That is a guest post by travel tech guru Dave Dean of WAY TOO MANY Adapters, a site specialized in technology for travelers. In this article, Dave breaks down the professionals and cons of traveling with certain technology.
Wondering what things to take on the street with regards to electronics? You’re not the only person. Long gone will be the days in which a cassette player and film camera were the height of travel gadgetry. Walking right into a hostel common room now, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally stumbled in to the local electronics store. You’re apt to be surrounded by laptops and tablets, smartphones and DSLRs, and more softly glowing Apple logos than you can shake a stick at.
Often unsure of what they actually need, people end up carrying much more tech gear on the highway than they should. After many years of travel and working online though, I’ve determined what works, what doesn’t, and everything you actually need.
In this article, I’ll outline the very best travel gear you’ll have to help you create the most out of the next trip abroad.
With the disappearance of Internet cafes and the prevalence of free Wi-Fi in locations all over the world, a laptop is certainly worth considering for the next trip. It’s easy and simple method of residing in touch, burning photos, and passing enough time on those long flights or bus rides
I take advantage of mine to work from the street, therefore i went for something relatively powerful, but also for more typical use, a thin and light laptop as an Ultrabook (e.g., Dell XPS 13) or a Macbook Air can offer all you need at a lesser weight and (potentially) cost.
Things that matter include:
- Size – Nothing bigger than a 13” screen or that weighs much over 1kg, and less is certainly better. Consider the size and weight of the energy adapter too. Those ideas could be huge!
- Strength – Something made well that won’t fall to pieces the very first time it gets knocked in your bag. Get yourself a protective sleeve to avoid scratches and cushion minor bumps, and browse the reviews of its durability.
- Battery life – Five or six hours may be the minimum, 8+ is way better in the event that you intend to take long overnight buses or trains.
- Space for storage – Don’t skimp on the quantity of storage you have. 128GB is really the minimum, and more is way better. Those photos and downloaded movies take up more space than you imagine!
- Sdcard slot – It’s no absolute must, but having an Sdcard slot included in your laptop is quite handy. Assuming your camera uses SD cards (most do), an built-in card reader makes copying your pictures a breeze. Whatever you do is insert the card and transfer!
- Cost – The less you may spend, the more money you will need to spend at the bar, right? Not forgetting the computer will be cheaper to insure and replace and less of a target for theft. Don’t spend much over $1,000.
EASILY didn’t work online, I’d ditch the laptop and carry a tablet instead. Smaller, lighter, cheaper, and with better battery life when compared to a laptop, the most well-known example is Apple’s famous iPad (mini or full-size).
While either of these will do the work for a traveler, the very best value for money right now is in the Android range. A Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 will be my recommendation.
There’s too much to be said for choosing a tablet if your primary use is consumption (i.e., reading webpages, books, and emails, or watching movies) instead of creation (writing, editing video, etc.). Again, choose one with a lot of storage (either built-in or via microSD card).
To back up your photos, both Apple and Android devices enable you to plug within an external Sdcard reader, so pick one particular up aswell.
In case you have zero other choice, you may also use the camera on your own tablet to get that must-have shot. You need to be aware you’ll look rather silly doing this.
I carry a Samsung Galaxy S2. It has rapidly become an essential little bit of travel technology, with most of my music, photos, apps, and entertainment stored on the microSD card, and it had been both cheaper and better to customize compared to the iPhone I used to use.
I ensured to get the unlocked version of my phone, and therefore I could use a pre-paid SIM card all over the world and benefit from much cheaper calling and data rates. Your mobile company in the home will charge incredibly high rates if you are using your normal number overseas, making roaming calls and data prohibitively expensive for some travelers.
Switching to an area cell company when you get to a country can help you save a small fortune. Personally, i know individuals who accidentally left data enabled when on holiday for weekly and came home to a bill of thousands of dollars. In the event that you can’t unlock your phone and absolutely need to use it whilst travelling, at least turn the info connection off to reduce the pain.
