Digital Crave

How to stay sane while traveling: Five recommended high-tech companions

Digital Crave

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Money? Check. Identification? Yep. Packed suitcase? Uh huh.

The necessities of summer travel haven't changed much over the years, but a number of high-tech toys can help make your road trips or airport adventures hassle-free.

That is, whether you're planning a trip for business, pleasure or a bit of both, today's digital devices can help you stay productive, entertained and in touch with friends, family and coworkers back home.

If you remember the three important L's of travel tech — little, lightweight and long battery life — you're off to a fine start.

And here's a look at a few great gadgets for travel season.

Power play

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There's nothing worse than seeing that flashing battery icon on your gadgets -- especially when traveling and you're nowhere near an AC plug. The Fūl Powerbag Sling ($139.99) is a stylish backpack to keep your tech organized and protected, and it can charge up your devices thanks to its built-in lithium-ion battery. Simply connect your smartphone, iPod, camera, e-book reader, tablet or GPS to one of its multiple connectors (Apple, microUSB, mini USB and full-sized female USB port), press the large button and it does its thing. Available in multiple colors, the Powerbag itself plugs into the wall when you need to charge it up for the next day.

Cake and eat it, too

Tablets are svelte, turn on right away and last all day on a single charge. But what if you need a keyboard to do long-form typing while on the plane? Or perhaps you prefer a larger screen for the kids to watch movies? Have the best of both worlds with the Dell XPS 13 (from $999), an incredibly thin and  carbon fiber "ultrabook" that weighs just under 3 pounds -- yet it boasts a stunning 13.3-inch HD screen with edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass for extra durability. Under the hood is a second-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, Intel HD 3000 video graphics and 4GB of system memory (RAM) for speedy performance. And with nearly 9 hours of battery life, this ultrabook won't likely conk out until you do.

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Know when to fold 'em

Aptly named the Origami stroller by 4moms, this high-tech stroller might provide to be a godsend on family trips with young kids. Why? Simply push a button to collapse or open the stroller. And no, sleep-deprived parents can't accidentally start the contraption when your baby or toddler is still in the seat -- a sensor can detect if someone is sitting there. And you can leave the power supply at home as the stroller's built-in battery recharges itself up when you push the stroller — and it also juices up your smartphone, if desired, and powers a light under the stroller for nighttime walks. Interested? Bring your wallet, as the Origami costs $849.99.

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Sound advice

The Sculpted Eers (from $169.99) by Sonomax are the first earphones in the world that you can buy off the shelf (or order online) and then are custom-fit to your own ears. That is, you first need to wear a small contraption, release liquid silicone into your ears to take a mold, and four minutes later you've got a perfect fit and clear, well-balanced sound. OK, so it sounds funky, and feels a bit weird, but it's perfectly safe and required (once) to form to your ears. Thanks to a microphone on the cord, these black earbuds can also be used to place or accept a call when plugged into a smartphone. A carrying pouch is also included.

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Splish splash

Heading to a pool, beach or cottage this summer? Consider most of the fun happens in or around water, a waterproof camera is a must-have gadget. The Olympus Tough TG-820 iHS ($299.99) is a 12-megapixel camera with 5 times optical zoom, intelligent image stabilization and the ability to shoot 1080p HD videos at 30 frames per second (or to capture fast motion, 720p HD video at 60 frames per second). Available in multiple colors, this camera can be taken up to 33 feet deep, and is drop-proof to 6.6 feet, crushproof to 220 pounds, freezeproof to 14°F (-10 degrees Celsius) and is dustproof, too.

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Weight a sec

Avoid the embarrassing surprise of the "luggage shuffle" at the airport, where you must shift the contents between two or more suitcases to avoid the excess weight charge. Instead, the Balanzza Mini ($24.95) is a small digital luggage scale that lets you easily weigh your luggage at home or at the hotel before heading to the airport. Simply attach the strap to your luggage, use the handle to lift it up with one or two hands and hold it until you hear a beep. Dubbed the "lightest scale in the world," the Balanzza Mini can weigh up to 100 pounds (44 kilograms).

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Eye in the sky

Just because you're away from your home doesn't mean you can't keep an eye on it. The Lorex Wireless DVR camera system (model # LWL104-2PK; $429.99) is an easy to install DIY bundle that consists of two wireless cameras to mount in or outside of your home and a 500GB digital video recorder (DVR) that can archive all the footage (up to four cameras). With the free smartphone and tablet app for iOS and Android devices, log in to view live or precorded video — anywhere in the world, as long as you have the password -- or check in on your home and its contents on any Internet-connected computer.

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