Consumer technology moves faster and faster each year. Just five years ago, the iPhone didn't exist. Just think about that for a minute. The pace of innovation in technology is one that has never before been rivaled, and it's convinced us to start a new recurring series where we discuss the gadgets and gizmos that we're frequently using to make our travel-filled lives a bit easier.
As for me, I'm usually swimming in gadgets. But being a gadget critic has shown me that exceptionally few gadgets actually have a lasting impact. Presently, the gadget I find myself using the most is Samsung's Galaxy Nexus. It's one of the cheapest high-end Android smartphones that you can buy in an unlocked fashion (enabling it to be used freely on all carriers around the globe), and it's bound to get even more affordable now that LG's Nexus 4 has taken its place atop Google's flagship pedestal. I adore my iPhone 4S, but there's no question that the Maps application in Android is superior. When it comes to getting me from Point A to Point B, I trust Google Maps implicitly.
I'm also using Monster's 4-plug Outlets To Go adapter. For $10, it's a remarkably great travel accessory to take along on any trip. For starters, it turns a single airport AC outlet into four outlets, instantly making you the best friend of other weary travelers desperate to find juice. Secondly, this is a huge asset for international travelers. All you need is a single power adapter for the country you're arriving in, and you'll be able to charge four devices from your homeland.
When it comes to staying connected while crisscrossing the United States, Verizon Wireless is my carrier of choice. It has the broadest data coverage of any of the national carriers, and it has the most areas blanketed by LTE – an ultrafast mobile Internet protocol. I don't leave the house without the Jetpack MiFi 4620L. It's one of the few MiFi units with an optional extended battery and a built-in LCD to show you the connection status.
Finally, there's my 13-inch MacBook Air. Yes, Apple just released a new "Retina" MacBook Pro for portable computer lovers, but the Air is still my top choice for avid road warriors. It's insanely light, and after holding both the Air and the new Pro, the Pro just feels like a small brick. I'm still amazed that Apple has managed to cram an entire computer (and a fast one at that!) into a sub-3 pound sliver of aluminum. It's powerful enough to handle all of your Office responsibilities, and it'll survive a flight from NYC to SFO on a single charge. It's easily the best computer I've ever used, all things considered, and it's a mainstay in my backpack.