You’ve got sunscreen, beach towels, and a cooler filled with beverages. Now pack it all in an electronically savvy tote bag that doesn’t just carry your iPod—it actually plays it. Or grab one of the many portable speaker systems that let you dock your iPod or other player and dance on the beach. As electronic components get smaller, quality audio systems are easier to take on road trips, to the beach or weekend cottages, or just out to your own backyard.
The Felicidade Groove Bag Plus with integrated speakers is one of the more stylish options. The white, faux-leather tote has a sleek pocket designed to hold an iPod. Plug the player into the bag’s speakers and you have quality sound loud enough to rock any party. There is also a range of boom-box-type systems that let you dock a player and share your tunes. The Harman Kardon Go+Play Boombox for iPods is not for the timid, but it provides powerful sound in a sleek and modern package. Or try a portable radio with player dock. Tivoli’s SongBook radio and iSongBook player are encased in rubber, making them ideal for beach or poolside.
Remember, when buying electronic devices, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Some systems work only with either Apple or non-Apple products. Check product specifications or take your player with you when shopping, and ask a sales associate to help.
Taking a road trip? Portable media players like iPhones let you download movies or TV shows from home to take on the road. If you have a hard-drive recorder such as TiVo at home, transfer content to a portable media device or download content from iTunes to a video iPod for viewing on the small screen. Simply attach the portable device to the TV at your destination for a more cinematic experience.
Summer is also a time to retreat and recharge your own internal batteries. Create a personal cocoon in the midst of chaos with quality noise-canceling headphones. You don’t even need music; just activating the power and the noise-canceling function helps neutralize external noise.
Listen to an audio book or indulge in one of the electronic readers that hold hundreds of books at one time. Lighten the load and stimulate the mind.
There’s no need to be overwhelmed by cords and chargers. Newer products come with a universal USB cable. Pick up an inexpensive adapter that lets you charge devices in the car or through an electrical outlet, paring everything down to one cord and one or two adapters. This solution won’t power a laptop, but it will charge portable devices. If you’re using older products not powered by USB, consider a universal charger like the iGo, which offers product-specific tips that connect to a single power cord. There will be multiple tips to fit different products, but one cord.
For total organization, follow the lead of Matt Swanston, a Washington, D.C., tech expert: Convert a toiletry kit to personal technology storage. Separate chargers, cords, media cards, flash drives, and even DVDs in the clear plastic compartments, then pack for tangle-free easy access.