If you only could travel with one electronic device, what would it be?

Written by admin on February 5, 2009 – 9:08 pm -

I’d be lost without my computer, camera and cell phone. But having recently splurged for a Blackberry Bold 9000, I can see that life is changing.

I’ve finally found a quad-band world phone that works in more than 200 countries for phone calls and more than 150 countries for data. I’m no longer unreachable in South Korea and Japan.

The camera actually functions and I can zap photos to my Facebook page. The phone also supports instant messaging services such as AIM and functions wherever there’s Wi-Fi. If only I’d had it during my last trip to Laos, I would have been a happy camper.

I’m able to surf the Internet, conduct online transactions, download documents and listen to music.

Being a technical neophyte, I must admit I spent many many hours on a support line with an employee of Blackberry’s manufacturer, Research in Motion. He was based in Singapore, was from Manila and had a Spanish last name and the patience of Job. It’s a whole new world of communications.

I’ve found my electronic soul mate even though I was lobbying Santa for an iPhone. The iPhone has so many applications and reading the New York Times online was a pleasure. But when push came to shove, I had trouble with the keyboard when it came to typing. Perhaps its because I’m a member of the older generation.

So many people I know are converts and wouldn’t live without theirs. They love the functionality and being able to download iTunes and the stability of the Unix-based operating system no matter where they are.

The iPhone’s travel kit allows people to charge their phones anywhere in the world and you can share your phone photos on Flickr and, naturally, Facebook. This is the world of social networking and all of this new and improved technology enables people to have instant gratification.

Again, I am so far from being an electronics expert that I suspect there are still people performing inside my television screen. Please enlighten me and tell me which mobile technology you’re opting for and why?

Who knows – I may spring for another cell phone in the  next decade?

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.

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Packing the essentials: cords, plugs, adaptors and more

Written by admin on December 10, 2008 – 12:42 pm -

Not so many years ago, packing the essentials signified clothes, toiletries, medications and probably an adaptor plug or a dual current hairdryer if you were heading overseas.

For many people who travel to multiple countries on business, assembling a suitcase requires an increasing amount of time and attention.

I’m in the middle of my trip. I’m learning how prepared and unprepared I am. I’m collecting a list of essentials as I go. Here’s my list (and muttered comments) after a week away.

Cords, plugs, adaptors and more: they seem to multiply each year and why can’t more of them have multi-uses?

A computer.

Travel with an Ethernet cable. There’re not always easy to come by and don’t count on being able to connect via WiFi.

A Blackberry that may or may not work. If it works as a telephone, it may not be able to receive emails depending on the country.

A quad-band cell phone for which you can buy a local SIM card to make and receive calls at a more reasonable cost. Of course that necessitates being able to get on line in order to inform people of the telephone number of the week – unless you travel so much that you keep multiple numbers operative.

A camera, which necessitates a charger and a UBS card reader so the camera’s memory chip can be downloaded onto a computer and the photos can be deleted.

The most recent necessity is a set of earphones or a Bluetooth earphone (it needs to be charged as well) so you may call people via Skype.

If your computer doesn’t have a built-in web-cam, you may want to take a portable one. Don’t forget the UBS cord.

If you’re wise, you’ll also take some memory sticks or thumb drives to back up your work.

All of these plugs, wires and other paraphernalia will undoubtedly cause your suitcase to be subject to inspection when going through airport security. You can always check these items. But as they have become essential for dong business, most people carry them aboard for fear of their not arriving or disappearing.

Many travelers insist on carrying their personal noise canceling headphones to use during the flight (don’t forget extra batteries) and thick eyeshades.

At this point, most carry-on bags are so full that it’s a struggle to include your files not to mention a book to read.

There are bound to be items I’m forgetting. Please add them.

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis

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Posted in Consumer Traveler |