In this day and age where we rely so heavily on technology, I was curious and also a little concerned how I would cope on my recent travels without access to all my modern day trappings. High speed internet access, mobile phone, MP3 collection, PSP, digital cameras . Even more importantly how would all this work without a home base where I knew I could charge them all.
Of course the whole point of going on a holiday, an extended break or a journey like the one my fiancee and I have just completed is in part to escape all the bits and pieces of our modern life, to relax, and to experience and enjoy those places we visit. For those of you interested Alain de Botton has written a fantastic book that discusses the philosophical ideas and implications of the traveling that we do, both locally and globally. Its called the The art of travel.
The first choice to be made before leaving was which technology, gadgets and devices did I feel would be absolutely essential to my survival and or enjoyment of our trip. This in itself actually provides some interesting insights in to how confident I am out of my comfort zone and what I felt I ‘needed’ to have with me.
If we hadn’t taken these I would have suffered some serious eye damage from the sun, and endured many sun induced headaches to boot. Essential travel equipment, if not strictly gadgets. Although they also became a useful ad hock polarizer for the cameras at times.
These were essential for capturing the trip for future reminiscing, and a given anyone would agree. Did we need all three? Having seen how both the digital cameras handle different subjects, and we have learnt their strengths and weaknesses under different conditions I would have to say we definitely needed them both with us. The waterproof housing was the greatest thing to have with us hands down. If you know you are going traveling and may be snorkeling. Buy one, no questions, you will not regret it. I take the Lomo every where since I got it. Period.
We knew we would need to contact friends and families while we were away, particularly to arrange meeting places and the like. In hind sight we probably could have left one of these behind, but the trouble was, neither of us really wanted to be the one without their mobile phone, even though we spent pretty much every day together and never had to call one another. A key example of bringing something along for the ride just because we both felt more comfortable having it with us, “just in case”.
Sony PSP and games
We took some thirteen flights during our journey, some short, and others lasting 8 hours or more, my play station portable would have been included for that reason alone. Add the fact that I have become such an advocate of portable software, and the PSP has been my surrogate USB drive and I felt that it ‘had’ to come. In actuality I only really used the PSP on the first flight. That was only to play the new games I bought in duty free. The rest of the time I was happy to watch the in flight movies, and more often read or sleep. As for using the PSP as a USB drive that was rather usurped by our funky SD card come USB sticks that we picked up for the cameras (see later).
So not too much of a list. No laptop. We didn’t own one before leaving. No iPod, I didn’t own one and Naomi didn’t think she would need hers, and she was right. But what did even this fairly meager set of devices require in terms of space and weight in our luggage once you added chargers, international adapters, leads, cases, and memory cards? Just Take a look.
The thing with all this was that some things did turn out to be worth while taking, others were ultimately pointless and others still turned out to make the holiday a whole lot easier and fun thanks to having them with us. And I could not have anticipated which item would fall into each group at the start. So if you are planning to travel, and you want a guide on what gadgets I would recomend taking and why here it is.
Things I didn’t need
- Sony PSP – I barely used it, it was big, heavy and expensive and if I had lost it I would have been pretty P***ed. Not only that but the charger is also big and heavy. Definitely leave at home.
- PSP Games and Movies – once you don’t have the PSP, you can ditch the games and Movies, and they take up some room, even if you only take the UMD’s and not the full boxes. which as some users will know really puts your disks at risk.
- Only take one Mobile – We certainly didnt need more than one. It was just something extra that could have got lost or stolent, why bother. There may hawever be a case for taking an unlocked phone and then a few pay as you go sims, just in case 😀
- MP3 Player – I know some people will say this is a must have, but for myself and the fiancee we are not really music buffs and really managed to do very well without.
Things I did that I would take again
- USB SD Cards – I picked these up purely for there geeky gadgetness, but these little things paid back HUGLEY. They were in the cameras and it meant getting the images off to post and back up was a breaze. Not ony that we had important info , reciepts, and passwords stored in multiple places and easy to get at thanks to all those portable apps I constantly rave about. Brilliant
- Waterproof housing for Camera – For those that havent got one, if you ever think about going swimming, surfing, snorkelling or diving then get one, simple as. One of these beauties with a digital compact will bring you some incredible images of your trips. Even when the weather was bad, having this with us meant we always had something we could go out and do in the water.
- Solar Battery – Again this was bought because of its geek value but it meant if we were ever caught out for electric points, we could always charge the cameras and the phone ‘on the hoof’. If you are blessed with good Sun light levels or are traveling to areas withough regular electric charging points then this is a great purchase whether as an emergency charger or your main charger for smaller devices. In fact I haven’t charged my phone from the mains since I got this. Although it is coming into winter in england now so that may not last! Oh and lets not forget the ongoing environmental benefits even little things like this can produce.
- 135mm Camera – Its so easy today to take photo’s and edit or censor on them on the fly, but one of the great things about older film cameras is the joy of getting a shot that you have forgotten you have taken and you see it for the first time after processing. It will instantly bring a smile and a rush of memories to the moment you took the shot. Reliving the moment like that for me is priceless. Just have a provision for keeping the films safe, either by posting them home, or processing them to cd. No cheeky peaks until you develop them to prints though!! (I consistently failed at this last bit) But did manage to have 11 rolls of surprises!