Since we’ll be in the road for a year choosing our travel accessories is important. To make it into our suitcase the top gadgets have to be light, functional and add to the enjoyment of the trip. Here are some tips for our top travel gear:
1) Unlocked smartphone - Michael no longer has a cell phone and is loving it. No voicemail to check! Larissa ended her contract and unlocked her phone. She can buy a prepaid SIM card in each country and make local calls cheaply. Plus she can still access all the music stored on it so she didn’t bring an MP3 player.
2) Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 portable speaker - We love listening to music but there are times when ear buds don’t quite cut it, particularly for sharing. About the size of a cupcake, it packs a powerful sound and has an MP3 slot.
3) Amazon Kindle with 3G - Michael the Luddite resisted this one mightily but now he’s glad he joined the 21st century. Instead of carrying reams of books he just brings the lightweight Kindle. With 3G access he can download books practically anywhere and even check e-mail.
5) SONY 14.1 megapixel Cyber-shot camera - 99% of the pictures and video on this web site have been taken with this handy pocket cam. It’s small and reliable. We considered getting a separate video camera but opted to carry less. We’re glad we did.
6) Apple MacBook Air - We are a mixed marriage, Larissa is Mac and Michael is PC, but we somehow manage to make it work. Larissa loves this nifty little device and it is incredibly light. She also brings a Cisco USB/Ethernet adaptor since the MacBook Air doesn’t have an Ethernet port. In some countries where there is no Wi-FI it is handy to be able to plug in.
For those who care about such things, Michael uses a Toshiba Portege which is also sort of light. It’s just not as cool. (But it does have an Ethernet port and DVD player to watch movies.)
7) Klipsch earbuds with microphone attachment - Excellent sound quality for music and the mic enables it for phone use too. It comes in handy for Skype calls that are in a somewhat public place.
8) International electrical converter/adaptor - The key here is that it is a converter AND an adaptor. Don’t get a device that just does one. It needs to convert the voltage (the converter part) as well as enable you to plug your home devices into any type of outlet (the adaptor part). Otherwise you run the risk of frying your equipment. Ours is compact, lightweight (about 6 oz.) and has a nifty design that switches plug styles for any country in the world. We purchased it at the local AAA office.
9) Timex Expedition watch - Michael purchased this watch ten years ago for about $22 at an actual old-fashioned hardware store, Deck’s in Ambler, Pennsylvania, which has been around since 1908. He’s worn it just about every day since then and it’s never failed. There are dual time zones, a chronograph and an alarm. Apparently it’s also water-resistant for 100 meters but he wouldn’t know, he’s never swam that far. But he can keep it on for washing dishes.
10) Theraband exercise straps - Those multi-colored straps that are familiar to anyone who has undergone physical therapy. Incredibly light and functional as a portable gym. They might even get used before the year is out.
11) Charmin To Go – Emergency mini-roll of toilet paper. You know how you carry an umbrella to guarantee it doesn’t rain? Same thing with this item. It’s still unused and we’d like to keep it that way.
12) Miniature Rocky Statue - Dual purpose tool that is not only a great icebreaker in crowds it is also a most excellent backscratcher. Don’t leave home without it.
What gadgets do you bring on trips?
You may also want to read Larissa’s perspective on packing for a year.