April might have been the “cruelest month” for poet T.S. Eliot, but when it comes to planning and executing a business trip or the perfect summer getaway, June runs a close second. Whether the travel is work related (a summer conference, perhaps), personal—or a mix of both—with so many recent industry changes (airline, rail, auto rentals, hotels), it’s often hard to keep track. And that could prove costly in terms of time, energy, and money.One of the toughest tasks for travelers, however, is deciding what to take. For those who can’t seem to leave the office behind, the trip can seem daunting. Although we can’t promise that you won’t have an occasional hiccup along the way, we want to make sure that getting “there” — wherever your destination might be — doesn’t involve slogging through a wasteland of unnecessary products. Black Enterprise has assembled a mélange of lightweight, easy-to-use tools—some no heavier than an Android app—to help ease the journey.
If you like all-inclusive deals, you’ll love the
($949–$1,099). The Satellite features a 13.3-inch multitouch screen, an LED backlit keyboard, and a USB sleep-and-charge port that lets you charge your other devices from the laptop. The 1.1-inch thick portable weighs less than 5 pounds and runs Microsoft’s Windows 7. Toshiba Satellite Pro U500 laptop
These days, digital devices have become a bit touchy-feely. The
($999) digital camcorder is no exception. The flash-memory camcorder features a 3.5-inch LCD touch screen for easy navigation and focus, a 10-inch optical zoom lens, and face detection features. The HF S200 takes up to a 32GB SDHC (secure digital high capacity) memory card (not included in the box). Canon Vixia HF S200
AKG’s ($119.95), in-ear headphones are deceptively powerful. The lightweight headphones feature in-line volume control and deliver quality sound. The K319 also ships with an airline adapter so you can better enjoy in-flight entertainment. K319
Chill Pill’s Mobile Speakers ($49.99); let you have big fun along the way. The speakers pack a powerful sound in a tiny, portable 2- by-4-inch form. Retractable USB cables (included) mean they won’t get tangled—and you can use the cables to charge your iPod and iPhone from the speakers. Chill Pill’s Rapcap Mini Microphone ($14.99) for the iPod lets you capture and save in WAV format for easy playback.
If your travels take you off the beaten path, consider
($199.99). This “four-proof” (water-, freeze-, shock- and dust-) digital camera—lets you capture your adventures without stress. The 12.2-megapixel digital camera features 6.3x digital zoom and comes in a variety of cool colors. Fujifilm’s FinePix XP10
Navigon has set the bar really high with its
for the iPhone ($79.99, App Store). Of special note is Reality Pro view, which lets you see realistic displays of freeway exchanges, single-click “take-me-home” function, and the ability to broadcast location and ETA via Facebook and Twitter. Mobile Navigator is also compatible with the iPod touch and iPad. MobileNavigator
Whether you’re road-tripping locally or internationally, consider
(Free). This mobile app for crowd-sourced traffic information is the equivalent of several thousand good buddies looking out for you on the road. Think of it as Twitter for drivers. “Wazers” will alert you to speed traps, accidents, and road conditions that might adversely affect your travel. You can access Waze on your iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and other smart devices. Waze
Foursquare (Free). At press time, Foursquare had pretty much cornered the market on location-based social networking. The service lets you use your mobile device to “check in” to various locations, earning badges and street cred along the way. Looking for a hip and happening lounge in the ATL? Ask the crowd, then head over and check in. If you’re lucky, you might be declared “mayor”—briefly.