I thought it would be fun today to share some of my NEW (and oldie but goodie) finds that I am taking on our upcoming trip abroad. There’s so many new digital tools geared for travel and so many cool items that have solved old travel issues. Gone is the day of jumping on a plane “Free-Willy style,” in this new world of travel we are forced to consider luggage weight, identity security and communication. (Note that this list is for my travel using only Wifi access, so I did not include a hotspot device) 1. Smartphone/Camera: the high quality built-in Camera is the big travel component here. Instead of hauling around an expensive DSRL Camera & lenses & batteries or spending the money on a not as cheap Compact Point & Shoot Camera, I opted to get a nice smartphone with a really great built-in camera. I had a flip phone, if you can imagine that! I use a laptop, iPad and Canon camera for my blogging, so in my case, that one Smartphone (iPhone 6+) will replace 3 digital devices during my trip. Phone cameras just took a huge leap to awesomeness this year. The new generation of SmartPhones has incredible battery charge life and photo quality.
2. Portable Keyboard: ** Verbatim Wireless Bluetooth Folding Keyboard – iPhone iPad (All), iPod Touch, Kindle Fire HD (All) Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, other Android Tablets, Piano Black 97537 So now with the new phone/camera and internet access, I can travel-blog at wifi spots. BUT typing long periods on a phone is not without challenge, I found this solution…Verbatim Portable Keyboard with normal-sized keypads and when folded is barely bigger than my iPhone6+. It connects automatically with bluetooth phone setting. Comes with a nice leather case.
3. International Plug Outlet Adapter: site It is important to get an adapter that works in the countries you travel in. The one I chose works in all the countries we are visiting and was less than $3. each. Here is a good video that explains the need for plug adapter http://www.110220volts.com/
4. Portable Battery Charger: What? this is insane! When our phones get low we can get juice, baby. Just plug her in! I bought mine for around $20. and it will charge up to 20hrs. I saw some for half the cost but chose this one because it connects to both the iPhone6 and to Captain’s Nokia, without having to spend more on adaptor cables and held more charge. HERE is **Amazon link.
5. Scottevest: (**to see complete collection, Click on the Scottevest box that shows on my blog’s right side.) This is my BEST find ever. Well, close to it. When traveling, don’t you hate not having a “safe” pocket to carry your money & passport not to mention all those batteries ( ha, not this trip, see #1 & 4 above?) Scottevest to the rescue! I ordered the RFID Travel Vest shown and it has 18 pockets! I plan to take only a tiny purse to use when I wear a skirt. So the rest of the trip I will be hands-free. I have been wearing my Scottevest around here, as I go to coffee and shopping, and I honestly feel a freedom I can’t remember having in a very long time. No purse, no devices to have to hold and worry about leaving behind. No one can go through my pockets while I am eating a gelato.
6. Google.com/maps/my places: Prior to trip map out all the cities, attractions, train stations, hotels, nearest Starbucks (for early bird coffee & free wifi access) that you plan to visit. It is such a great FREE tool for putting all your information into one spot. Remember the stacks of maps and books (Europe on a Dollar a Day… that dates me!) we used to carry on trips? Now you just take screen shots on a smartphone of your created Google My Places map, then use that when you are without an internet connection. Apps: HERE is a helpful site for 2015 List of 50 Best Travel Apps. I like how they are listed by category. I chose XE Currency, Google Goggle, Onavo, Hop Stop, Wifi Finder, TripAdvisor (my favorite travel site) and Time Out City Guide. A weather, airline and translator App is recommended if you don’t already have that on your phone. Books: All that said…Nothing like a Rick Steve’s book to research and plan the itinerary and get information. It is all online but gets pretty overwhelming, while Rick’s book has it all there in one place. We will be taking at least one book.
7. Non-Transaction Fee debit/credit Card: Now the money …yes, travel is not cheap so having a plan in place to get access to cash or use a debit/credit card without paying international ATM transaction fees is huge. Otherwise those fees can be 1-3+% per transaction. So check out your bank card fee policy to avoid shock when you return home. Also when making a transaction be sure it charges in local currency–not dollars.
Keep smiling, travel is worth the extra effort it takes nowadays. With a little bit of planning, use of new tools, and a happy spirit, travel can still be Simple and a lot of Fun!
What’s in your bag? Shoot me a comment about your Most Essential Item for today’s travel world.