I remember the time when one of the main concerns of planning a travel was not forgetting to take a document of some kind (passport, id, etc.) and cash. When I visited Europe for the first time, in 1998, there was no mobile phone. My memories of communication with my family always bring me back to the phone calls made in the famous red booth. A novelty!
Photos were taken by old-school/vintage cameras that required a lot of patience waiting for the developing of photos or/and carrying loads of extra batteries to make sure the night shots will come out nice(ish).
Nothing against it. We still worship those vintage cameras. Fans of lomo and Instax mini will agree with me. They still provide memorable physical copies of the best moments of our trips. No doubts about it.
But things have changed quite a bit in the way when think travelling nowadays and our travel checklist includes a range of tech-gadgets that makes our lives much easier.
So, here’s my list of essential tech- gadgets:
1- Tablet and smartphone:
Tablets are very versatile devices because of the storage a lot of different things, from books to music. It is a lifesaver in long flights when I want to watch something different of what is provided on the TV screen of the aeroplane, for example.
Or of course, when you want to listen to “your music” and create your own playlists on Spotify By the way, I use my tablet on every single trip (even to go to work) to listen to my playlists offline. No wi-fi needed, which is great!
Same thing with books, there is always more space in your suitcase or handbag, if you download an e-book.
My smartphone is a great travelling company essentially because it takes high-quality photos and of course, it is my mean of communication with everyone. It is not the latest Samsung model and I am happy about it. I also usually download “map apps” to help me find directions in the cities where I visit. On the other hand, I wish I could enjoy a bit more the travel without relying on my mobile so much. But It never will happen, I know.
Headphones should be first in this list and I don’t leave my house without them. Mine cost just a tenner and it does the trick quite well in long flights, for example. No offence, but the headphones provided by airline companies are not the best. So, it is an essential gadget to avoid annoying aeroplane noise and watch films or listening to music, and podcasts, for sure.
Together with my smartphone, I always use my husband’s Sony cyber shot DSC-HX1’s on trip photos. Despite being a very heavy camera, the quality of photos and videos are guaranteed with this Sony. Its huge LCD screen, easy menu and superzoom improves your chances of taking better shots as well. It is perfect for amateurs, like me. But I think it is a discontinued model now. So, I started looking for a more compact camera for travelling through.
I recently bought my first GoPro. Unfortunately, it isn’t the latest model because I am not that into radical sportsperson (yet) and I think it costs loads of money to be invested in something you don’t use with so much frequency.
On the other hands, I would like to film the tons of walking and trails that I usually do during the year. So, this GoPro sounds very practical and I am enjoying trying it in different ways. The quality of the video is also something positive. It does the trick very well and I am still learning how to make the most of it.
But there is a “but” about this teeny-tiny cool camera, and it’s a big but. Having a GoPro demands to buy other bits and bobs that go from tripods to battery recharge and even a microphone. So, it is guaranteed that you will spend a bit more in equipment too.
4- Jastek 5 in 1 charging cable:
This is by far one of the most necessary gadgets ever. This amazing USB charging cable can save lots of time in a (travelling) life, charging all your devices in one goal. The fact is it also multicoloured makes it easy to be spot and/or hard to lose. And to be honest, for me, it is worth just for the fact I don,t need to bring the other extra 269 cables usually necessary to charge all my devices. Love you Jastek!
I know, you Fitbit people, a pedometer is not the highest-tech stuff you have ever seen in life, but I am happy with my old-school pocket pedometer when going for a simple stroll around. There are several apps tracking my steps on my mobile phone, like Map My Walk and Heart Bit, for example. But this pedometer does not rely on wi-fi or needed to be recharged and it is damn cheap stuff. It automatically resets at midnight making easy to track my daily steps, distance and activity So, long life to the vintage tech-gadgets too!
6- Kit Universal Power Bank
I bought this power bank charger for urgent situations when you have no other way of charging my devices. It is practical and holds enough charger to power at least 50% of my mobile phone. It has been a lifesaver sometimes and I always have it in my bag. I don`t use the flashlight too much but I am sure it will be useful when needed. It is not the cheapest power bank in the market, but it is affordable and useful.
7- USB Power adapter
Finally, the always necessary adapter. I was caught on my last trip to Amsterdam without no way of charging my phone because I didn’t do my lesson and didn’t have an idea that their power adapters were different of the UK ones. What? Everything should be the same in Europe, right? No, of course not Simone. So, I got mine from the Schiphol airport and (and paid airport prices for it, you know….). So, wherever I go abroad, I will remember to check this map of plug sockets before start packing.