In my recent travels, I’ve realised how much I appreciate some of my tech when I’m travelling. By ‘appreciate’, I also mean that I’ve realised how central technology now is in travelling. So I thought I’d share with you my favourite 3 bits of travel technology that will improve your life on the road. Admittedly, for some people these may seem obvious, and for some there may be some obvious omissions. But this post is more of a ‘must have’ list for those looking into what you might want to take with you travelling, and also a bit of insight into how I travel and what I take. So I hope you find it useful.
1 – Bose Sound Reducing Headphones
Have you ever been on a plane with a screaming baby or child? Or tried to sleep but can’t due to aeroplane noise? Bose has always had a reputation for great quality sound, and some people get these headphones for the quality alone. I bought them having tried a display set in a store years ago in New York, and was really impressed. However, I was originally put off by the hefty price tag as they cost a couple of hundred dollars. Eventually I was convinced to get some by a friend who had a pair, and swore by them for his long haul flights. So with a 11 hour flight from LA to London ahead of me, I decided to splash out. The difference is amazing! It’s so peaceful to just be able to flip the little button and activate sound reduction. My trusty headphones have helped me sleep on countless flights and long travel trips. They are even great to drown out background noise at home if I need to work or if I’m playing on my electric piano. Just flick the little sound reduction switch, and you’re in your own blissful little world. I’m yet to meet someone who has spoken badly of these, or for whom these haven’t improved their flying experiences, so if you’ve got a bit of cash to spare, they are definitely worth the money!
2 – Decent Portable Battery Pack
These have suddenly emerged over the last few years and have been an absolute godsend for charging technology on the go. All you need is to charge your battery pack, then you have a portable power source for your phone or tablet wherever you go. If like me, sometimes you choose to take lots of pictures using your phone for convenience, it becomes essential to be able to re-charge your phone on long travel days. Or even for emergencies, being able to have a way to keep being able to use your technology is so useful. I would recommend getting one that charges a phone at least 3 times over, these are easy to find and for not much more than single charge, so much more useful! Recently it’s also been a good solution if you’re travelling as a couple, with a friend, or staying anywhere with limited sockets. You can use your allocated socket time to charge your battery pack for as long as you can, and then you’ll be able to charge your device at your convenience. Ending arguments over who gets to use the plug, and taking the stress away of running out of power for those essential travel selfies.
3 – iPhone/Smartphone
Now this seems obvious doesn’t it, I mean who doesn’t have a smartphone that they take around with them. I also hear many of you saying ‘an iPhone, really? Oh, how millenial of you’. Well I actually considered leaving mine at home when I travelled as I didn’t want to lose something so valuable. But I’m SO glad I didn’t. A laptop or tablet always seemed much to clunky for me to carry around. Whereas with my iPhone I’m able to take and share pictures (more details in the paragraph below), use google maps to navigate, communicate with home for free using Skype, research areas I’m visiting, blog, entertain myself with music, podcasts, audiobooks and games etc, and much much more. These days you really don’t need any other device if you have your smartphone with you, it will help you endlessly in your time away. So if you’re wondering if you should bring your smartphone travelling, YES you definitely should!
But Giles, aren’t you forgetting to mention the most essential gadget of all, a camera?!
Well, no actually… I know I haven’t mentioned a dSLR or other camera as my top technology in this list and the reasons are these. Firstly, I’m not a photographer. I like taking pictures as much as the next person, but I don’t understand or know how to use ‘proper cameras’ as I call them. I had to google dSLR to check I had the right letters (they might still be wrong…), and didn’t see the point in splashing out on a excellent quality camera if I didn’t know how to use it or edit properly. So I bought a basic waterproof digital, which turned out to be very useful for waterproof shooting and Africa. But if I’m being completely honest, the second reason is that I used my phone for pictures ALOT more than my camera. What?! I hear you shockingly ask… Well if you’ve been travelling, you may realise that sometimes it’s just far more convenient to capture things as they happen from a device that’s always in your pocket within easy access, than to carry a big camera around with you the whole time, especially if you’re not proficient at using a ‘proper camera’ like me. Also the quality of phone cameras now is pretty ridiculous… There are so many easy to use features, and accessories that make it easy to take great pictures as in the main image above. So for someone who doesn’t need big raw files for photos that I’m going to blow up or edit, a phone served me very well! Not to mention it backed up all of my photos automatically on iCloud as I went, and made it extremely convenient to share on the go.
BUT, if you are a photographer and know how to use these amazing cameras, then obviously the quality far outweighs a phone’s camera. I’m not for a second trying to make the opposite argument as I know how great top quality edited photos can be. My point is this, I can’t take great quality photos and I can’t edit, so if you’re not a photographer and are mainly using the photos to share online, or make small prints, a decent quality camera phone will likely end up being your most used device for taking photos. I haven’t even mentioned GoPro’s, which if I had one and had used one, I’m sure would be a contender also.
So yes some of these might seem obvious, but hopefully these few bits of technology are a good place to start thinking about what tech you need to take with you travelling. I’d be interested to hear what technology others find they can’t live without, so what is your essential tech for travel?
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