I can’t even imagine what travel must have been like years ago when the original, hardcore backpackers blazed the trail without internet, phones, portable music and digital cameras. On one hand, I think that would be a very liberating and exhilarating feeling. On the other hand, it would be nerve-wracking to be cut off from the rest of the world. Can you imagine sending a letter home from Africa, only to have it arrive after you did? What if there was an emergency at home, how would anyone contact you?
Not only is contact with the “real world” now completely accessible by way of internet and cheap long distance calling, but all of these advances in technology have made it easier for the modern nomad to work while being completely location independent. Gone are the days of sitting in a cubicle! Bloggers, freelance writers and people with other online professions are now able to move around the world with nothing more than a laptop and a backpack, giving them complete freedom.
Of course, not all travel electronics are a necessity for the modern nomad, some are carried around purely for enjoyment!
In order to help you decide which travel electronics are necessary for your trips, here is a list of the electronics you’ll find in our backpacks:
For us as Travel Bloggers, this is a must-have. Many people are able to travel the world using just a smartphone or an iPad for their source of internet. Others have a small, lightweight, compact laptop like the MacBook Air or an Acer Aspire Netbook. During our first trips, we travelled with the Acer netbook and found it completely adequate for sending out emails and for watching movies at night. The best part was how small it was and how easily it fit into a backpack.
We are now working on our computers for about 25 hours/week, so we each have a full-sized laptop. We also prefer the larger screen for watching downloaded movies and tv shows!
Nowadays, Nick uses a 13.3″ Apple MacBook Pro which is very practical for video editing with Final Cut Pro, plus he loves the functionality of this laptop. The charging cord is a bonus because it comes with three different interchangeable plug-ins. One for North America, one for Europe and one for the UK. The only downside to the Macbook Pro is the cost. This laptop is about $1,200, but at the end of the day, it’s worth every penny.[table “” not found /]
I carry a 15″ Acer Aspire One laptop. This computer meets every need that I have with blogging and emailing. A big bonus is the cost, which is significantly less than the Mac.[table “” not found /]
It’s a “PC vs. Mac” situation and in terms of quality, functionality and ease of use and the Mac clearly wins.
- For the Macbook Pro – a durable, clear, hard cover case which clips into place on both the base and the screen of the computer.
- Both computers have soft, zip-on Case Logic protective laptop sleeves for travel days.
- I have a cordless Logitech mouse for my Acer as well, which I find makes my working days more comfortable and ergonomic.
Even though the two of us take videos and pictures, we just have one camera. We’ve gone through a few cameras in our travel days. Everything from a basic point-and-shoot Canon to a 25x zoom Panasonic Lumix. Today, we carry the newest version of the Sony Nex-6, which was our Christmas present to each other. The size, weight and the ability to take quality photos is what initially drew us to this camera. When travelling, having items in your backpack that weigh very little is a high priority.
The Sony Nex-6 is a mirrorless camera that creates the same image quality of that of a DSLR, yet it’s incredibly compact and lightweight. With the built-in wi-fi & flash, HDR feature and 1080p HD movie capabilities, we knew this was the camera for us.[table “” not found /]
- A camera case is a must have. We purchased the genuine leather, hard shell case for the Sony Nex-6, which fits snug on the camera.
- Protective Hoya 40.5mm UV Filter. Not only does this filter help with photo quality, it protects the lens.
- There are many interchangeable lenses on the market for this camera. We just have the kit lens.
- Protective, clear display screen cover. It’s difficult to put on, but definitely helps prevent scratches on the display screen.
iPod Touch (32GB)
We were both really on the fence about whether or not we should get an iPhone (or another type of Smartphone), or if we would be just fine with the iPod Touch. Ultimately what made our decision was the cost of the iPhone vs. the iPod. We spent $299 on the iPod 5th Generation 32GB and we think that it serves all the purposes that we were hoping it would.
We always carry it with us because it fits easily into a pocket or purse. With a 5 megapixel camera, panorama capabilities, flash and 1080p video recording, it has everything we need.
For social media, having this type of travel electronic has really made things more streamlined for us. We just tap on the photo we want and upload it straight to our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We also use the iPod for music, messaging with family & friends who have Apple products (for free) and for Facetime and Skype.
