Cambodian Transport – low tech – it works!
TRAVEL GEAR – TECH STUFF THAT WORKS
As the new year rolls along (where does the time go anyway?) it seemed to be a good time to share a round up of some of my favorite travel gear. This is gear that I use – I use it a lot. And after traveling through the United States, Europe and Asia I have found that this stuff works. Some of these items I’ve reviewed previously. Some items are new. And before anyone starts to debate about the pros and cons of any of these items let me quickly say this is a very subjective list. This is my list of travel gear that I have used and have put to the test. They work for me in my kind of travel and I want to offer them to you for your consideration. And right at the top I admit that I am a tech geek. So I travel with considerable tech gear. If you are a traveler, you may find the list helpful. So here it is – my list.
Travel Gear – Tech Stuff That Works
Smart Phone –
My Smart Phone is at the top of my gear list – both at home and when on the road.
My personal preference – I currently use the iPhone 7+, Black with 128 GB memory.
Why I use it —- It is incredibly versatile and reliable.I use it for communication, entertainment, and photography. The large screen of the “plus” allows me to easily view items on the web such as maps, documents, photos, etc. It’s an international phone and I can easily swap out sim cards to obtain service wherever I am traveling, allowing me to phone and text others around the world as well as use data for internet connections. I use it to store information regarding trips – copies of tickets, hotel reservations, itineraries, directions, etc. It’s my alarm clock and reminder system when on the road. The “plus” also has an incredible dual camera system which captures images of great quality. Being part of the Apple Family of products the iPhone also syncs and shares nformation easily across my various Apple devices.
My tablet comes in a close 2nd to my iPhone in terms of my “go to” travel tech.
My personal preference – I currently use the iPad Air 2, Space Gray with 128 GB memory.
Why I use it —– I no longer travel with a laptop or notebook computer. I used to – but I gave it up when I got my iPad. I’ve found that my iPad does everything I need when I travel. My iPad is my primary reading and writing device allowing me to easily write and edit articles for this website for example. When internet access is available I also stream Netflix and Amazon Video. Without internet I can still watch movies and shows I previously downloaded to my iPad, again from Netflix and Amazon. The huge number of apps available for the iPad is truly amazing so the iPad can be customized according to individual needs.
Some travelers and writers I speak with are surprised I don’t use a laptop and that I can get by with my iPad. Honestly, for the most part I don’t think of it as getting by. The iPad is small enough yet big enough for my needs. It is fast and dependable with great battery life. I can quickly swap photos between the iPad and iPhone using AirDrop. I do have a clamshell case by Zagg ( see below) which offers great protection and also has a great keyboard which again, for me, is great for extended typing.The one major down side issue for me is the limitation on ability to us the iPad as a realistic and effective backup for all my photos. There is some back up capacity / ability but this works mostly for SD cards. There is really no way to effectively back up Compact Flash cards. And the ability to create and manage an effective photo file structure on the iPad is also limited. Also, keep in mind that for the most part I do not get involved with much post processing on the road. And also I don’t process any video on the road as well.Bottom line, perhaps someday Apple will make the iPad more user friendly in the ways mentioned above and / or allowing effective and practical addition of other peripherals. I’m not counting on that however – Apple seems to think it always knows best – (I sometimes disagree obviously). Otherwise – perhaps another company will come out with the ideal laptop which will better meet my needs. Until then, my iPad is high on my travel gear list.
Keyboard for iPad Air 2 –
The case / keyboard combo for my iPad Air 2 is an important piece of my travel tech gear.
My Personal Preference – I currently use a folio case made by Zagg.
Why I use it —- This folio style case / keyboard combo uses a clam shell design. It’s made of sturdy material and provides total “wrap around protection”. I can throw in my backpack, confident it will survive the journey. If for some reason I want to use it without the keyboard / case, the iPad easily pops out of the upper portion of the case. I hardly ever do this however. In the case it’s easy to set the iPad on my lap or on the tray in an airliner for easy typing and viewing. The keyboard has outstanding battery life – I honestly can’t recall when I last recharged it – probably over 2 months ago. The keyboard is large with keys well spaced. Keys are very responsive making the Zagg very easy to use for prolonged typing of articles etc.
Plug Adapter –
As all travelers have discovered, different countries have different styles of electrical outlets. In order to access electrical power you will need a plug adapter. It’s an important part of my travel tech gear.
My Personal Preference – I travel with the Kikkerland UL03-A Universal Travel Adapter.
Why I use it — This Kikkerland adapter is relatively small, light weight, adjustable and reasonably priced. You can pay a lot more for an adapter but why? This one works! I actually travel with two of these adapters. It can be configured in a number of ways to access outlets is most countries of the world. The design is a bit reminiscent of “Transformers” – you may remember those toys which could change into different sizes and shapes. By adjusting various pieces of this small light weight adapter the plug will fit into foreign outlets and effectively pass current through to your own electronic gadget. It’s available on Amazon.
Multiple Power Outlet Device –
Travelers often find that their hotel room or cruise cabin have insufficient power outlets for their needs. The solution is to add a multiple outlet power strip to your travel gear.
My Personal Preference – I travel with one, and sometimes two of the Monster Travel Strips pictured to the left. They have worked great for me, each one having 4 outlets for my devices. Unfortunately this item is no longer available. You might be able to find one online.
It appears that Monster may have replaced the outlet strip with this new multi-outlet wall plug. I haven’t tried one but It appears to have some advantages. It is smaller and more compact. It also has 2 USB outlets. But the sacrifice? It offers only three outlets rather than four. And it has no cord, instead plugging directly into the wall outlet. Why might that be a problem? I find that when I travel the plug is frequently in some inaccessible place such as behind the bed. The short cord on the power strip often makes it easier to manipulate plugs or place the outlet in a more handy location. Still, the trade offs might work for you.
Sound Canceling Headphones –
Noise canceling Headphones can be a lifesaver on those long international flights. The same applies for interminable bus trips through the foreign countryside. Trouble is, there are so many headphones out there to choose from. For me I look for something that is 1) reasonably effective, 2) compact design, and 3) available at a reasonable price point.
My Personal Preference – I have traveled many, many thousands of miles over a number of years with my Sennheiser PXC- 250 Noise Canceling Headphones. In fact I’ve used them so much that I replaced the cushioned ear and head pads – available from Sennheiser which is a nice feature as well. These “on ear” style headphones are not as huge as those giant earmuff designs and don’t cost as much either. I suspect they might not be as totally effective as the big boys either, but hey – everything in life has a bit of compromise in it. For me, these work well for travels. They come in a nice carry case which also includes adapter plugs and room for extra batteries which are necessary for any headphone with noise canceling ability. These headphones will also work as regular headphones when the noise canceling feature is turned off.
Backup Battery –
Today’s traveler carries lots of tech – smartphones, tablets, cameras, etc. And all those devices need power. If you are out in the field or away from a power outlet for a long period of time you just may need to recharge some of those electronic toys. That’s when a backup battery comes in very handy.
My Personal Preference – I travel with a KMASHI 20000 Portable Charger.
Why I Use It — Charger has a reasonable price point and has a large back up capacity at 20000mAh, enough power to recharge an iPhone 7 five times for example. It has two recharging USB ports and comes with a nice carry bag.
What tech gear do you always travel with? Share your ideas and suggestions!
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© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.