I like to travel light. So friends always wonder how I had managed to squeeze 3 months worth of stuff into a backpack for my Epic South America trip. But if you have been travelling longer for awhile, you’ll realise that we often don’t need most of the items we use daily back home.
While I find it easy to pack less clothes and personal items, one thing I can never pack less of are my tech items. In fact, other than my microfibre quick dry towel, the first thing I do while packing for any trip are my tech gadgets. Of the 11.3kg I brought to South America, half the weight belonged to all my little gadgets. Call me a geek but seriously though, it could have been even a lot heavier had I not selected them carefully.
Here are some of the tech things I can’t travel without.
This is an obvious one. While some people might prefer to keep valuables at home, this multi-purpose pocket sized computer is simply too useful not to bring along. As the saying goes, “if you can think of it, there is probably an app for it.”
I really use it for everything.
- Camera: Image quality is so good now that it’s the first thing I use whenever I need to take pictures of anything. Most of the images on my Instagram are taken on my iPhone! People often ask what camera I use, but really it’s just my GoPro and Iphone 90% of the time.
- Navigation Apps: I never get cheated by dubious cab operators or get lost because of my preloaded maps. The best part is that you don’t need data connection for your GPS to work. Just flash your map to your tuktuk or cab driver and they’ll know better than to make extra rounds to jack up prices.
- Notebook: While I still travel with a physical notebook, the smartphone makes it a lot easier to store new and reference information. Instead of carrying around loose papers and maps, everything can be found on device the size of your palm.
- Media Apps: Ebooks and music. Two things I can’t live without while travelling. There’s always at least one new ebook and my favourite playlists for entertainment during long flights and transits.
Look out for an upcoming post on apps I can’t travel without too.
(2) B&O Beoplay H3 ANC Earphones
Because I use my earphones often, it always pains me whenever I forget to transfer them to my travel bag and have to buy some crappy ones at the airport transit area.
While it’s a little pricy, I love the B&O Beoplay H3 ANC earphones. I have weird earholes so the foam ear tips make it very comfortable. I used to use headphones because of my awkwardly shaped earholes, but those are too bulky for travel. So far, this is the only earphones that I can wear for long periods without having to shift them around. Of course it sounds awesome, is hardy, and super lightweight for travel too.
The thing I like most though, is the active noise cancellation. No more blasting music and ruining your ears in order to drown out the sounds of a baby crying on the plane (sorry babies, I love you but sometimes you fellas can get overwhelming). Not to mention that it’s super shiok/enjoyable to be able to immerse myself in music whenever I want alone time.
(3) GoPro Hero 4 Black
Those who have been following me will know how much I enjoy using the GoPro. Check out some of my videos!
It’s super versatile and powerful for a camera of this size. The crazy 4K resolution and 240fps (at 720p) is more than what most of us will need. While the quality, depth of field, and night capabilities can’t be compared to a DSLR, it’s a great compromise given it’s size and weight. All the videos above were shot using only the GoPro!
I love outdoor activities, so there are also times where I can’t bring my iPhone without seriously risk of ruining it permanently. Whether it’s diving, hiking, or bungy jumping, the GoPro is built to handle the ruggedness.
The only thing that annoys me is the lack of an internal image stabiliser. Because it’s light weight, a lot of care has to be taken to ensure the camera doesn’t shake too much while filming. Yes it includes putting the back of camera against your face when required.
As YouTuber MicBergsma says, “body and arms shake easily, but head is steady.”
(4) Mi Powerbank
All these tech devices are great, but they are no use without power. The problem is that for some reason, in-device battery tech has not kept up with our power hungry devices. I can’t even describe how terrible they are in cold weather. My iPhone can go from 80% to 30% before turning off within 5mins of taking out of my pocket. When I was in Iceland during winter, it was like a race against time before my phone dies!
The only way is to use a heat pack for the phone and keep it plugged into a portable charger deep in my pockets.
The Mi Powerbank is one of the best I’ve used though. It’s super cheap and compact for it’s size. I use a 16,000mAH one, which is more than enough for charging my iPhone and GoPro while out exploring the entire day. It’s like a little brick, but still way lighter than the others in the market.
(5) International Travel Adapter
While not exactly a tech item, the travel adapter is a must have where ever you go. Whether it’s too troublesome to be constantly checking power requirements, or bringing multiple adapters when you are travelling to different countries, this just makes it much more convenient.
I’m using an old normal international travel adapter, but what I really like are the newer ones that comes with usb ports. That way you can charge multiple handheld devices at the same time without bringing an extension cord. Some even have safety fuses that protect your devices against power surges.
Guess it’s time for an upgrade!
What are some of the tech things you can’t travel without? Drop them in the comments section below.