When I travelled around the world, the only tech gadgets I had were a mobile phone that could do no more with than make calls, send text messages, and take photos; and a small point and shoot camera. That was it. Fast forward 6½ years and I now have an array of technology I drag around with me. Technology has moved on in those few short years; it’s incredible. I can hardly believe it. It has made it easier and given me the flexibility to travel in my preferred way which includes booking things on the go.
The amount and type of technology you take with you will depend on a few factors such as how long you’re travelling for, how you travel, how much you normally use technology, what you use it for, and whether you intend to work while you’re travelling. I thought I would share with you the tech gadgets I take with me now.
This is my number one item. I only started using a smartphone about 2½ years ago, but it has become an integral part of my travel experience. The more I travel, the more uses I seem to find. My phone takes great photos, some of the time it’s even better than my camera. It’s easy to whip out and take a quick photo and I have it with me all the time. The apps you can get are fantastic and enable me to do so much more. Apart from being able to document and post about my trip as it happens, I have useful apps such as a flashlight, a translation tool, to name just two.
To be honest, if I didn’t work while I was away, I probably would consider taking a tablet instead of a netbook. However, because I work on my website, and create online content, I need to travel with my netbook. I also use it for storing the images and video clips I take. If you intend to do some work or blog about your experience, a laptop or netbook is useful. Some things are easier to do on a netbook or laptop, and there are some things that can only be done on these devices such as certain online banking procedures. I remember wishing I had a netbook with me when I travelled around the world.
I’ve previously written about my Kindle as a ‘must have’ travel item. I know it isn’t the same as having real books, but it’s so small, lightweight, and convenient. It can hold a ridiculous number of books, so I will never be without something to read. I can also borrow books from the lending library, and preview a book before I purchase it. It also fits comfortably into my small handbag, so I can have numerous books to hand if and when I need them. It doesn’t have to be a Kindle, by the way, any e-reader will do.
I’m not one of those people who has earphones permanently glued to her ears, but I do like to listen to music and personal development recordings, sometimes. I like to have my MP3 with me even if I don’t use it, just in case. Because it’s small and lightweight, I can do that. I know lots of people use their smartphone. That’s great because it means taking fewer devices, but it would take up memory that I use for photos and videos. My MP3 has a long battery life, so it saves using the battery on my phone and just keeps on going.
5. Portable speaker
My little speaker is fantastic. I can use it with my laptop, phone, and MP3 player. It’s small and light, so it’s very portable. I don’t use it all the time, but it’s great to have it when I need it, whether it’s listening to music or watching a video.
Even though my phone takes great photos, it can’t fully replace my camera. My camera has a great zoom, so I can get close up shots even though I can’t get close to the object. It takes great videos and has a good size memory card that can cope with the large files.
7. Portable battery charger
I initially bought a small lipstick size battery charger, which was great for recharging my phone once. Unfortunately, whilst staying in a hostel, I opened the locker that the charger was in. It rolled out of the locker and dropped on the hard floor. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work after that. Because I use my phone so much for GPS, photos, videos, and posting on my social media sites, the battery on my phone would run down very quickly. I don’t like it when my phone runs out of battery, just in case I need it. Thankfully, my dad had also bought a battery charger. He kindly lent it to me when I went to Glasgow. His battery charger is better than my previous one because it’s more powerful, although it is bigger and heavier. I’m okay with that because I never have to worry about my phone running out of battery now, which is great.
8. USB wall charger
With all the technology I travel with, I could only ever charge one thing at a time. That’s because there were never enough electric sockets in the places I stayed in and I only had one worldwide adapter. I found a USB wall charger that had the ability of charging multiple devices simultaneously, so I ordered it. It’s fantastic. It means carrying something else, but I no longer have to worry about how I’m going to charge my smartphone, camera and other USB-powered devices because I can charge all of them at the same time.
My latest tech gadget might seem a bit of a strange one. It wasn’t something I had ever thought about getting. The thing is, when I was in Albania, I was sharing a dorm room with a woman who had been travelling for the past 7 years. She said that she always travelled with one because she was fed up of the lack electric sockets. It’s yet another thing to carry and it is quite bulky, but she had a point. If I wanted to use my laptop and any of my other devices, including the USB wall charger, I needed at least two sockets. It can be hard to find one electric socket sometimes, so having two is a bit of luxury. I could have done with it a few times while travelling around, not only for the lack of sockets, but also because sometimes the socket wasn’t where I needed it. I am wary of leaving my devices unattended, especially at night, after an incident at a hostel last year.
Have your say
What are your ‘must have’ tech gadgets when you travel?