Top Technology To Travel With
Knowing what technology to take on an overseas trip can sometimes be a bit of a confusing and intimidating affair. You may be someone who wants to take a break from the hum of the digital world on your trip so aren’t concerned about keeping in touch with emails and Instagram, but if you’re keen on staying plugged in whilst tripping around the world, sometimes the sheer choice of what technology to travel with can be overwhelming!
I’m not super tech savvy. I like to find something good (usually from a recommendation of a friend to avoid any expensive trial and error) and use it till its death or until a monkey steals it out of my bag. On my first ever backpacking trip, I went with a god awful digital camera and a Nokia 3210 that would probably have outlived cockroaches in an atomic blast and had the infamous ‘Snake’ game. I was so paranoid that my things would get robbed or broken, but now I look back at those crappy photos and wish I’d taken the risk of traveling with a better camera.
It can be worrying to carry something quite delicate and pricey around with you, but sometimes you just need to take the risk in order to get those shots or write that article with inspiration still fresh in your brain. Once I find a good piece of tech that’s useful to travel with, I become a die-hard cheerleader of the brand and will constantly look for exciting updated new products that they bring out. My equipment is now infinitely faster and shinier than it was on that first trip of mine five years ago, but before I reel off the top tech things to travel with, you do need to ask yourself, “What do I want to do whilst away?” as that can dictate the size, model and complexity of the equipment.
A. Want something to just get good photographs?
B. Need something that enables you to keep in contact with loved ones at home?
C. Have something that allows you to blog and write whilst on the move?
D. All of the above?
Ultimately, whichever box you’ve ticked, I’m guessing that you’re wanting what I need in a piece of tech. It needs to be lightweight and slimline, and above all, keep up with me and work as fast as I travel.
Gone are the days where the most exciting thing that your phone could do (outside of making calls) was have a torch light built into it. Now new and exciting smart phones flood the market and I would highly recommend taking one on your travels.
Most of us Travelettes are severe fans of the classic iPhone (O iPhone 4S, how you complete me!) and when you want to take minimal items with you, why not get hold of one of these beauties? Not only does it allow you to phone/text whilst away from home, but with all these swanky exciting apps that you can now get, it pretty much doubles as a teeny computer. You can Skype, Viber, check emails, use a compass, still have a torch, surf the net and, importantly, still be able to take awesome shots with their high-quality camera!
The photos you take can easily be shared and emailed home to your mum, plus fantastic editing apps like Afterlight can help you photoshop your photos to relative perfection.
“But what about expensive roaming charges?!” I hear you cry! Yes, they can be a pain in the arse and something I try to avoid at all costs… but I was seriously surprised on my last trip to Asia at how many hostels had WIFI. And cafes. And bars. And airports. It’s freakin’ everywhere now, so think smart and take a smart phone if you want minimal equipment, but high technology!
A great complimenting gadget:
When traipsing the world armed only with your iPhone, you’re going to be depending on it a lot for all its bells and whistles. A battery pack like the Anker External Battery Pack (with built in flash light!! Phew.) is a top way to keep your batteries juiced up. Fully charge it up from a power point and this little baby will provide hours of life for numerous items.
Digital SLR Camera
Like I previously mentioned, my first digital camera was a weird small ancient thing that stored photos that I could’ve drawn better. Now digital cameras flood the market, making you spoilt for choice… but for those out there who are wanting or needing to capture stunning shots, then a digital SLR is the way forward. The quality is unmistakeable and you won’t be draining your phone’s battery so much by using it to constantly snap away.
I’m not a pro photographer, but I know what is easy and reliable, which includes Canon cameras. My first DSLR (and it’s still going today!) is a Canon Rebel T2i and like the other models, it’s simple and easy to use making it a great choice for budding photographers. You can even take some video on there too! But if you’re really immersed in confusion on what camera to take, read our notes on Packing the Right camera to see what you should take. And do check out this wicked DSLR simulator if you want a bit of practice with confusing aperture and shutter speed!
Lomography cameras are great light cameras for all those who want to use manual cameras to take real film, but just remember to take appropriate storage for the canisters of film as sometimes it’ll be bloody hard finding a film developer whilst on the road.
A great complimenting gadget:
When I discovered that USB memory card readers existed, I literally loved how cheap and easy they were! If you’re traveling with a DSLR, I’d highly recommend taking one of these, such as the cheap as chips Integral SD so you can download photos whenever you hit a place of downtime and high speed broadband!
