Interactive Traveler: PDAs & Cellphones, Round-the-world Trips
A Marriage Made in Heaven
The PDA and the cell phone, finally in a single package
For a while now, many cell phones have had some capabilities of the PDA (a date book, for example), but there were no true hybrids. Enter the load-lightening PDA phone. For those who still want a full-sized PDA, the Handspring VisorPhone (www.handspring.com; Visor from $149, phone module from $199) is ideal; it's a standard Visor PDA, which runs on Palm OS software, simply combined with a special GSM phone attachment. If you don't mind a smaller screen, consider the Kyocera QCP 6035 (www.kyocera-wireless.com; $399) or the Ericsson R380 World (www.ericsson.com; $600). The former uses Palm software but is clunkier; the lighter, slimmer Ericsson synchronizes only with certain PC applications, including MS Outlook and Lotus Notes. New this month is the stylishly silver Samsung SPH-I300 (www.samsungusa.com; $500), which is Palm-compatible and fits in a shirt pocket. Besides all the usual PDA functions, it comes with voice memo and voice dial features, and a large eight-bit color screen.
When One Stop Is Not Enough
Shopping for plane tickets on-line is usually pretty simple—as long as your itinerary is simple, too. But what if you have major globe-hopping in mind?Two lesser-known Web sites can help. Both specialize in complicated international airfares like round-the-world trips. And both can save you money.
AirTreks.com lets you custom-build complex itineraries with its TripPlanner software, and gives you an instant price quote for the entire ticket. It also has limited-time discounts on certain routes (a trip from Chicago to Bangkok, Singapore, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Amsterdam, and back was $2,150 at press time).
Log On, Hold The Fee
Sick of paying exorbitant international surcharges when connecting to your Internet service provider from abroad?A new company called MaGlobe (www.maglobe.com) lets you dial around the problem with prepaid Internet access in more than 5,000 locations. Simply download its autodialer program to your laptop before you leave; when you're traveling, choose your city from the pull-down list and you'll connect to the Internet via a local number. Packages start at $14.95 for three hours, an especially good deal if you're likely to be connecting from more-remote locales.