Essential technology us travel geeks can’t live without – Savvy travellers would never leave home without their tech essentials. In the digital age we need to keep our blogs and social networks up to date at all hours. Laptops aside, here are eight of our hi-tech favourites to help you on your travels. Some are pretty obvious, but there might be a few new handy hints here…
The smart phone is a ubiquitous device that many travellers couldn’t live without. It’ll give you instant access to apps for currency conversion, maps, travel guides, flight tracking and language translation. Of course you’ll need Wi-Fi for most of these apps, but many handy guides can be used offline, and use GPS for map positioning. Obviously it always pays to check with your network before travelling – make sure you know the (expensive) charges for using data abroad.
Mini travel speakers
With mini travel speakers, they won’t take up much room but when you want to listen to music with friends you’ll be happy you brought them. The X-mini MAX II is a budget-friendly favorite among consumers. Most small speakers are rechargeable over USB – handy if you have a laptop with you. Use the speakers to share music from your phone, tablet, laptop or MP3 player. Our personal favourite has to be the Jawbone Jambox – a small Bluetooth speaker with a big sound.
Noise cancelling headphones
Although pricier than regular in-ear or on-ear headphones these ones will isolate you from the rest of the world and give you some peace and quiet when on the move. Bose are one of the brand leaders, and make for more pleasant air travel. These headphones are battery operated, so you could also take along a spare pair of in-ear ‘phones just in case.
Back up battery pack
There is nothing more frustrating than running out of battery power and it always happens when you least want it to. You should take with you a means of recharging all your electronic gadgets and an emergency battery charger. A rechargeable battery pack can be invaluable – plugging in your precious device to keep it working. Portable solar panel rechargers are now made in compact form and can be used for recharging multiple devices. Also take a spare battery for the device you use most and always keep it charged.
Savvy travel adaptors
A set of universal travel adapters is only about $13-$70 and without them none of the gadgets you bring with you will be of any use when the batteries run out. A simple set of three adapters which convert plugs to suit foreign outlets is only $13 and a more complex adapter, converter and USB charger all in one is about $70. The multi-function devices help cut down the sheer amount of chargers you might need to take.
Perfect as an alternative to hauling along different travel guides, instead of heavy books; carry an e-reader such as a Kindle which can also be used for casual reading and even browsing maps. The might not pack the punch of an iPad, but they’re lighter, smaller and cheaper.
Perhaps the most essential travel gadget, good quality photos are going to be with you for a lifetime so invest in a good digital camera. Make sure you also have a recharger, cable for backing up to a laptop and a spare memory card so you are not limited with the number of shots you take. Large memory cards are great, but losing that one card means you’ll lose all your pictures – it could be better to spread the photos over a few cards. We use a Fuji x100 – a beautiful camera, but very pricey!
If you’re planning to use Wi-Fi at a hotspot when abroad, you can’t really be sure of its security credentials, and who else may be using it for unsavoury means. A Virtual Private Network or VPN is an affordable way of ‘masking’ your internet traffic from hackers or malicious attacks. Relatively easy to setup on your laptop or smart phone, you certainly shouldn’t use free Wi-Fi in somewhere like Starbucks without one!