Travel has changed. If you resist technology’s influence on globe-trotting, you could easily miss out on key information and opportunities instead of gleaning fulfilling experiences from different countries. These six tech-savvy travel tips will make your trip far more enjoyable and much more stress free.
1. Automatically backup photos and key documents online
Every traveler has a story about how they or someone they know lost it all during a trip. We’re not talking about their hiking boots, backpack or souvenirs, though; we’re talking about their electronic possessions, from beloved photos to much-needed identification and financial documents. With a cloud backup service, you can hold on to all of those files no matter what mishap may occur. There are a number of services out there, some that are free up to a certain storage tier (Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage; Apple iCloud gives away 5 GB) and some you’ll have to pay for, like Amazon Drive (if you’re not a Prime member), Carbonite and Mozy.
2. Enhance the storage of your smartphone
When you’re inspired by what you see around you, there are few things more frustrating than running out of storage on your phone and not being able to take even one more shot. Maxed out storage can also become a major problem when you need to save a map to your phone or quickly download an app to help you figure out travel details on-the-fly. With a flash drive that plugs right into your phone or tablet, you can transfer files over to free up storage on your device. The Leef iBridge 3 Mobile Memory can store up to 256 GB, or grab a cheap flash drive micro SD card from Travel Accessories. You can also enhance your storage wirelessly with a device like the Connect Wireless Stick from SanDisk.
3. Backup your photos without a laptop
Let’s say you carry your DSLR with you everywhere instead of relying on your phone’s camera to snap memorable moments. You may get better images, but backing up your photos can be a pain if you don’t want to lug your laptop around with you. With a mobile hotspot, you can backup your photos from anywhere, freeing up space on your DSLR and ensuring you won’t lose your pictures. To connect your DSLR to the internet, you’ll need a camera with WiFi capability or a WiFi SD card (just make sure it’s compatible with your camera). If you can’t use WiFi, carry a portable hard drive that will backup everything from your regular SD card.
4. Charge your devices on-the-go
Odds are good that you’re relying heavily on your mobile devices while traveling, from your phone, tablet and laptop to your wireless headphones and smart watch. When the battery dies, it can become anything from a small nuisance to a serious hassle. Luckily, there are plenty of portable charging options out there. The JT Power Banks can charge small devices from two to four times. The problem with a portable charger, though, is that you’ll need to charge it every now and then. If you’re on a month-long, backcountry hiking trip, you may never pass a single outlet during that time. Consider a solar charging kit, like the Goal Zero Switch 8 & Nomad 7 Kit, which can fully charge your device in a few hours.
5. Speed up your internet connection
Yes, plenty of hotels, airlines and restaurants have WiFi, but the internet you’ll come across while traveling is often spotty, slow and unreliable. The last thing you want to do on your trip is waste time waiting for an app to download or a page to finishing loading. If you’re getting a decent phone signal, you can turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot and connect your laptop, tablet or DSLR to it. You can also use an external wireless card with your laptop or a travel router for your smaller devices. Plus, a little known tip is to plug your laptop into an outlet – when your laptop is running just on battery, the strength of the wireless card may be slightly reduced. Make sure you have the best data SIM possible planned for all the countries or regions in your trip.
6. Don’t forget your tech first aid kit
Caring for your tech will keep the devices you depend on in working order as you continue your journey. Make sure to pack an extra USB cable; a pack with desiccant beads to dry out a wet phone; a roll of duct or gaffer tape to repair cables; a mini screwdriver set (gently clean debris from your devices or remove a stubborn smartphone case); wet wipes for when your electronics get covered with mud, beer or sunblock; a spare set of earbuds; and screen spray along with a lint-free cloth.
Do you have any tech hacks you use while traveling? We’d love to hear them!