I take advantage of a large number of travel apps, but three of the greatest are:
- Skype: In most cases, most of my international calls happen via Skype over Wi-Fi or 3G. It’s fast and simple, and purchasing a few bucks’ worth of SkypeCredit means I could call any phone on the planet all night.
- TripIt: I’ve tried a variety of ways to keep an eye on travel bookings, but TripIt may be the easiest. Many confirmation emails can merely be forwarded to include them to your list, and it doesn’t take long to manually add others. With the Pro version, I even get notified of timetable changes and delays. Having every detail within my fingertips has saved me more often than once at airport check-ins and bus stations all over the world.
- Google Translate: With Google Translate, you can download offline language packs that will help you communicate while you’re abroad – in case you don’t have data/Wi-Fi. It’s invaluable (especially within an emergency) so ensure that you download the languages you will need prior to going.
I resisted buying an e-book reader for years. I’m a physical book sort of guy. However now that I’ve made the leap to a Kindle, I’m happy with it.
It’s incredibly small and light, way more than a good little paperback, and will store a huge selection of books, travel guides, and other things that I would need. I found the Kindle Paperwhite 3G, which costs a lot more than the Wi-Fi-only version, however the capability to download new books from anywhere with cellular phone coverage is invaluable.
Many e-readers now include browsers and the capability to download apps, making them more of a cross between a tablet and an e-reader. These versions usually aren’t as great to learn on though as there is a lot more screen glare.
I considered a tablet rather than an e-reader, but also for reading on the highway there is really no contest. The Kindle is cheaper, smaller, and lighter. The battery life is measured in weeks instead of hours, the screen is indeed far better in sunlight, and I could happily lie on the beach without fretting about it.
Because of a cheap case I purchased off eBay, it appears like a plain notebook easily have to pull it from the street to check on directions. There’s no chance I’d even think about doing that with any tablet. I’d be much too a lot of a target.
I worked in IT when I wasn’t traveling, so data backup is definitely a problem of mine. I simply know way too many travelers who’ve lost irreplaceable data because of hard disk drive failures and theft, among other reasons. Do you wish to lose each and every photo from your own US road trip, your cruise on Ha Long Bay, and everywhere else you’ve been? Most likely not.
I copy photos to my laptop every night, then use Crashplan to accomplish the rest. For some bucks per month it automatically manages backups to both online storage and a portable hard disk drive that I retain in my pack, all without me needing to consider it.
Before splashing from that subscription I backed everything up manually but discovered that I was forgetting to accomplish it all too often for my liking.
Although I take advantage of a Seagate portable drive and it works fine, I’d be looking at the ruggedTranscend version easily were investing in a new one.
For the tiny amount of hassle involved, the reassurance is more than worthwhile. Don’t risk losing your entire digital memories!
Apart from the chargers and cables that always appear to tie themselves in knots overnight, the only other gadget I devote my pack certainly are a universal power adapter and a little power bar. That way, I could safely charge my devices all at exactly the same time.
They take up hardly any room in my own bag yet are worth their weight in gold each time I reach a dorm room with one power socket for the 12 people residing in it. I plug most of my devices in to the power bar, connect it to the wall socket via my universal adapter, and I’m done. Easy peasy.
Selecting the right gear to visit with doesn’t have to become a intimidating task. Making a few wise choices and limiting you to ultimately everything you truly need offers you each of the benefits that technology may bring while avoiding almost all of the downsides. Spend a little bit of money and time getting it before you leave – believe me, it will save a lot of frustration once you’re out there on the highway.
Dave is half of the team at WAY TOO MANY Adapters, a site specialized in technology for travelers. A geek provided that he can remember, he worked in IT all over the world for 15 years, combining his love of most things nerdy with an overwhelming travel addiction. There are also him talking about the life span of a long-term traveler at What