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Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

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Small PresentsAs Christmas approaches, the gift-buying frenzy begins.

If you’ve got a global traveler on your list, the possiblities may seem to be endless.

Gadget guy Phil Baker offers up some standout gift ideas for travelers designed to assist you on the road and help make your traveling a little more enjoyable or productive.

Plus, there are devices that can help you travel safer, healthier, or even just with less stuff.

The YES Watch
Yes Watch Zulu The YES World Watch is one of the most unusual watch designs ever created, and is of particular interest to world travelers. It combines digital and graphic displays with a 24-hour hand to display an array of usual information.

It shows three time zones simultaneously, graphically displays the sunrise and sunset for any city, and displays the moonphase, moonrise and moonset. It has a stop-watch with lap-time, alarm with snooze, countdown timer, and backlight. It’s programmed for 600 cities worldwide and automatically adjusts for daylight savings time. It comes in a variety of styles; the one I prefer is the titanium Zulu model for $895.

Slingbox SOLO
Slingbox’s latest model allows you to watch and control your favorite TV or TiVo, including HD content, from anywhere in the world on your notebook or cell phone. You’ll need a high-speed connection (WiFi or 3G), but there are no monthly charges, just the cost for the device (about $180). It works with Mac, Windows PC, Windows Mobile, Palm Treo, or Symbian phone. Handheld software costs $30 extra.

Zoom H2 Audio Recorder
This is an amazing digital recorder for recording business meetings or concerts ($199) with four microphones for 360-degree recording. It records audio at better than CD quality onto SD memory cards. The files can be transferred and stored on a PC thru its USB 2.0 connection. The H2 provides up to two hours recording at 96kHz, six hours at 44.1kHz, and 138 hours in MP3 using a 4GB memory card.

Tamrac Adventure Camera/Notebook Backpack
One of the challenges of traveling with a large DSLR camera and a notebook computer is finding a travel bag that holds and protects both. One excellent solution is the Adventure 9 photo/computer backpack from Tamrac ( It’s designed to hold a pro digital SLR fitted with up to a five-inch lens, as well as extra lenses and a flash. In addition it has a padded compartment to hold a notebook with a screen as large as 17 inches plus other compartments for accessories, books and files. $150.

Lightning-Strike personal protection system
Lightning Strike Protection System The Lightning-Strike personal protection system is a small, yet blinding 65-lumen LED flashlight constructed of aluminum and a separate 100dB personal alarm. The flashlight has three modes, high, low and strobe. Brite-Strike makes some of the best-constructed and brightest flashlights available, and this new product is their lowest-priced unit yet. Set costs $79.

Digital Premium Pedometer (HJ-112)
The Omron Digital Premium Pedometer measures distance walked. It works in a pocket clipped to your belt or even in a bag. It resets each day and records seven days of data. A bargain at just $20, it’s a great way to monitor your walking and encourage you to meet a goal.

Chargepod recharger
The Chargepod is charging device that allows you to charge six devices at once, including cell phones, iPods, and most other mobile electronics. It consists of a disc with six connectors and a single AC power block. Plug in the short adapter cables from the company or use the USB cables that come with many of your products. $50 plus about $10 per cable.

By Phil Baker for Phil writes a weekly technology column for the San Diego Transcript at Read Phil’s blog at

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