Travel > Traveling with Technology

Traveling with Technology

Published: April 13, 2009

In today's climate of ever-advancing technology, as a traveler it is tempting to take every conceivable device along for the journey. Laptops, iPods, cell phones, PDAs, cameras, hard-drives and so many other things can seem like handy devices to have long for a trip. If the trip is just a short one, then it might not seem burdensome, but for a backpacker all this extra weight can take its toll after a couple of weeks hauling it around.

Additionally, there is the question of safety and ensuring your items do not get stolen. Chances of this certainly increase as you head to areas like Mexico, Central America, South America, India, Thailand, Indonesia and the like. So, do you take this risk or do you leave things at home and save the worry?

Here are some things to consider.

  1. Internet cafes are prevalent all over the world, and most hostels will have some sort of computer available for use (and often this is free). They also generally have services like Skype installed, so grab a cheap headset and you're on your way.
  2. While it is incredibly important to back up your photos and data in the case of theft, carrying around a spare hard drive does not have to be the solution. Services such as Amazon S3 can take away and burden of weight and theft, allowing you to upload your images and data to an online storage solution for a small cost.
  3. If you are an avid photographer, it may be tempting to carry not only your camera, but a few lenses. However, this adds considerable weight and worry. Think about which lens will be the most useful and just take one. If there is a good image to be had, it's not going to become substantially better just because you have five different lenses from which to choose. When you are in less safe areas, take out the point and shoot. It's your vision that's key, not the gear you have.
  4. iPods and other such devices are high theft items, but they provide hours of entertainment on long bus rides, weigh little and are easy to hide. If you're okay with possibly having this item stolen it is one that can alleviate hours of bus boredom.
  5. Cell phones are handy to have, but once you leave a local zone you are paying roaming rates which become incredibly expensive. Most hostels have phones for use, and in the end it's going to be much cheaper to use calling cards, or an online service like Skype than to pay for cell phone credit and have your phone stolen along the way.
  6. All these devices have their own proprietary chargers, so not only are you taking a small cell phone, you are taking a charger that is probably larger and heavier than the phone itself. The less cords you have the less weight, worry and tangles. Also, if you're sharing a dorm room in a hostel it's hard to find a time when it's safe to leave an item charging without supervision. While all hostelers are in the same boat, there is sadly a high level of theft, so protecting your gear is a must.

In the end, you have to consider what you really need and why you need it. If you're a savvy and watchful traveler, the likelihood of theft becomes much less, but the weight will never change. Assess your needs carefully and decide what is right for you.


1. Barbara on May 10, 2009

...and don't forget:

Angels can fly because

they take themselves lightly!

Any Comments?


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