5 Gadgets to Make Business Travel a Little Easier

We all have to suffer through endless delays, security patdowns and cramped airplane seats. But the right tech toys can make your stay at the airport and time in the air a little more enjoyable.

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Are we there yet? The right gadgets can make business travel a lot easier.Flying used to be synonymous with glamor. Pilots and flight attendants exuded cool. Air travelers knew they were in for free pillows and perhaps a splash of champagne along the way. Today's reality means that fliers fork over hard-earned money for baggage fees, waste away in long TSA lines, put up with pat downs and then get crammed into a tight seat with a packet of peanuts -- if they're lucky. But business travelers can take a little of the sting out of air travel by harnessing the right technology. Check out these gadgets, apps and accessories designed to make the skies a little friendlier again.

Balanzza Mini

Get your flight started on the right foot long before you ever step into the airport. The Balanzza Mini is a handheld digital scale that can weigh luggage up to 100 pounds. Hook it up to your bag, lift up, wait for the beep and take note of the weight. You can even put it to work weighing the occasional parcel at the office. The highly portable Mini weighs less than a quarter of a pound, so you can pack it with you and keep your souvenir purchases under the weight limit for the return flight. ($24.95)

Apple iPad 2

It's new. It's hot. It's a friendly business buddy. (See Using the iPad for Business: 5 Things You Need to Know.) The new FaceTime app and cameras available on the newest iPad mean you can pull off a video conference over Wi-Fi at the airport. Best of all, the TSA has declared that small gadgets like iPads don't need to be removed from your bag or case for checkpoint screenings. ($499 to $829)

TripIt

TripIt started off as a popular website for getting your travel itinerary under control. Pretty soon, it evolved to include mobile app versions for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. TripIt is easy to get started with. Forward your travel confirmation e-mails to plans@tripit.com, import e-mails directly from your inbox and sync your calendar. TripIt aggregates and organizes the information to help you stay on track during your travels. Itineraries can be shared through e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. (free for basic version)

Victorinox Big Ben with Security Fast Pass

From the same people who make Swiss Army knives comes the Big Ben with Security Fast Pass checkpoint-friendly laptop bag and backpack. It doesn't look flashy and it won't tip thieves off to the fact that you're carrying a $1,500 laptop inside. The bag opens up flat for easy x-ray, and a padded Fast Pass compartment with a side zipper holds up to a 15.4" laptop. An added bonus is the Swiss Tracker Bag Tracking Program. A worldwide toll-free number and unique identification for each bag means your chances of being reunited with a lost bag are greatly improved. ($280)

Adidas SLVR S-M-L Shoes

Can a pair of shoes make a difference in your flying experience? Adidas has designed these concept shoes specifically for making it through the TSA gauntlet. The four-way stretch mesh upper is easy on and easy off, so you can quickly ditch your kicks at the checkpoint. The "S-M-L" part of the name indicates that these are only available in three unisex sizes. Sure, the athletic styling doesn't exactly scream, "I'm a business professional," but you can always pack these lightweight shoes away and put on your Oxfords right before that big meeting. ($140)

Tags: Adidas, Apple iPad 2, Balanzza Mini, Business Trends, iPad 2, travel, travel gadgets, travel tips, TripIt, Victorinox Big Ben

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