Travel With Technology – Make Use of Your Gadgets
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So, you have booked air/bus tickets, your stay, other activities, its now time for packing. It is always a headache when it comes the time for packing, because always we made mistakes in the list. To make our trip a comfortable one, please make sure, you well prepared your backpack. I am not talking about the number of t-shirts, trousers or undergarments to carry – that you can get it from any place-, but sharing some experience and tips on the usage of technology and your gadgets while traveling. Stop, don’t run away to pack your laptop, ipad or DSLR; I didn’t start yet 🙂
I have noticed, backpackers carry a lot of items – me too – but never use during trips. Most of the time those travel gears are waste and you are carrying those for nothing.
Laptop & Tablet
Keeping a laptop in your bag is good in case of emergency, but did you ever realize that, you never used that laptop/notebook for anything other than browsing some websites ? For most of the cases laptop/notebook can be replaced with a good tablet (Android/iPad) which will give you all services a laptop can do. Okey, I am not arguing on this as some people still prefer a “light weight ultrabooks” than tablets – like Dell XPS 13, MacBook Air or a Asus ZenBook UX305. Just consider the size (13″ preferable), storage space, long battery life etc while buying these ultrabooks. If you are planning to carry a laptop for work from road or hotel, sorry better you cancel your tickets and stay at home you poor workaholic !
A Good tablet will be useful while traveling as you can use it for browsing, checking emails, reading books (offline/downloaded in case of no internet like Magzter App), manage your travel blog, watching movies etc. Always prefer a tablet with plenty of storage (either inbuilt or add-on) as you can save some movies, songs and books. Even with accessories like memory card readers, you can copy your SD card photos to iPad or android tablet. So my preference is an iPad or iPad mini as both are handy and easy to carry.
Some backpackers still like to carry e-book readers as which offer longer battery backup and “cool reading experience” than tablets.
Music, Photos, Movie, Camera, Map/GPS, Translators, Books – now everything is on a single device called Smartphones; oh, did I miss the feature that we can even call from a smartphone ? 😉
Thanks to technology; with a single device (an average model or above) you can manage all those your needs. As I never bought locked/contract based handsets, I am able to use the local SIM cards during foreign visits. This will indeed enable you to make local calls and use local data/3G/4G services. What I have experienced is that, if you have a good data plan on local SIM, you can manage your calls to home town/country via those free apps like skype (Buys Skype Credit), google hangout(buy calling credit), whatsapp or facebook chat.
You must install these apps
- Google Maps
By experience, apple’s native map app never helped me on iPhone and I fully rely on Google Maps. Google is regularly improving the maps by adding features and more high quality map images, more local options etc. By Local Guides program, Google is allowing all map users to improve map by add/edit places, photos and even 360 photos. Do you know, you can easily download/make offline google maps in case you are worrying about your local/roaming data usage.
- Google Trips
As a die-hard google fan, I like the new Google Trips app very much. The app will suggest you the best places nearby, what to do etc and the one of the best thing is that you can offline the places (like google maps) so that you don’t need to worry about the data.
- Google Translator
One of the best tool from Google for travelers. You ask anything to google translate(103 languages so far), even just scan a picture (with words) and give a try to translate.(See how to use image scanning and translate). Latest updates will enable you to use Google translate offline and no need to worry about the data.
- Cloud Storage
Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Mega, Dropbox – Choose your cloud storage option (either free storage or paid if you have a large storage need) as all those got super cool apps and features. As we know the data we want to backup during our travel is always the photos from phone or camera. And with a free wifi at your hotel, you can easily do this backup to your cloud storage. Eg: Google drive will not take your storage space for High Quality photographs, which is enough for later use and even for printing. For backup from your SD card just follow the same from laptop; but if you have only smartphone/tablet, get a good SD Card reader like Lighting to SD Card reader or any OTG Memory card reader. Are you a person who want to work with digital media like video & other graphics contents ? I would recommend Wiredrive is one of the best solution which got integration option with Adobe tools and DropBox.
- Currency convertor
One of the best tool for your travel planner and organizer. TripIt will act like a travel manager, you can organize your travel plans, routes, notes etc.
- Weather app
Any weather app like Yahoo weather, weather+free will help to identify the local wather conditions.
- Restaurants /Hotel Reviews
As you are not a local, it would be helpful to check reviews from visitors who had been there already. Keep in mind that, not all reviews are genuine (something like “Wifi speed is not good, so I give 1 star !”), search for good one and decide.
- Note taking & Blogging
As a traveler, indeed you need to take down notes, travel tips, blog posts, details etc. Use any of the good note taking applications which will satisfy you and there are good applications from blogging platforms.
- Internet & Social Media
We are lucky as plenty of mobile applications are there to connect always and they will help to reduce your calling expenses as no roaming need to apply. Most of them are free to call over internet and as I mentioned above, there is paid services as well like skype credit, google credit etc.
As you are carrying all your electronic gadgets, make sure you have identified the visiting country’s power plug standards. Most of the travel stores are selling multi-standard adapters or so called Universal Travel Adapters, but do not compromise with quality when you go for cheaper models; remember that it may harm your devices. If you have multiple devices like tablet, notebook etc, please go for multi plug power-boxes.
As smartphone battery can drain anytime due to usage of large-sreen, GPS etc, the best option to keep your phone alive is power banks. Get a good one and do not compromise for prize and capacity.
Public Wifi & Internet Cafe’s
Your hotel or the restaurants will have public/free wifi+internet and that will be the best option to get connected. But keep in mind that, public wifi hotspots are never safe and not reliable. Never use those for transactions involving money.
- Always try to use incognito mode/Private window mode in browsers.
- Use VPN if you have any secure things to do.
- Visit secure sites only; prefer https if possible.
Secure your devices with Password
For ease of use some people may disable the password access in their smartphone/tablet/laptop. You must setup a non-easy to guess password/PIN for your devices and ensure your data are safe even you loss your devices. Also try to enable remote device wipe for your devices (Android | iOS).
Enable GeoTagging on your smartphone or DSLR while taking pictures; this will help you to identify the exact place where you took the photo.
Reader’s suggestions are my greatest strength, and here see some comment(s).
# Use a normal handphone (like Nokia 1100) with long lasting battery. Thanks @Krishnalal 🙂