Vacationers taking more gizmos with them

By Jim Carlton

Ah, the essentials of summer vacation: swimsuits, beach towels, sunglasses — and enough gadgets to fill an electronics superstore. These days, vacationers are stuffing their luggage with high-tech gear that makes it easier to entertain the kids, stay in touch with the office and find sights to see on the road. Technology is even creating handy new substitutes for some traditional travel items, like postcards and maps.

Travel companies are scrambling to accommodate all the gadgetry. Several international air carriers are beginning to offer Wi-Fi wireless networking on their flights, and hotels targeting leisure travelers are adding the service. The historic La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe, N.M., reports that Internet usage by its guests has doubled since it added Wi-Fi two years ago.

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