Plane Quiet

Plane Quiet

We now travel with so many gadgets, especially for long flights, we were hesitant to carry one more. The number of times we sat near screaming babies or obnoxious neighbors convinced us this was one item worth carrying if it reduced the intensity of the surrounding noises. It did.

The comfortable headset with an adjustable padded head band and padded over-the-ear cups, reduced the amount and sharpness of airplane engine and other sounds. It also improved the sound of the airplane audio so it was easier to hear and to distinguish words and sounds. An unexpected bonus was the ability to connect the Plane Quiet headset to our iPod player. The sound was excellent. The on and off button was easy to use and the volume control provided a broad range of sounds audible even with the airplane and surrounding noises.

RedOxx Safari-Beanos Bag PR6

RedOxx Safari-Beanos Bag PR6

We chose the RedOxx Safari-Beanos Bag PR6 because it was spacious enough to be used as a main check in luggage bag, yet narrow enough and tall enough to still fit into a charter plane luggage space for our trip to Africa. It is a soft sided bag made of durable 1000 weight urethane coated Dupont certified Cordura nylon. We particularly liked that all zippers are self-locking and the seams are double stitched. Our khaki colored bag was easy to carry and to handle.

The Amazon – Bradt Travel Guide

The Amazon – Bradt Travel Guide

We found this book exceptionally informative. It was actually two guides in one. The first part was a fascinating 160-page treasure trove of information about the flora, fauna, cultures and socio-political events that shaped the Amazonian world, including a number of vignettes on history, climate and current ecological challenges. Additionally, it provided us with a wealth of realistic facts on topics ranging from health issues to what to pack for a visit to the area. We found it an invaluable resource in planning our recent visit to the Western Amazon. We subsequently had daily opportunities to be glad that we had followed the authors’ sound practical advice on clothing, footwear and personal necessities selection. This enabled us to travel more comfortably, and lighter than we ever thought possible.

National Geographic Atlas of the World

National Geographic Atlas of the World

In addition to page after page of fabulous maps there are three square feet of information including 75 political and physical maps, satellite photos, and a 134-page index in the latest edition of the famous National Geographic world atlas. Last updated five years ago, the eighth edition emphasizes North American maps. It is divided geographically starting on page 25 as follows: North America (22 pages, p25-47), South America (five pages, p48-53), Europe (14 pages, p54-68), Asia (13 pages, p69-82), Africa (five pages, p83-88), and Australia and Oceania (five pages, p89-94). With as many as 8,000 labels per map plate, the Atlas is one of the most detailed in the world. National Geographic editorial staff made use of the geographic information system and data sources such as the United Nations, U.S. State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Airplay by XtremeMac

Airplay by XtremeMac

We wanted to be able to listen to music or audio books on our car stereo speakers when traveling with our iPod. This was possible with the Airplay, a tiny FM transmitter. It transmitted our iPod music on the FM channel of our choice allowing us to listen to music on our car FM stereo player.

We started by attaching the Airplay device to the top of our standard 20GB iPod player. No batteries are required to operate the Airplay because it uses power from the iPod. We then pressed the buttons to select a frequency, and started listening to music on our FM radio within minutes of getting the Airplay. The Airplay has its own small backlit LCD readout that allowed us to see which frequency we had selected.

Jawbone Noise Reduction Headset

Jawbone Noise Reduction Headset

The stylish Jawbone made by Aliph, a noise reduction headset for mobile phones, relies on the kind of technology pilots use to help them hear over plane engine noise (at much higher cost). This ergonomically designed headset with a cheek sensor employs electronics that actively listen to the background noise and reduce it by subtracting it out of the microphone signals, adjusting to ambient noise at a rate of 500 times per second. The Jawbone model we tested made it easier to hear and to be heard in noisy environments than would be possible with traditional microphones, headsets and speakers. One of the reasons this was possible is that the Jawbone we tried had two microphones (most headsets have one), including a jaw sensor for speech vibrations.