The Best in Travel Technology for 2012 |

In our technological times, the right piece of equipment can make business travel more efficient and even fun. With so much on the market, here’s an overview of some of the best-rated travel technology, including smartphones, tablets, e-readers and accessories to make travel in 2012 a little bit easier.

The future of the laptop is the Ultrabook. As the evolution of personal computers continues, notebooks keep getting smaller, thinner and lighter. Introducing the “ultrabook,” the favorite among many frequent travelers. The most popular remains the Apple MacBook Air for its performance, battery life and durable all-metal body. If you prefer to run Windows, opt instead for the lightweight Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U. Fans love its connectivity, touchpad usability, Ethernet networking jack, backlit keyboard and up to eight hours of battery life.

Smartphone wars: Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus. In 2011, Apple built on the success of the iPhone 4 with the iPhone 4S. The new 4S model has the same dual-core A5 processor that is in the iPad 2. The 4S’ camera is also notably upgraded to 8MP, with a seven-time increase in graphical processing power.

One unit giving Apple a run for their money is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus features new Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” software, a comparatively large 4.65 inch screen and comfortable, yet elegant design. Another cool feature is the virtual buttons which relocate themselves, no matter how you hold the phone. Also, check out the Android Beam feature which lets you share contacts, Web pages, video clips and even apps.

Best tablet: Again, Apple vs. Samsung. Look around any airport, and you’ll see the growing popularity of tablets. One of the most popular is Apple’s iPad 2. Similar in many ways to last year’s groundbreaking iPad, the mach 2 version is thinner and sleeker and features a new dual core A5 CPU with boosted memory and a pair of new cameras. Cool for travelers: the FaceTime feature that allows face-to-face video calls to someone else’s iPad 2, iPhone, iPod touch or Mac.

Also worth mentioning is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. If size and weight matter to you, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lighter and thinner than the Apple iPad 2, and offers Android Honeycomb version 3.1 and a 7000mAh battery for all-day tablet use.

Best e-reader: Can’t go wrong with the Kindle. If you’re in the market for an e-reader, you can’t go wrong with the Amazon Kindle 3G for $139. The lightweight, pocket-sized reader offers a week-long battery life, sharp display and global 3G access, so there is no wireless connection or international data fee needed to download e-books. Also worth mentioning is Amazon’s Kindle store which features more than one million books, newspapers, magazines and blogs, downloadable in under a minute.

Best in accessories. When you’re on the road, accessories such as a phone charger and wireless router are necessary, not just nice-to-have. For chargers, MyBlueBoost boasts an impressive 12 to 16 hours lifespan and is available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, as well as a universal version, for around $40.

And when public Wi-Fi is an issue, you’ll be glad to have the Belkin F5D7233 Wireless-G Travel Router, which helps you set up personal Wi-Fi with home-quality Internet speed. It also allows service to multiple devices at once and comes with Belkin’s Easy Install Wizard and Lifetime Warranty.

Before buying any device or accessory, make sure you do your due diligence and read plenty of objective reviews before making a purchase.

Get the Best Business Travel Hotel Discounts |

Every company is looking for hotel discounts as tough economic conditions continue. But it can be time-consuming and difficult to find the best business lodging rates that will save your company money.

And how do you know you’re getting the best deal?

That task gets easier when your company signs up for and use a business lodging savings card.

It’s available to any size company, whether you have one traveler or several. The best part is that it will save a company’s business travelers every time they check in to a hotel. It gives access to 20 to 40 percent savings off hotels’ lowest published rates.

Typical candidates for this service are workforce travelers who use their cars or truck to get to their job sites and who prefer discounts when they stay in economy or midscale hotels.

Companies with crews, drivers, field service representatives, maintenance teams and other employees who travel can participate. The size of the company doesn’t matter, either. It can be a sole proprietor business or a company that has a few or lots of employees.

These cards offer several advantages for low-cost travel, including the fact that there are no minimum usage requirements. That makes a business savings card great for workforce travelers on per diem or who have a lot of seasonal travel.

Who uses these cards to save on business lodging? To name just a few enthusiastic supporters: truckers, pilot car companies, construction firms, alternative energy installation crews, well and drilling companies, artists who travel the festival circuit, traveling salespeople and more.

Many companies find that they can save thousands of dollars annually with a lodging card.