Ask any traveler over a certain age – for argument’s sake, let’s say anyone born before 1975 – what it was like to travel before the advent of the technology we have today. We’re pretty sure you’ll be astounded with the responses – and also equally impressed! Before we had mobile phones, computers, apps, and GPS, you would have to be much more prepared and organized when embarking on a travel adventure, otherwise, you might find yourself in seriously deep water.
It was a vastly different experience then, and one which you could debate for hours on the merits of pre-tech travel, the advantages and disadvantages compared with today. Perhaps we’ll save that for another post! Right now, here’s a run-down of the best tech resources to make your travel easier.
While it is possible to travel phoneless – and we know fellow travelers who have refused to own one while being on the road for over six years – being able to access a smartphone will do wonders for making travel easier. It’s astounding just how smooth it makes organizing and executing your travel plans, so everything goes off without a hitch.
We’ll touch on what you need to add to it later, but unless you’re going for the full nomad, off-the-beaten-track experience, you really need one of these. You either adapt – or you die!
Enter any hostel today and you’ll probably see a dozen or so people hunched over screens and busy bashing away on the keys. Essential if you’re working remotely, such as travel blogging or writing, netbooks and laptops are now part and parcel of a traveler’s lifestyle.
Organizing and saving your photos, messaging friends and family, researching your next move or just binge-watching Netflix in the common area – get yourself one of these to make your life easier. We recommend something small and light too – remember this when you’re figuring out what and how to pack.
Purists among you will pour scorn on this entry, those who like to physically turn pages, and yes – it is much better to have a real book, as the feel and smell of an E-reader just isn’t the same! But traveling and reading go together like fish and chips, and it’s hard to pack several books – or even one book for that matter – such is the value of space. E-readers are a great alternative, perfect for storing several thousand novels at once, so you’re never bored while waiting to board. Don’t forget they’re invaluable for accessing new books in your chosen language when in foreign lands, as well as checking all the travel info online.
Packing a camera is a contentious issue, but it all really depends on what you want to get out of your travels. Some people leave them at home, believing they get in the way of making memories, while others believe they are essential in making them. It’s up to you.
If you like taking photos – then take one along. If you don’t – leave it behind. Simple.
There’s a whole bundle of tech tricks and trinkets you can stuff into your backpack (preferably a rolling rucksack), and more being released every hour saturating an already confusing market that will have you pulling your hair out.
We’re passionate about doing away with all the fluff and only including what is absolutely necessary, what you’re actually going to use, and what will ease your packing headache. It’s bad enough as it is.
- Universal travel adapter. Spend a bit of money and invest in a good one for multiple country use. This is your friend, and you don’t want it falling apart on you.
- Earphones. Essential for watching Rick and Morty at 3 am when everyone else is asleep.
That’s it. Honorable mentions might include an SD card or a USB stick, but that depends entirely on your needs. This really this is about as bare-bones as you can get.
Pretty much a no-brainer this one, as it’s probably the most invaluable travel tool at your fingertips. Most smartphones now have GPS built in, so you’ve really no excuse for getting lost anymore. Gone are the days of writing down the address of where you’re staying that night and wandering around for hours trying to find it. Google maps is awesome for finding out where you are, and where you need to go. Absolutely essential.
Of course, you can always stick your head out the window and check if it’s raining, but you can’t do that if you’re 2000 miles from your destination. There are multiple weather apps out there, but “wunderground” is incredibly accurate with an attractive interface and ease of operation. It even includes pollen levels and chances of flu outbreaks – so you know when to run for the hills in case of a zombie apocalypse.
XE Currency Converter
If you’ve got a smartphone, don’t even think about traveling without this app. XE converts money in a heartbeat at the current exchange rate, as well as having a whole host of other options nobody ever really uses. So much so that we don’t know what they are, we just know that they’re there.
The best thing though is when you add currencies to your saved list, you can access current rates even offline – which is perfect when you’re crossing a border and exchange sharks are trying to rip you off.
Invaluable when it comes to breaking the language barrier, google translate is a work of staggering genius – and it’s improving all the time. Will the art of learning a language be replaced with technological advancement? Quite possibly – which is perfect for lazy people. You can also hold your phone up to a foreign sign and google will translate it – which is extremely useful for avoiding ordering something unpleasant in restaurants.
No. Just, no!
But I’m not going to be angry with you, if you travel with a selfie drone. That’s just cool.
There you go folks, a very simple run-down on what we believe to be the most essential technological wizardry you can arm yourselves with to make your travel easier. We’ve deliberately opted for a streamlined approach, but really there’s no limit to the amount of gear you can clip-on to improve your chances of returning home in one piece. We’re all turning into robots!
Do you have any tips on essential tech to make traveling easier? Share the love – we want to know!