If travel travails like getting lost or losing touch have kept you from exploring the uncharted havens, take the tech route. Accessories like navigators, Schmap and splitter will not only keep you on track but also enhance your roving pleasure. While some may hit your wallet hard, they will be worth the spend.
Navigator: Map your way
If you are travelling to an unknown destination, buy a GPS device and load it with maps of the place. The standalone devices in the market are good, but you can get one from abroad and upload local maps. Or if your phone is GPS-enabled, just get the maps. If it isn't, SatGuide and MapMyIndia offer Bluetooth GPS receivers for Bluetooth-enabled phones. Price: Standalone devices: Rs 18,000 onwards Bluetooth GPS receiver: Rs 3,500 onwards.
Satellite modem: Keep in touch
The middle of a desert or even walking a glacier. You can check your e-mail just about anywhere if you invest in a satellite modem. Roughly half the size of a laptop, the modem is water- and dust-resistant, and best of all, weighs less than 1 kg. It is Bluetooth-enabled and capable of downloads at 492 kbps. Price: Rs 1.2 lakh.
Splitter: On song
For couples wanting to holiday and hum together, earphone splitter is the answer. You could buy a set of nifty speakers, but they might be frowned upon in a plane or train. With a splitter, both of you can listen to the same device. There are cheap versions on eBay, but for reliability, look for Capdase's earphonesplitter combos. Most electronics stores stock these or comparable brands.
Mosquito bats: Swat team
There's no reason why mosquitoes should feast on you while you're trying to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are allergic to creams, sprays and mosquito coils, the electronic mosquito bat is the perfect answer to getting rid of those pesky creatures. Get one with a built-in torch and you can even see what you're swatting. Price: Rs 150.
Satellite phone: Calling Planet Earth
If you're planning a holiday in a remote area, this is for you. The ACeS R190 GSM satellite phone has been developed just for Asia. It is enabled by GMSS (geostationary mobile satellite standard), the satellite technology derived from the GSM standard, and operates on the Garuda 1 high-frequency satellite, covering 23 countries in Asia. Price: Rs 60,000 Availability: http://www.kumaar.com/gizmos/satellite-modem.html
E-book reader: Read between files
You can load your iPod (or lesser player) with all the songs and movies that you'll ever want, but how many books can you pack without your luggage giving way? And if all you want to do on your vacation is stretch out and catch up on the reading, how can you not pack all those tomes? Get an e-book reader and go on a downloading spree. Legal books can be had from Amazon and similar sites, but if you want junk, try file-sharing sites like Rapidshare,which have libraries full ofbooks for the taking.Price: $300 (Sony, available online)
Schmap: More than a map
Don't bother carting your Rough Guide or Lonely Planet. Get Schmap, the digital travel guide, on your mobile or laptop. It's detailed, gives you maps, is in colour, shows you important landmarks and even has widgets to show big concerts or matches in the area. Did we mention that it's free? The World Schmap with 200 guides takes 338 MB, but those for individual cities are smaller, around 7 MB. Maps are available for most cities in Europe, North America and Australasia. Go to http://www.schmap.com/ and start travelling.
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