Technology for Traveling I

Our Travel Technology. Our average trip length is now three to four weeks so we are very choosy about what we pack and carry. For cell phones we carry several. My wife uses a Verizon iPhone 5 and generally it works well internationally but at times service is costly. She usually keeps data turned off except when actually needed so to prevent unexpected costs. We can download Google Maps into her phone for major cities we will visit and can then use the GPS feature to navigate data free. I have a Verizon phone that when traveling internationally I turn off and switch to a dual sim GSM phone (originally a compact Samsung but now a Blu 5.5) with my primary service prepaid with OneSimCard. I use auto replenish and have a second U.S. phone number for family and friends to call. If it is a good value I will buy a country specific sim card while traveling in a specific country (worked out great in Australia).

We each have android tablets (a 7” and an 8”) which we use as e-readers. We have shared accounts with B&N Nook, Amazon Kindle Books and Google Play Books with all three apps on both tablets. We use the tablets to recover and send e-mail mainly because it’s easier than using the cell phones and we can better control data usage. Reading e-mail and composing replies is much faster on a tablet. In addition we keep photo libraries, games, music collections, keep our calendars and take notes with them. I also carry an adapter that plugs into the micro USB port on my tablet to access SD cards for downloading photos and thumb drives to transfer documents. I also have a Bluetooth folding keyboard and use it with the tablet for writing. I also use Google Drive to transfer and store files and it works fine when I have an internet connection but can get confusing at times without. I have had problems with downloaded documents on Google Drive not showing up when off the internet so I prefer now to save them to thumb drives. Just as the smart phone has the limitation of size the Android tablet can be awkward at transferring and working on photos and documents. It is also cumbersome to use for design work and uploading work to the internet.

I now also have an HP 10” 2 in 1 with Windows 10. It works great as a substitute for a full laptop and I can detach the keyboard and use it as a touch screen tablet. One of its biggest advantages over most tablets is it allows me to easily transfer documents between it and a thumb drive and with an adapter I can also plug in a full sized camera SD card to download recent photographs (the 2 in 1 has a large capacity micro SD card that I leave in as part of its primary storage).

I also travel with a compact digital camera that gives me more capability than a smart phone. My current camera is a Nikon compact that yields 22 Mb images and has a 35X zoom lens. My camera pouch/case has a pocket for a spare battery and a back-up SD card. If we are out for a whole day one charged battery isn’t enough. I also have had an SD card fail on me. It started acting up and I managed to transfer almost all the photos to another device before it failed completely. Ever since that day I have upgraded the quality of my SD cards and I always carry a spare. My wife is happy using her iPhone as a camera and can automatically transfer them to her tablet with bluetooth.

The miscellaneous stuff fits in a travel pouch. That includes a three port USB smart charger (it adjusts output based on the needs of the device plugged in),  power banks to keep tablets running on long flights etcetera. We also carry country specific power plug adaptors (power converters are usually not necessary as most modern electronic devices will handle multiple currents), various Apple cables 😦 and a couple of micro-USB charging cables. I also have two USB cables that can switch tips including micro-USB, various Apple tips and USB C and USB mini that saves some cable tangle. I also take along spare SD cards and a couple of thumb drives and a good quality compact set of headphones.

While this may seem like a lot it will all fit comfortably in a small backpack along with toiletries and more and weighs less than five or six pounds.