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Satellite Phone

Distraction is Dangerous

Gadgets are great. But it's important to keep in mind that even few seconds of distracted driving can result in an accident. Studies have shown that using a cell phone, even a hands-free one, slows driver reaction time as much as a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent -- the legal limit. Is your conversation worth that level of risk? If you're driving, let the passengers handle the gadgets.

Everybody knows the frustration of dropping a cell phone connection. On long trips, especially to remote locations, it's likely to happen more than once. The solution is a satellite phone. Services like Iridium, Globalstar and Thurya provide coverage virtually everywhere in the world by using satellites to transmit signals instead of antennas mounted on earthbound towers.

A satellite phone is an especially good choice if you're going to be driving into areas where cell service may be spotty or nonexistent. The only restriction is that you need a clear view of the outdoor sky -- if you're at the bottom of a canyon, you may have to hike up to the rim for reception.

If you don't travel frequently enough to merit purchasing a satellite phone, you might consider renting one for your trip. Keep in mind that you'll pay more for calls, typically $1.69 a minute. Text messaging can save you some money, as they usually cost only 50 cents per message.

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