it is to speak Mandarin or Portuguese and get the dialect right. Or maybe we don't have to! This portable gadget communicates in 12 languages and contains over 450,000 words and 12,000 phrases. It also allows you to record your own custom words and phrases that you may need for specific projects—such as business meetings. It includes an MP3 player, audio player, earbuds, and an AC adaptor. It also is an organizer, local/world clock, calculator, currency and metric converter all in one! It supports a USB connection and includes 1 rechargeable batter. Geez, now all you need is your passport and your ready to go!

How about the rest of you? Have a favorite product, website, service, gadget? Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you. Happy travels!


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