We are living in an era of technology. Wherever you go, you take it with you, and it saves you during your commutes or waiting in lines. Your phone, tablet, laptop, eBook reader, music player… The list goes on forever (do you remember the times when we barely had mobile phones?).
So the logical thing we all do is carrying your gadgets during travel, keeping them safe and getting the best use out of them. And I know it can get complicated – so let me help you uncomplicate it!
This list is effectively divided into two parts – one with gadgets and one with accessories to help you make the best out of said gadgets.
If you need to work while you’re traveling – this goes to students, bloggers, business owners, remote employees and many others – you clearly need a laptop. Things to consider when picking out a laptop (in case you don’t have it or thinking of replacing the one you have)? Size, storage space, and battery life!
You probably don’t want to carry a 4kg laptop around (I’ve been there, trust me), so aim for a size up to 13” and weight under 2kg. My Asus X301A is a 13,3” laptop, weighing just over 1,5kg, and I can easily fit it in my handbag (or backpack, of course).
Another thing to take into account is laptop’s sturdiness – you definitely don’t want it breaking into two (or more!) pieces while it’s sharing space in your backpack with a ton of other stuff you carry with you. Invest a few bucks in a laptop sleeve – a basic one does the job perfectly!
Update: I now have a MacBook Pro and I use this water-repellent sleeve case for it. It’s incredibly slim and protects the laptop from (nearly) everything! And it fits. Freaking. Everywhere.
Another thing worth mentioning is making sure your data is backed up. I trust Dropbox with my life when it comes to this topic – so as soon as you have access to a reliable internet connection, back your photos up (if you sign up for Dropbox through this link, you get 500MB extra storage space!). Also, make sure you are the only one that can access your passwords – I have all of mine in 1Password and it’s an absolute relief to have such piece of mind.
Keep your laptop safe: Use your laptop when you’re in a place where you won’t be leaving it unattended or fall asleep next to it or anything along those lines. Meaning: don’t use it on public transport if you don’t really have to, and make sure it’s safely locked (e.g. in a drawer/locker) if you’re leaving it in your hotel/hostel room.
I wouldn’t be able to travel without my phone for two big reasons: I use it for photography until I invest in a camera, and Internet lets me be in touch with my loved ones around the world (and keep up with social media). The most important thing, though? It’s unlocked.
This means that whenever I visit a country for more than a day or two, I am better off buying a pre-paid SIM card. If you are traveling in the peak of the season, you’ll find that most providers offer short-term tourist packages (I remember buying a €3 SIM card in Montenegro, that gave me €3 credit and some amount of calls, texts and data for a full week!). Chances you’ll pass cheaper using your home plan and data rather than the one of the country you’re visiting are almost non-existent.
Keep your phone safe: There are so many ways to get your phone lost or stolen. I’m not saying you should walk around scared to death, but also follow common sense and don’t leave it unattended. Best advice is to keep it in a zipped pocket (if possible) whenever you’re not using it.
The absolute best anti theft app I’ve come across is Cerberus. It lets you track your phone, lock it, wipe its memory remotely, take a photo with a front camera and many other things that can help you find your thief – or at least protect your data from them.
As much as I love reading physical books and taking them to trips, they take up a tremendous amount of space and it makes them impractical. This is why a few years ago I’ve invested in a Kindle Paperwhite. You can literally store hundreds of books and you won’t be forced to choose which ones to take to your trip – you can just ‘take’ them all and decide along the way. If you already have some PDF books, you can easily upload them, too!
Keep your Kindle safe: Common sense works well here, too. Just like your phone, don’t put it down in places where anyone can easily grab it and leave. To protect it from getting damaged, keep it in a magnetic case – I keep mine in the MoKo case that I’m obsessed with – and it’s extremely handy, since the cover also puts Kindle on standby when closed (thus saving battery life), while also saving it from scratches and damages.
Okay – now that you have the gadgets to make your travels easy, and when you know how to keep them safe – here are a few other things that will make them functional at all times.
If I have to say the one thing I’ve always needed with me on almost every trip I took, it is a plug converter. There are so many different power outlets across the world, so instead of buying a different converter for all the different countries, simply get a universal one. It can convert any plug you have into any plug you need – so just have it with you, always.
How many times have you stayed at a place where you only had one outlet for yourself? Get an extension cord – clearly, the one that fits your country’s plugs – and then use it with the converter to make more power outlets for yourself. The absolute best (most compact) version of it I have yet seen is a four-way power strip recommended on Nomadic Matt’s blog, but I still haven’t found such a small version for UK or Croatian plugs (if you do, let me know!).
And last, but not least – if you are a person that has never yet needed power on the go, you should be awarded. For quite a long time I refused to admit that I need a power bank, because I’m a proud owner of a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, whose battery easily lasts up to two days at a time. (Update: I now have iPhone 6s and its battery life is equally as amazing.)
But it sometimes happens that after those two days I simply forget to charge it (or I use it more than usual), and I leave my house the next morning with 7% battery. So, I got addicted to Ember & Earth’s powerbanks that hold more than two full charges! Keep one in your backpack and remember to recharge it after you use it.
This completes my go-to list of technology and rules when traveling with my awesome gadgets in order to keep them safe and charged. Do you have any more tips to add to this list? Let me know!
*Some of the links provided in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through these links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use myself and firmly believe in.