What Technology to Take
We are in a technological age and Tim is a techno geek so what technology to take was a key question for us before traveling around the world. It doesn't have to be that way, but it does make life easy.
The first question to ask yourself is what technology do you really need. The second question to ask yourself is, if you need to buy any equipment, where are you heading to first and will it be cheaper to buy there? And will it be compatible?
So here are some ideas of what to take:
Phone – make sure that you have a mobile phone that is unlocked. This means that you can buy local sims in each country and well worth doing. We usually only buy one sim and then I hop onto Tim’s Mobile Hotspot. It is amazing how cheap some countries mobile sim packages are. The cheapest so far is India with Jio, where we paid just £3.50 for one month use of 1gb PER DAY! That is incredible. You do need to search for bargains as with anything and we have found that buying in the airport is more expensive – just depends on convenience versus cost. Having a protective cover for your mobile is a good idea, it’s going to go on many adventures with you so you want it to last.
We do ensure that our phones are fully charged for the morning however we have found that some days, if we are using map apps or taking lots of photos and video, the charge diminishes quickly. So in the end we bought a slimline phone power block. Definitely worth having one and they don’t weigh too much.
Camera – Do you really need a separate camera? Unless you are a professional photographer, having a good smart phone is enough. All the photos on our site have been used with our phones. Smart phone camera, a GoPro or a Polaroid Cube. You can even shoot videos with those and you don't have to carry expensive equipment all the time just to get a shot of that colourful exotic bird, or you doing another selfie in front of yet another temple. Keep in mind that carrying a bulky camera will draw attention to you, you will look like a tourist and then may suffer from touts or even worse. The more you naturally blend in among the locals, the better.
If you are like us, you will probably take hundreds of photos each week. We did meet some great German guys in New Zealand with their huge cameras and they were taking thousands! Digital photography does make it so much easier these days, I remember watching dolphins twice and was trigger happy. It paid off and both times I got remarkable photos and deleted the rest. I am in a habit for regularly deleting duplicates and just keeping the best photos. Having a spare memory card is a good idea as well as frequently downloading your photos onto a hard drive or even better – in the cloud. I remember when we went to Cuba a good few years back, on the very last day, literally an hour before the coach picked us up for the airport, we lost our camera with hundreds of photos of us and our two sons swimming with dolphins, rowing in the mangroves and enjoying a Mojito in Havana. We were gutted.
Laptop/ Tablets – definitely worth thinking about the size and weight. What will you use it for? Writing? Watching films/ videos / Skyping Friends and Family? Working?
As Tim is a Microsoft Systems Engineer, we don’t go with Apple Products. I can imagine that Apple is more flexible if you have a tablet and phone as they interface well together. One of the downsides is that I do most of my writing on the tablet and photos on my phone, so then I have to save photos onto Dropbox and upload or vice versa. Interestingly having written and read this out to Tim, he has suggested that I have One Drive installed, meaning that photos are automatically saved there and accessible on my tablet – Ah! I learn something every day! Always worth chatting to a techie or a young person who seem to instinctively know these things.
I have a Microsoft Surface Pro which is so light and flexible with its detachable keyboard and tablet facility. I use this daily for writing my blogs as well as coaching clients on. Tim has also brought his light weight laptop as we have a bit of flexibility with baggage room and weight and it gives us a backup – which is important when we are travelling and working at the same time. However that is an extra 2kg for our luggage allowance.
Your smart phone may be enough for you and will save a lot of weight and if you need to access a PC, I am sure you’d be able to find an internet café.
External Hard Drive – Used for backing up data, and extremely useful if you can’t get to the cloud. Tim is a bit of a film buff so this is a great way to store heavy data files such as mp3, mp4. Again, this is more weight – so ask yourself if you really need it.
Travel Adapters and Chargers
There are so many options out there like anything. Again, and I am going to sound like a stuck record, consider the size and weight.
As technology is important to us, we do travel with a Masterplug which has 4 plug and 2 usb sockets with a Surge Protector and so we only need 1 travel adapter. Hindsight is always a good thing and we probably only need two travel adaptors and a USB socket. This would be lighter and more flexible when packing.
Music – I don’t listen to music much which is weird as I studied music when I was younger and would often go to gigs. Tim listens more than me. So if you are a music dude, you can always load up your favourite tunes onto your phone, or use Spotify and get yourself some good headphones and a case for them. One of our sons’, when he and his girlfriend went travelling, used a splitter so that they could both listen to the same music mainly when travelling. And if you love listening to music when you are not on the road, either invest in lightweight mini portable speakers or put your phone in an open plastic box! Yes, it does work.