Globetrot Gadgets

As a workaholic who routinely angers friends and family with my obsessive need to be connected to the internet whenever I travel on business or pleasure, I am the ultimate expert on technology for jetsetters. These gadgets help you work and pass the time while you’re running around the globe.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-W4 | The Toughbook W4 isn’t as rough (maybe manly is a better word?) as the Panasonic laptops the Army uses, but the company still calls it semi-rugged, which classifies it as a perfect laptop for the frequent traveler. The W4 is lightweight and small with a 12.1-inch LCD screen. Although the specs can vary, the standard model comes with a 1.2 GHz processor and a 40 GB hard drive, which is enough for most users. The laptop includes a built-in DVD/CD-RW drive, which isn’t always found on computers this small. The small keyboard takes a bit of time getting used to and the headphone jack is oddly placed in the front of the keyboard, which makes it a bit awkward to listen to music while working. All around, the W4 is a nice computer which should last you a while. ($2,200)

Shure E3c Sound Isolating Earphones | If you don’t wear white earphones, it might make you less of a target for an iPod mugging, but don’t take our word for it. Shure’s E3c sound-isolating earphones will cost just as much as your music player at $200, but they’re worth it and they come in black or grey. They fit so snugly in your ear that for a moment before you press play, you might freak out and think you’ve lost your hearing. The earphones come with a variety of earbuds in different shapes and styles so you can pick which one you like best. The kit also includes a creepy earwax remover to clean the E3c after use. The earphones should work with any iPod or portable music player. Don’t blame us, however, if you get hit by a car walking down the street because you couldn’t hear it coming. ($199)

iPod 60GB with video | In the interest of homogeneity and completely uncreative yet eerily fashionable technology purchases, we need to mention the iPod 60 gigabyte model as a good travel companion. Although there are certainly portable media players with better technology, as well as ones that – unlike the iPod – don’t significantly increase the likelihood of your getting mugged on the street, there are some good features in the iPod. The interface is very easy to use as is the accompanying iTunes Music Store. Apple’s most recent upgrade adding video support and partnerships with major television stations let Desperate Housewives, Lost and The Daily Show junkies get their fill even at 30,000 feet. ($399.99)

Slingbox | The Slingbox media extender by Sling Media hooks up to your home television and broadband connection to stream your satellite or cable TV, TiVo, DVD player and other media devices while you’re on the road. The video doesn’t have great quality, but it’s certainly watchable and it will let you view any television content you want from any location at any time. Sling Media makes viewers for computers, personal digital assistants and Windows cell phones, so you can even connect to your Slingbox wirelessly. With the Slingbox, you won’t have to pay $15.99 for the Pay-Per-View next time you’re stuck in a hotel. ($249.99)

BlackBerry 8700 | The latest version of the popular BlackBerry is a must-have for any email addict on the road. The BlackBerry 8700 features a new design and an improved keyboard. The best upgrade is that they’ve added dedicated “Talk” and “End” buttons so you can use the BlackBerry like a cell phone much more naturally. On some carriers, the new BlackBerry has high-speed data support as well, and the screen has been upgraded with higher resolution and brightness. It also has Quad-Band support, which means if your carrier supports it, the BlackBerry 8700 will work in many countries outside the U.S. ($299)

Verizon EVDO | If you really want to anger your family on vacation, why stop at the BlackBerry? With Verizon EVDO you can get high-speed wireless Internet in 181 major metropolitan U.S. cities as well as 72 airports on your laptop. The best part is that you never have to support Starbucks with WiFi because your Verizon card will give you Internet access wherever you go. The speed is quite fast and the card worked great when I tested it in Boston, New York and Las Vegas. Make sure your laptop has a free PCMCIA card slot before you buy. ($60-80 a month plus $59 for a modem card with two year agreement)