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Ask T+L: Ipods, 2-Hour Drives, Travel Insurance

Q: I'm addicted to my iPod, but the battery frequently dies on long flights, when I have no way to recharge it. Any suggestions?

—Elyse Montgomery, Los Angeles, Calif.

A: T+L associate editor Jennifer Cole is a big fan of the eco-friendly Solio hybrid charger (solio.com; $100) and recently took it along when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Charge it before you take off, or prop it in the plane window to capture rays while en route—one hour of sun equals one hour of music. Or, pick up a disposable charger from Cellboost (cellboost.com; $9.99), sold at most major airports. Simply plug it into your iPod and get an extra eight hours of playing time.

I've always wanted to drive California's Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but can't commit to a weeklong excursion. Can you recommend a great two-day itinerary?

—Ann Thompson, Washington, D.C.

Travel + Leisure editorial assistant Sarah Kantrowitz, a Californian by birth, just returned from her native state with the following tips.

Travel on weekdays, when there's less traffic, and drive from north to south, so your view of the shore is unobstructed. Start your adventure with an overnight at Half Moon Bay Inn (401 Main St.; 650/560-9758; halfmoonbayinn.com; doubles from $120), an hour's drive down Highway 1 from San Francisco. Most of the 14 Provençal-inspired rooms are outfitted with hand-tiled mirrors and dark oak furniture. In the morning, order the decadent French toast. Sixty miles south, on Santa Cruz's boardwalk, try the amazing blackened salmon and red snapper tacos at Olitas (49B Municipal Wharf; 831/458-9393; lunch for two $32), then hit the road for the four-hour drive through the redwoods of Big Sur. Photo ops and turnouts abound. Stop at the gray-sand beach of Limekiln State Park and watch the elephant seals sunning outside San Simeon. A night at the hacienda-style Avila La Fonda (101 San Miguel St.; 805/595-1700; doubles from $350) is a road-tripper's dream, with plush rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, and freshly baked cookies around the clock. Add on an extra day and drive to Santa Barbara for fresh Pacific Northwest oysters on the half shell at Santa Barbara FisHouse (101 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; 805/966-2112; sbfishhouse.com; lunch for two $20). Farther south, Highway 1 meanders past the pastel-colored, four-story row houses of Santa Monica and ends in the hills of Orange County's Dana Point.

My insurance plan doesn't cover all medical expenses incurred while traveling. What should I look for when buying additional coverage?

—Jonathan Baker, Nashville, Tenn.

Supplementary medical insurance may be purchased on a per-trip basis or annually (this can be less expensive if you travel frequently). Companies such as Travelex Insurance Services (800/228-9792; travelex-insurance.com) and AIG Travel Guard (800/826-4919; travelguard.com) sell packages that offer medical insurance along with baggage and flight coverage. Often included are emergency treatment and evacuation insurance—check with your provider. The price of packages is contingent upon the cost of the trip, the services covered, and your age. Evacuation plans can be purchased separately through MedjetAssist (800/527-7478; medjetassist.com): if you are hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, the company will provide a staffed medical aircraft to transport you to the hospital of your choice. To compare a range of policies, go to insuremytrip.com. ✚

E-Mail T+L Send your questions to asktandl@aexp.com or go to travelandleisure.com/ask to search the ask t+l archive for exclusive online advice. questions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space.

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