We can be grateful to technology for many reasons especially when effectively and efficiently used wish moderation and mindfulness. With its many downside, especially our constant obsession with new gadgets with the hope of making our lives easier, we can sometimes become too dependent and lazy and even over use them. However, when it comes to traveling, technology can be very advantageous when effectively used and it in fact does compliments our travel experiences. Imagine if there was no such thing as a google map, or translator, or if we have to still travel with our favorite books, articles etc. These gadgets, apps and devices makes us appreciate the usefulness and importance of technology.
We can all agree that an iPad and or kindle reader both makes great traveling companions. You can also travel with your laptop, netbook, and MacBook Pro if you just can’t do without them.
Digital Downloads and Uploads:
I save almost everything that interest me online through the Pocket app. I use to use my iBook for this, however, I find the pocket app more useful specifically for this reason. You can easily save any article and come back to reading it later.
I also use Evernote to write and save notes on various topics I’m writing, reading and one of the coolest things it also allow you to do is photographing specific useful and important contents like the marginalia on book pages, which are then searchable because of the optical character recognition. Even better, is the tag feature which allows you to search or retrieve all your notes, which is brilliant.
Google Maps and Translate, should be downloaded by anyone especially all travelers and foreign languages enthusiasts or linguists and polyglots. The beauty is that these apps can be used offline. However, you must learn to use them first and play around with them especially the map prior to going.
For example, according to an article by Geoffrey Morrison, “Five Underrated Things to Pack for Every Trip,” “let’s say you’re going to Paris. Type “Paris” into Google Maps. Make sure you see all the parts of the city you need (the arrondissement where your hotel is, for example) and the parts you want to explore, then hit “save” at the bottom of the screen. This does exactly that, saving everything on the visible map. Now you can walk around without internet and still see a map of your surroundings. This includes street names, Metro stops and so on.” Besides google maps, Maps.me, Moovit are great apps too.
In addition, Google Translate also, have this feature which allows you to download language packs for use offline. “This speeds up translations, including the futuristic camera feature that lets you point your phone at a sign to translate what you’re seeing in real time.”
iCloud or Google Photos, if you’re not using them already, will save your phone’s photos to the cloud as you take them (or when you get back to Wi-Fi), so if it your phone gets lost or stolen, you’ll still have all your pictures. According to some travel experts from the New York Times Travel Show, google drive is better for storing photos instead of iCloud.
The only camera we can vouch for as per recommendation from the New York Times Travel Show is the Sony Rx100 model 5. The newest model is said to have a better zoom than the previous models. You can use your phone and other cameras you may have. However, according one of the travel experts from the New York Times Travel Show, cameras tend to be more interactive compare to phones. Hence, when you have a camera people interact with you much better. You also have to be aware of your impact when you are in an area. Read more on our “responsible travel” post.
For photo editing tools we recommend Adobe Lightroom and Adobe photo express. In addition, for video editing tools, InShot is great for both Video and photo editing. You can also try Adobe clip.
For Photo Organizers, the photo mechanic app is great for organizing photos. This app isn’t free but there’s also a free app call Photosane that you can check out.
An unlocked phone, for internet everywhere:
Traveling with a phone that works everywhere is a game changer. Being able to post to social media and talk with friends and family at home is great, but having fast access to Google Maps and Translate will transform your travel experience. Being able to book a new flight or hotel if something happens could save a vacation.
The key is having internet access at all, and ideally, fast access. If you get your phone “unlocked” by your cellular provider, you can buy a local SIM card in whatever country you’re visiting. This lets your phone work just like you bought it new in that country, with high-speed data and free local calls, depending on the SIM you buy. These are usually around $20, and available at airport vending machines and kiosks, although a cellphone store in town might be cheaper.
We highly recommend staying away from Verizon international plan because most expert reviews have said that it simply doesn’t work. Also, be sure to download WhatsApp and or We chat. There is also Tep wireless which is 4G and cost about $99/month.
Noice cancelling head phones:
Significant noise reduction for travel, work and anywhere in between. Advanced active noise reduction technology quells airplane cabin noise, city traffic or a busy office, makes you focus on what you want to hear, enjoy your music, movies and videos. The noise cancellation function can work well both in wire and wireless mode.
XE currency converter app is a good tool. Although the paid version is better, but there’s also a free version.
A portable USB battery:
When you’re out all day taking pictures, navigating with Maps, posting to social media, and so on, your phone’s battery is going to drain pretty quickly. Even a small USB battery pack can charge your phone once, and slightly larger ones twice or more. Packs with built-in cables are handy, but that cable will be the first thing to break. Wirecutter, the New York Times company that reviews products, has a number of recommendations for different sizes and prices. If you don’t have one, get one before your next trip — you’ll love it, and use it at home later.
A USB multi-charger (and some long cables):
No matter where you go or how expensive the accommodation, you’re almost always going to struggle to find enough power outlets. The easiest way to recharge all your gear is with a USB multi-charger that trades one wall socket for several USB ports. Then just plug in your phone, tablet, USB battery pack and so on, all at the same time. Like the battery pack, this is helpful on the road and at home. Wirecutter has several picks depending what size you need. In the same vein, a few longer USB cables are a good idea too. A longer cable lets you use your phone in bed while it’s plugged in that faraway outlet, states Morrison. Wirecutter has picks for micro USB, USB-C, and Lightning, depending what you need.
Back Packs and Carryons:
Osprey Packs is a great company to check out for reliable travel back packs and I personally love their philosophy for travel: “Make it easier to organize and pack your gear when traveling so that you can spend more time enjoying your experience.” No matter your packing style or destination, the company has a comprehensive line of curated travel solutions has something for everyone. Traveling to Russia for business? The Garment Folder will keep your shirts fresh and clean. More of a shirt roller? No problem, packing cubes are your answer (also for undies and such). Do your workout clothes smell like a yeti? Boom, Double Sided Packing Cubes. Need something to carry to the beach when you arrive? Stuff Tote is your jam. Whatever your activity, destination, or style, they have your needs covered in spades.
The Porter Series is a great back pack. With padded sidewalls, convenient organization and a substantial suspension for backpack-style carry that disappears when checking bags, the Porter Series has set the standard for deluxe duffels. It features a relocated and dedicated zippered laptop and tablet pocket—and functional storage options for items both big and small—with multiple access points. When a duffel isn’t enough and backpacking bags are too much, the Porter is the answer. In addition, you can also check out the Away Carryon brands.
If you found value in this post, complement it with our “Your Ultimate Travel Packing List and Guide, inspired by Nellie Bly. Also, check out Demystifying the Passport Process. Better yet, share your travel packing ideas that have worked for you.