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Top 5 vacation gadgetsWondering what gadgets to bring on vacation and what to leave at home? CNET's Donald Bell counts down five must-have vacation technologies.
Your vacation should be a time to take a break from all the stress of everyday life. You put your email on auto-reply, unplug the Google chip from your brain, and live like a human being -- at least, for a little while. But while you may be tempted to go full-on Walden and renounce all technology during your trip, there are actually some useful gadgets to bring with you that will make your vacation even better, so long as you exercise some restraint. Im Donald Bell, and in this Top 5 Im counting down the Top 5 gadgets you should take on vacation. Starting off at #5: a Bluetooth speaker. Whether you're relaxing by the pool or just cheap drinking wine from a plastic cup in a skeevy motel room, a nice, rechargeable Bluetooth speaker can be the icing on the cake. Our favorite right now is the JBL Charge, which not only packs a great sound in a small package but it also has a USB port for charging your other gadgets. Plus, the 11 hours of battery life is more than enough to keep your impromptu hot tub dance party going for awhile, even if it's just in your mind. At #4: a compact camera. Your cell phone camera is great for capturing the mundane details of your daily life, but your vacation photos deserve better. I mean, do you want it to look like he trip of a lifetime or a trip down the street? Our top compact camera pick is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC- RX100. Carl Zeiss lens, 1080p video recording and you can snap photos in RAW so you can retouch them later for maximum Facebook envy. Coming in at #3: an e-reader. And not just any e-reader -- one of those newfangled backlit e-readers that let you read in the dark. Jet lag throws me so out of whack that I'm always the one awake when everyone else is asleep. If that sounds like you, then this is your best friend. Whether it's a Kindle Paperwhite or a Nook Simple Reader with GlowLight, you can read these things in broad daylight or total darkness and never run out of books. They stay charged for weeks, they take up practically no space, and you just feel smarter having one, even if you can't figure out how to turn it on. Whatever you do, don't forget #2: headphones. Some of you single jet setters may not be able to appreciate this, but sometimes the vacation you need most is a vacation away from your beautiful, loving, constantly yapping family. For total isolation, step up to the Bose Quiet Comfort 15. $300 buys you the best in plush, active noise-cancelling fidelity. But if your vacation is more of the drink too many margaritas by the pool until the police escort you back to your room for becoming too belligerent and completely naked -- then you may need option you can afford to misplace. At just $10, the Panasonic ErgoFit offer decent sound for the money and come in number of Mardi Gras bead-matching colors. What to leave behind: -Laptop. Go tablet if you must. Alright, now before we get to the #1 vacation gadget must-have: lets talk about the #1 gadget you should avoid bringing at all cost: your laptop. Not only does this thing symbolically represent your work life and everything youre trying to get away from, its also a total power hog. Laptops have terrible battery life compared to most mobile gadgets, and recharging them means bringing along one of these [power brick] -- not to mention the possibility of a foreign power adapter and the stress of wondering if it will get stolen. Just leave it at home. Okay, and now the #1 vacation gadget and something we should all be thankful for in our everyday lives: a smartphone. Now this goes with a grain of salt because a smartphone can also be your #1 vacation distraction -- but when you need directions, or need some restaurant recommendations, or just need to Instagram your obligatory vacation sunset picture, youre going to need your smartphone. Our top pick at the moment is the Samsung Galaxy S4, so if youve been sitting on an upgrade, go treat yourself before you head out and have a blast road testing the thing on vacation. Now thats some serious nerd fun. So there you go, 5 gadgets with jamming into your carry-on luggage before you head out on your exotic vacation. If you want to see some serious road testing, go check out Always On with Molly Wood. And for more Top 5s like this, Top5.CNET.com. Im Donald Bell, thanks for watching.