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For many of us, business means travel. Lots of travel. Riding in crowded airplanes, sleeping in strange beds and adapting to new schedules. Fortunately, you can find plenty of gadgets that make business travel easier, more pleasant and more productive - if you know where to look. We know where to look.
These must-have gadgets for business travel make the getting there less stressful, quieting the plane trip, making the hotel room feel more like home, waking you up to familiar music, and giving your work more impact.
Sony MDR-NC200D Noise-Canceling Headphones
With the "artificial intelligence" feature turned on, the Sony MDR-NC200D Noise-Cancelling Headphones analyze the ambient sound and select the proper listening mode automatically: airplane, train or bus, or office. (They also have a Monitor button so you can hear the flight attendant ask what kind of snack you want.) You can also turn off the noise cancellation and use the MDR-NC200Ds as a regular pair of headphones to save the battery. With an 8-23,000 Hz frequency range, they'll sound fine either way. And for easy packing, they fold up into a travel case that includes an airplane adapter and a battery.
Lingo World Traveler TR-4400 Language Translator
If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium. Or maybe it's Tokyo, or Moscow. Be prepared with the Lingo World Traveler TR-4400 Language Translator, which can translate 880,000 words and 100,000 phrases in 44 languages, from Arabic to Vietnamese. Besides translating words, it will also translate measurements, currency, and even clothing and shoe sizes. And in case you find yourself someplace they speak English, it includes the New Oxford American Dictionary.
XtremeMac 3-in-1 Microdock
When checking into a new hotel room, there's nothing like your own music to make you feel at home. The XtremeMac 3-in-1 Microdock turns your iPod or iPhone (4s and earlier) into a music player and an alarm clock (as well as charging it), complete with a physical snooze button. XtremeMac's free Alarm Clock app adds such features as the ability to wake to specific songs and a night setting for the display that keeps it dim until it's time to wake up.
iHome Portable Alarm Clock Stereo
Owners of phones without available docks - that is, travelers with Blackberries or Android phones or new iPhone 5's - can use the iHome Portable Alarm Clock Sterio Speark With USB Charging Dock for Smartphones to bring a touch of home to their hotel rooms. Besides providing a pair of speakers, it has a USB charging port and comes with a USB-to-micro USB cable. iHome also has a Sleep app (for iPhones as well as Android devices) that provides custom alarms and sleep stats as well as the ability to catch up on your social network feeds and check the local weather before you even get out of bed.
Scosche flipSync Charge & Sync Cable
With today's tech, access to USB connectivity for charging and syncing is a must. Rather than round up a bunch of messy cables, just carry the Scosche flipSync Charge & Sync cable, which snaps regular USB, micro USB and mini USB connectors into a little plastic case that hangs on your keychain. The company also makes a version with a regular USB connector paired with a classic (30-pin) iPhone dock.
Kindle Fire HD
Whether you're reading to pass the time on the plane or reviewing business documents in your hotel, peering at your phone's tiny screen gets old fast. At the same time, a full-sized tablet like the iPad, Galaxy Tab or Microsoft Surface is bulky and expensive. The Kindle Fire HD, on the other hand, comes in at a portable 7.6-x-5.4 inches, weights two-thirds as much as a full-size tablet, and costs a relatively modest $199. You can buy books or rent movies from Amazon, and load documents in formats from PDF and TXT to DOC and JPEG.
Aaxa P4 Pico Projector
A lot of (sometime it seems like most) business trips center on presentations and conference rooms. Rather than hope your hosts have a projector and worry about fiddling with connecting your computer, you can control the whole situation if you bring along the tiny little Aaxa P4 Pico Projector . Not only does it let you easily connect your PC or Mac (or iPad or iPhone, with the proper adapter), it also lets you transfer video, image or music files. (It can also read files from a micro SD card or USB flash drive.) After that, you can show your stuff just using the P4, with no need for a computer.
Plantronics Explorer 390 Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headset
Your own car might have built-in Bluetooth for hands-free phone use while driving. But you can't count on a rental having the same capability. Better to travel with your own headset just in case, and the now-discontinued Plantronics Explorer 390 fills the bill at a bargain price. It can do voice-activated dialing if your phone supports it and has WindSmart technology to cut down on wind and other external noise. The package also includes a wall charger and a car cradle/charger.