DENVER - Your swimsuit and your sunscreen are in the luggage, and your boarding passes are all printed out.
But did you remember your gadgets and chargers? Did you download enough entertainment? Do you know where you're going?
In my travels, I've come across a number of products and services worth bringing along:
- Keeping your gadgets charged
Duh. You'll need not only the charging cord, but also the unit for plugging into the wall outlet. Bring a power strip, too, if you're sharing a room. Otherwise, you'll be fighting for the few outlets that aren't hidden behind furniture or dangerously near a sink. If you're going abroad, bring adapters and make sure your chargers will work with the voltage there.
Also consider ways to keep your gadgets charged during the day. If you're driving, bring a USB charger that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter. There are also portable chargers you can plug gadgets into. Some phone cases also serve as spare batteries.
One product that stands out is Mophie's Space Pack for the iPhone 5 and 5s. It not only doubles battery life, but also gives you additional storage for photos and videos. A 16-gigabyte version retails for $150, while a 32-gigabyte one costs $180. A 64-gigabyte version starts selling next week for $250.
- Keeping organized
I've been a loyal user of TripIt since I reviewed it in 2007. Back then, it was strictly a website for organizing your travel plans. Now, there are apps for various mobile devices. The apps remind you where to go next and offer easy links to your phone's mapping apps for directions.
The basic service is free. I haven't found a need to pay $49 a year for TripIt Pro, which offers information on alternate seats or flights and ways to track frequent flier programs. TripIt Pro also offers alerts when gates and departure times change.
- Keeping entertained
You might want to download some books, magazines and video ahead of time for when you don't have a good Internet connection.
I bought Griffin's iTrip from a Best Buy in Minnesota in 2009 for about $50. It has become essential for all my road trips. I simply plug the iTrip cord into my iPod's headphone jack. I then tune the car radio to an open FM frequency that iTrip finds for me. Podcasts, audiobooks and regular music come over the car speakers.