It doesn't take much to get excited about the latest tech toys for travelers. Gadgets like the new Palm VII offer cool features such as a two-way radio for wireless communications. And laptop computers offer more bells and whistles, too. Take, for instance, Gateway's Solo 3100, which comes with a DVD II drive for those long plane flights.
Despite the attraction of these tech toys, travelers have not neglected the humble day-planner. It requires no batteries, is easy to read and is the epitome of user-friendly. Plus, with a starting price of about $20, it's a bargain compared to gadgets that can cost thousands of dollars.
It may be a contrary thing to do: A recent study by Newton, Massachusetts, market researchers Cahners In-Stat Group predicts that by 2003, worldwide wireless handset sales will nearly double. And Forrester Research Inc. expects U.S. personal computer industry revenues to peak at $55 billion this year.
But the day-planner is holding its own, thank you very much. Although sales are just a fraction of their electronic rivals, planners continue to clear the shelves at a brisk pace, according to retailers.
"I think it's too early to talk about the demise of the [planner]," says Alla Schonfeld of Worldtraveler.com, a Web site that sells corporate and noncorporate travel accessories. "Even though we're living in the age of computers, travelers still want to feel something. They want to touch something. Sometimes they feel more comfortable reading their own handwriting instead of a computer's."
And there are still a few tricks that neither a laptop nor a PDA is capable of, like carrying your credit cards, checkbook and airline tickets. A top-of-the line Bosca planner, priced at around $200, will easily last you 20 years, adds Schonfeld. Can you say that about your computer?
Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at http://www.elliott.org
Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.