The noticeable differences between the iPhone and the iPod are the cost and the fact that one is an actual phone. You need to have a wi-fi connection in order to use the iPod, but for us, we’re glad we chose the iPod.[table “” not found /]
- Clear, protective screen cover. These covers help prevent scratches on the screen as well as the buildup of dust. They’re very easy to install.
- Belkin protective case. This case is very slim, flexible and form-fitting. We’ve dropped our precious iPod a couple of times and this case protected it.
When we were preparing for our trip through Mongolia, the Stans and Iran, we decided to invest in a Kindle Paperwhite rather than lugging heavy books around with us. It turned out to be a great decision. If you’re going on a trekking, hiking or camping trip and you’ll be carrying your backpack for hours on end, having a small e-reader rather than loads of books is a smart idea.
The best part about the Kindle Paperwhite is that the screen isn’t an LCD screen. It has E Ink Carta display technology, which makes it feel like you’re reading a paperback book rather than looking at a computer screen. We use this electronic not only for novels, but for guidebooks as well. The new Kindles even have wi-fi![table “” not found /]
Each of our Kindle e-readers have a special protective, hard, leather cover which snaps shut with a magnetic clasp. Just by closing the cover, the Kindle turns off.
These definitely aren’t a necessity when travelling, but for us, we love having a set of compact speakers! We recently bought the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox when we were back in Canada. These Bluetooth, wireless speakers are fantastic. We connect our iPod Touch via Bluetooth to the speakers and are able to listen to music wherever we are. We bring these portable speakers to the beach and picnics and we also use them for better sound quality when we’re watching movies on our laptops. We love the compact size (it’s basically the size of a can of food) and the great sound that they give off.[table “” not found /]
Portable External Hard Drives
We have thousands of photos and videos from our numerous trips around the world. Rather than jam-packing our laptops with these files (which would severely slow down our computers), or trying to upload them to the Cloud or a dropbox with slow internet, we have two portable, external hard drives. Not only do we use these hard drives for storage and back up of our precious memories, but we have also downloaded thousands of movies, tv shows, documentaries and music albums.
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- A protective cover for these fragile items is a must. We have an HP zip on case that opens like a book. It actually fits both of our hard drives inside.
We started carrying a phone towards the end of our first trip in order to contact hostels and guesthouses to book a room. We still have our very basic, unlocked Nokia phone that we bought when we were travelling in India! We prefer to have a durable, cheap phone that we know we can bring to the beach and use in public without worrying about someone stealing it. We buy local SIM cards in each country we go to and top up the airtime minutes as needed.
Especially if you are renting a car or going out trekking, we recommend having a phone with you. In the most remote places, we still see people on their phones, so coverage is usually pretty good. If you have an emergency, a flat tire, an accident or are lost, having a mobile phone can be your lifeline to safety.[table “” not found /]
Odds & Ends
There are a few smaller electronic items/accessories that we also carry with us.
- Earbud Earphones. We each have a pair which we use for listening to music, having Skype conversations, watching a movie on a plane and for video editing on Final Cut Pro.
- Lens Cleaner and Soft Cloth. We try to clean our travel electronics as often as possible to avoid the build up of dust, salt and dirt which can all damage the products.
- International Travel Adaptor. All of our electronics charge with a North American, two prong plug-in. When travelling in other parts of the world, it’s necessary to have an adaptor in order to charge everything in a wall socket.
- Memory Cards for the Camera. We have 3 San Disk memory cards with us – 4GB, 16GB and 32GB.
We try to buy high quality products that are lightweight, affordable and easy to pack. Apart from our laptops (which are a necessity), everything else is small, compact and weighs very little. Travelling with electronics seems to be the norm these days. Rarely have we been in a hostel, on a bus or sitting in a cafe without seeing someone on their smartphone or laptop.
We live in a modern world where social media and internet are an inevitable part of the day. We try to be on our laptops for a reasonable amount of time before shutting them down. When we’re out for a meal or enjoying the day together, we don’t update our Facebook page or message with people. One of the great things about not having full-time internet access with the iPod Touch (as opposed to 3G with an iPhone) is that we have a break from social media and from being connected 24/7.
It’s nice to unplug once in a while and really enjoy the moment.
Do you think travel electronics are ruining or improving the way we travel these days? Any gadgets you would add to the list? Share with us below!
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