Many electronics have been introduced in the past decade that make traveling more convenient and easy. Here are my top 3 electronics I can’t be without while traveling – plus one electronic I’m glad I’m without while traveling.
Travel Electronic #1: The Kindle
When I first got my Kindle as a birthday gift from my mom, I was excited to use it, but was sure – absolutely, positively, convinced – it would never take the place of a real book. I assumed I would use the kindle for traveling and maybe to download a book here or there when not traveling, but when it came to my favorite authors, such as Sophie Kinsella and Bill Bryson, I would still definitely buy their new books to put on my bookshelf next to their other books. I was sure I couldn’t forego the relaxing stillness of sitting with a good book and cup of coffee and relishing in the new book (or dusty old favorite) smell as I turned each featherlight page.
Well, it took me all of one trip using my kindle to realize I would rarely buy another “oldschool” book again, whether I was traveling or not. And for traveling? I am utterly obsessed.
Books are heavy and take up space. A kindle is light and can be easily tucked into a purse or backpack. On an overnight bus or sleeping in a hostel? Reading lights are cumbsersome for books. My kindle cover has an easy to use built in light.
Also, when I finish reading a book while traveling, I have to wait to start another one until I find an English bookstore or a hostel/hotel that has a book exchange. With my kindle, I just need to find a place with wi-fi and download a new book – or just pick one from the few I’ve already downloaded in preparation for the trip.
Now I can’t even imagine traveling without my Kindle and having to lug around a 500-page book.
Travel Electronic #2: The Tablet
I’ve lusted after the iPad since it came out, but could not bring myself to actually purchase it. (That’s like a one way plane ticket to Europe!) So when I got an HP Touchpad in the $99 blitz sale they had last year, I was psyched. Sure, it was the iPad’s less cool, less fashionable, and sometimes cranky younger sister, but it still had the attributes I was looking for.
The TouchPad often replaces my laptop when I travel now. Typing is much slower on it, but the convenience and lightweightness of it makes up for its downfalls – plus, I don’t need to take it out of my bag when going through security.
In addition to being my gateway to the world wide web while traveling, I jot down blog outlines, stories, and article ideas in its notepad feature and am easily able to transfer it over to my laptop when I get home. It’s also an entertainment provider on planes and bus rides as I can watch movies on it.
Someday though, I will upgrade to that wonderful thing they call the iPad.
Travel Electonic #3: The Digital Camera
This is a no-brainer for a traveler, but for me, my camera is not only for pictures, it’s an extension of my journal and a memory-trigger.
I’ll often snap pictures of things I know are not going to make my scrapbook or my Facebook album of the trip. It may be a menu item that I want to make sure I remember exactly what I ate and how it was described, or the name of a restaurant, or someone’s name scrawled on a napkin right after a picture of their face so I don’t forget the wonderful people I met on my travels once I’m home.
I need my camera just as much as I need my journal for documenting my trip for me – and of course, I hope to get a few National Geographic worthy shots along the way to share with everyone else.
Travel Electronic I’m Kind of Happy to be Without: My iPhone
When I’m at home I literally cannot be without my iPhone. It is always on the table in front of me, or in my pocket, or – more often than not – in my hand. On a recent episode of “The Office” when Ryan dropped out of a trivia contest at a bar because they took his phone away and he couldn’t handle being away from it, I was sad to say I could completely relate.
When traveling overseas though, I never upgrade to the international plan for my trip. I always have my phone with me just in case there’s an emergency or to take pictures to upload later. But not having my 3G is freeing. If I’m waiting in line for something, instead of browsing Facebook or the Internet, I actually stand and have a conversation with a stranger or just eavesdrop on local interactions and conversations. I simply enjoy being. When waiting for my food at a restaurant, I do the same thing or sometimes will write in my journal – much easier to do when the distraction of my phone isn’t present. I love it and hope I’m always just cheap enough to not pay for the international plan while traveling.