Open your eyes: everything is about to change for travelers

One of the most popular cameras on the number one photo-sharing site isn’t a camera at all. It’s the Apple iPhone. I mention this for two reasons. First, because a new iPhone is being released June 19. And second, because it now includes a feature that promises to change the way we travel: a video camera.

Vexed by the Canon Vixia HFS10, but it can still travel with me — as long as it behaves

I wanted to like the Canon Vixia HFS10. I really did. I own two Canon cameras — the mercurial Canon 1D Mark III and the forgiving Canon EOS 40D — but when it comes to video, I’ve always shot Sony. Still, the HFS10 looked like the ideal travel companion. It was compact, light, had a terrific lens and most important of all, it seemed easy to use. But looks can be a little deceiving.

Tariff trouble: Is my airline itinerary illegal?

It’s no secret that fare rules — the all-uppercase gibberish you often see on the bottom of your computer screen when buying your ticket — are designed to make your airline a few extra bucks. Some of so-called tariff rules require a Saturday night stay. Others insist you use both halves of the ticket.

Here’s a wireless headset you’ll actually want to pack

When it comes to wireless headsets, I had all but given up on finding something usable for my travels. The leading products are too bulky, uncomfortable or deliver inferior sound quality. I preferred the cheap wired unit that comes with my iPhone 3G. Then I tested the Plantronics Voyager Pro and now I can say there is hope.

The tablet PCs are turning

Late last year, Cox Communications in Omaha, Neb., needed new computers for its field technicians. In the past, the telecommunications company had chosen laptops over newfangled tablet PCs, the so-called next generation of portable computing. But after inspecting the new Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 ($3,200) computer, a durable shock- and water-resistant gadget that resmbles an oversized personal digital assistant, the company had a change of heart. “As far as we’re concerned, the tablet represents the future of computing,” says spokeswoman Lisa Turner.

Online travel, version 2.0

Finding an affordable plane ticket or hotel room used to be a no-brainer for Beth Bowers, a software trainer in Cassopolis, Mich. She would click on an all-purpose travel Web site like Expedia or Orbitz and routinely find the lowest rates. But lately she’s noticed that the bargains aren’t as abundant. “I can find the same prices – and sometimes better ones – when I go directly to the airline or hotel Web sites,” she says.

Cool holiday tech toys

Peter Shankman is scaling down his holiday wish list. In years past, clients lavished expensive tech toys, such as the newest PalmPilot, on him. But, lately, gifts have been more modest: an optical mouse engraved with a company logo. “Business travelers and the people giving them gifts are more price-conscious this year,” says the Manhattan marketing consultant. “They aren’t expecting anything extravagant. They’ll settle for something practical.”

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