I am taking the family on a 7 day, Eastern Caribbean cruise in the next couple of months, and I thought I would share the tech I plan on traveling with. These are a few things that you can take with you. on a vacation.
My Acer Travelmate 6292 laptop.
I already know that the ship offers Satellite wireless (at a big cost) and that the hotel that we are staying at pre and post cruise offers free wireless, even if there was no Internet access, I would still be taking the machine. With 6 digital cameras and 4 windows based media players (no IPods here) the laptop will come in handy. I plan on taking pictures off the cameras daily, (the last time we went on a cruise I lost my wife’s camera and all the pictures on it). In addition I will have an external USB hard drive that pictures will also be backed up to in case something goes wrong with the laptop. In addition I’ll rip 3 or 4 DVDs for us and the kids to the machine so that we can watch without carrying disks with us. Finally I will be able to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Maybe Skype will work from the ship but it should work pre and post cruise. The laptop also features a bluetooth voip phone so that I can use Skype. I chose this laptop over my Asus 14.1" wide screen as the hard drive is bigger and the Acer is built for travel. Although the screen is only 12.1" it is smaller, has up to 6 hours of battery life and is a magnesium alloy chassis.
My Nokia N800 Internet Tablet
This is my latest gadget. It is a small wireless device running a special version of Linux. I have installed several applications on it and it can play back media (video and Audio), play games and do email. I plan on trying this on the ship to check my mail daily. The wireless card in this device is the best I have ever used, although battery life is not great. I do have a small external Lithium Ion battery that I bought off the net for 30.00 and powers virtually any of my devices. I plan on getting another one too. Keep watching as I plan to write a more indepth review here too of this little device. I can also connect my Nokia up to a Bluetooth GPS unit and I have a folding Dell Bluetooth travel keyboard for it.
Creative Zen Vision M 60 GB Media player
Music and video for air travel, relaxing by the pool or just relaxing on the balcony of our cabin. I also have about 10 audio books on there from Audible.com so it gives me a variety of reading without taking up the space. I can also catch up on a few of my podcasts and web videos.
Garmin 350 Nuvi GPS
I have confirmed that this unit has maps of Puerto Rico and St. Thomas U.S.V.I on it so if we decide to walk around ourselves in port we will be able to get back to the ship. I may also take my Bluetooth GSat GPS receiver which will give my laptop and Nokia GPS capability as well.
We have four of these phones that our family uses when traveling in the US. On our last cruise in the Gulf these phones worked on the ship (in the Gulf) and in ports. As we are going to US Possessions these phones will work in port and in the gulf. In addition I have recently found out that I can add up to 3 Canadian numbers to each phone, so that people contacting me from here will not have to incur long distance. It beats the rates that Rogers charges for roaming (1.45 per minute incoming and 1/75 per minute outgoing). In addition I have just learnt that I can add up to three Canadian phone numbers to each phone so calling them from here would not be a long distance call to Florida (the current numbers). Tracfone now also offers monthly activation plans you you can just bring the phone up when required.
As well as for gaming, I also use this as a media player. I can put three dvds on the 2 GB Memory stick I have and with 2 batteries I get about 10 hours of video. While this device can also connect to the web wirelessly, the interface and keyboard is awful, so about the only thing I use it for is RSS feed updates. Using the Sony Media Manager Software I can also convert video podcasts and shows I have recorded on my Media Centre PC to the PSP.
Canon HV 20 HD Video Camera
This is the first time I will be using this on a trip. It is a tape based High Definition Camcorder. I hope to capture some good family shots ans some scenary stuff with it. A further review will follow.
RCA Small Wonder Video Camera
One of my favorite little gadgets. This is a small Digital Video Camcorder. It records 30 minutes of "high quality "video (640X480 30 FPS) to it’s internal flash memory and by adding a 2 GB SD card I can record an additional 2 hours. The device runs on AA batteries,(I use rechargables) and has a built in USB connector and preloaded editing software on it. Plug it into a PC and you can edit in camera. There is a small (1.5") lcd that flips out for self filming and playback as well as a built in microphone. Because it is so small (width and depth like a deck of cards but a little taller) it easily fits into any pocket for quick shooting. The 4X digital zoom is not great, but the camera itself for posting quick video’s to You Tube is fine. I will probably have it everywhere I go this trip. As they are not available in Canada I picked my 2 up off of EBay. A more in depth review will be coming up.
Motorola and Cobra FRS Radios
We have 4of these and will use them for communication amongst each other on the ship, as the ships are so large. They come in handy and we take them on all trips, great in amusement parks, shopping malls, tourist attractions etc.
Tamarac Adventure 7 Backpack
This was a recent gift from my better half. It is a camera bag designed into a backpack. It can carry a laptop, some accessories, my camera body and additional lenses. All the photo and computer equipment sections are padded, seams are all covered to be weatherproof and it will make carrying my 2 bodies and selection of lenses easier on my back when we are in port.
External LI-on battery pack
This is a small LI-ON battery pack that I recently picked up, It comes with 8 different adaptor tips, a usb cable and an AC power adaptor. It is small light and powers/recharges every device that we will have (All 4 mp3 Players, PSP, Nokia N800, Nokia Cell phones, Blackberries). It can be recharged from a USB port or with the AC adaptor. It gives an additional 4 to 6 hours of power to all of the devices on a full charge.
Monster Travel Power Strip
Designed for the traveler, it is very small light weight and gives three outlets from 1. We will have 2 of these with us.
Sony Active Noise Canceling Headphones
Picked these up last year and they are really good on aircraft and noisy environments where there is a constant hum (air conditioners, fans etc). Two microphones on the earpieces pick up the noise and then electronically cancel it into the headphones. Runs on one AAA battery. Great for watching movies or listening to portable players on aircraft as they significantly reduce the engine noise.
Seems like a lot of toys to carry, but they are really not bad. Believe it or not everything fits into the Tamarac backpack above. We will be in the air and in airports for 12 hours each way so keeping the kids entertained will be important.