It’s easy to go overboard when buying up travel gadgets, plugs and adapters for your pending trip. Having come from a background working in IT I know better than others just how addictive it is to have the latest and greatest. In the last three years of travel and living abroad however I’ve found the best gadgets for the job are often the most simple ones.
It’s a fact proved time and time again that you are going to lose at least one of the travel plugs or gadgets you take with you abroad, so why spend a fortune on them?
To help plan your packing list I’ve outlined a few of my tried and tested bits of travel tech to make your planning that bit easier. Some of the items below are daily fixtures in my life so I hope you find them as useful as I do.
When I first started looking for power adapters or plugs to convert my Australian electronics to sockets for the rest of the world I wanted an all in one device. Once I’d played around with a few of them however I found they always felt rather fragile. Add on the fact many cost upwards of $20, $30 or even $40 I just couldn’t justify the cost. I’ve since spoken to many other travellers with fancy all in one adapters who all have stories of broken plastic bits and lost adapters.
Instead of spending all that money on something that you might lose, I opted for cheap individual plugs for each part of the world. They do take up slightly more room but knowing I was only going to be in Europe and the UK meant only needing two power adapters and they cost me less than $5 for the pair. Apart from saving money with these plugs I’ve found they are far more sturdy and never feel like breaking.
Power Board/Power Strip
Whatever you call them they would have to have been one of my favourite adapters to travel with. If like me you travel with a computer, camera, iPhone/iPod that all needs charging and the room you are staying in only has one wall socket it’s a life saver. It means you’ll only need to carry a single power adapter for each part of the world you visit and you’ll always have at least 4 sockets to connect your electronics.
Airline Headphone Adapter
I’ve talked about these little headphone adapters before in my how to deal with long flights post but felt the need to mention them again. Airline headphones are absolutely TERRIBLE at being headphones. They don’t cut out any plane noise and are just the cheapest nasty little things.
By getting a $2 adapter (the cheapest travel gadget you’ll ever buy) you can convert your beloved headphones/earbuds from your smart phone or iPod to work on just about any plane in the world. For anybody that’s flown the 24 hours from Australia to Europe or other long distance flights you’ll know being able to drown out the plane noise and crying babies while watching a movie is very welcome.
This one is a bit of a given these days but worth a mention anyway. There are times when you just want to chill out while travelling. Maybe watch a movie on your computer or listen to some music while on a long train ride to your next destination. Having a pair of noise cancelling headphones or earbuds can be make or break (especially when on a noisy plane) the experience in my opinion.
Oh and if you can, find yourself a neat little cable tidy. It makes packing your bag so much easier and you never have to worry about tangled cables ever again.
External Hard Drive
If you travel with a computer it’s always good to backup photos and other important documents while travelling. Computers are a prime target for thieves and while I’ve not seen it happen a lot, hostels are often a prime location for them to work out of. Keeping backups not only protects you from them it also saves you if that trusty computer of yours decides to break while you’re abroad.
As someone who’s worked in the IT industry for some time there is nothing worse than losing all of your beloved photos from the your past two months travelling Europe. It might be an inconvenience carrying it and having to backup but trust me if your computer dies or gets lost/stolen you’ll thank me for it.
And there you have it. These aren’t ground breaking items, just everyday run of the mill things that can make travelling easier and not break the bank at the same time. So far I’ve been lucky and have only lost one power adapter, but I know its only a matter of time before something else gets misplaced.
What would you suggest to someone looking to travel for the first time. Do you have a unique travel gadget or adapter that you can’t live without that others should add to their travel packing list?