When F. Scott Fitzgerald posited that the very rich are different from you and me, wasn’t it Hemingway who replied, “Yes, they have more expensive travel toys?” For this installment of Travel Gear, we spent some time daydreaming about what we’d throw in our suitcase if money were no object.
Travel offers wonderful opportunities for stargazing but it’s more fun if you know what you’re looking at. The Bushnell Voyager Telescope includes a talking handset similar to those used in museums. Just punch in your latitude and longitude and the handset tells you all about celestial objects in the night sky and how to find them with your 76mm reflector telescope. The Voyager is probably too bulky for your checked luggage so it’s best to take it as a carry on. About $150.
Don’t get lost
Your clients are honeymooning in Amsterdam and they can’t find the Van Gogh Museum. Right? Left? Straight? The TomTom Go GPS will point them in the right direction, whether they’re driving or hoofing it in Europe, the U.S. or Canada. The TomTom is easy to set up — just tap the screen to tell it what you want it to do. Street names are called out in a variety of languages and accents. (My fave is the British lad.) $499.95.
Don’t be left in the dark
It’s a moonless night on a South African game reserve. Your client hears the rustle of grass outside her tent. Is it a lion? An elephant? A neighbor stumbling back from the bar? These night-vision goggles from Yukon Optics use infrared illumination for clear viewing in total darkness. The goggles double as daytime binoculars; a head-gear accessory allows hands-free viewing. $449.99.
Hello from the North Pole
Whoever said talk is cheap probably never used a satellite phone. But if your client desperately needs to place a call during a natural disaster or from a remote location out of reach of cellular towers, it’s worth the expense. Iridium’s 66 low-Earth-orbiting satellites provide coverage over the entire globe (though North Korea blocks calls). Clients need to be aware that the Iridium is for outdoor use only; you need a clear line of sight to the sky and buildings and trees may obstruct calls. Features include voicemail and short messaging. Starts at $1,200-$1,500 for hardware and accessories.
A portable library
One of my biggest travel phobias is running out of good reading material, so I always end up packing too many books. My wish-list includes the Sony Reader, a hand-held digital device that holds 80 or so books readable on a six-inch screen with type that looks almost as good as ink on paper. Books can be purchased from Sony’s online store, which contains thousands of popular titles. Drawbacks: not Mac compatible and no back lighting for nighttime reading. $299.99.www.sonystyle.com