The GoPro. We’ve all seen some amazing footage from GoPros. From epic mountain biking where we got to sit on top of Kelly McGarry’s helmet as he whizzed down scary slopes, to Jeb Corliss’s breath-taking “Grinding The Crack” video of him flying in a wing-suit (these videos will blow your mind). These cameras have finally allowed us to capture scenes in extreme sports that a regular camera wouldn’t have survived.
Our Travelettes have used and abused them on trips, and have fully given them the thumbs up for those passionate about outdoor activities, such as surfing and recording the exact experience.
But they are a touch expensive since the technology is so incredibly robust and they churn out high quality footage, so see our DIY tips for making sure your GoPro doesn’t get lost out at sea …
Kindle or Kindle Fire HDX
Cordula lovingly compiled all our Things We Never Travel Without, and the Kindle cropped up a few times. Frankie swore that a Kindle is a no-brainer for those who read a lot whilst on the move, and Annika would rather risk taking a kindle than running out of books! Although I do love the feel of the pages of a real book beneath my fingers, sometimes it can be too cumbersome to cart around multiple volumes when you’re trying to pack light.
However, I was lucky enough to get to try out the new Kindle Fire HDX and I must say that I was incredibly surprised! It’s definitely more of a tablet than a Kindle, as not only can you access your Kindle books easily but you can do a ton of other things that would help any digital nomad.
It is ridiculously light and the thinnest piece of tech I have ever held. We all know of iPads being a great light piece of technology to travel with, but at around £159.20, the Kindle Fire HDX is a fraction of the price. It doesn’t have the range of apps available for Apple products, but the apps that you can get include my top app choices, such as, WordPress, so I can blog for Travelettes whilst on the move; a Mail app, so I can synch up all email accounts for easy access; Pinterest, as I am an addict don’t cha know; and Padgram, which is an alternative app to Instagram that allows you to see your feed clearly, post photos off your Kindle Fire and have access to fun extra features. Did I mention it has a front and back facing camera? Perfect for capturing those selfies on the beach or a stunning sunset.
There are a load of other apps including games, but as a travel blogger I need to be able to write whilst on the move. OfficeSuite gives me the ease of using Microsoft apps and then it allows me to back-up to my Google Drive or DropBox whilst in WIFI. The Amazon Cloud is also available to synch your smart phone to the Kindle Fire HDX or anything on your Kindle to a laptop.
All in all, if you’re on a budget then this is a great gadget to take for all your online needs and entertainment. Yes, I do have Netflix on there and it is fabulous.
A great complimenting gadget:
As I love to write whilst on the move, I do find a touch screen keyboard a bit frustrating at times. I like to type fast so I’d highly recommend getting a blue tooth keyboard to use with the Kindle Fire HDX, or any table/iPad that you take with you!
Ok, so you’re on an epic trip and you’ve got some serious typing to get done. You may be one of the lucky few who can continue working your usual job whilst on the move and need to keep up with emails, or you might be penning a novel in your beach bungalow. You may need to submit articles about the destination you’re immersed in… or you are an addict to all things online and a small iPhone/Kindle Fire/iPad (delete where appropriate) just won’t cut it! Especially if you need to retouch lots of photographs.
Well, it sounds like you’re prepared to take a laptop with you. The internet is flooded with ‘top laptops to travel with’ articles, so be sure to always give this topic a Google to find out which one suits your needs, but if you’re after lightweight and impeccable performance then invest in a Macbook Air. Not only is it a super light piece of equipment, weighing in at 2.38lbs, but it is paper thin and guaranteed not to weigh down your bag. For peace of mind, get it insured but it also comes with AppleCare protection that is valid worldwide. Just makes sure you take it into a certified Apple store for any necessary repairs.
Forbes recommend the Asus T100 for a light and small laptop to travel with that allows you to do everything you did at home, without carting around a computer that weighs a ton.
So there’s a brief run down on the top technology to travel with. The first thing you need to figure out is exactly what you want to do whilst on the road. Don’t get the latest piece of kit ‘just in case’ as I swear to god, you won’t end up using it and it’ll be a pain to haul around. And if none of this appeals to you, I would highly recommend an iPod stuffed full with your fav tunes and a great set of ear phones. Now that is light and will provide hours of entertainment!
What do you use? What do you recommend? Let us know as we love to share all your tips and advice!