Q: I’m about to travel overseas for the first time in years and am out of touch. What tech should I pack?
A: Everything depends on whether you need to work while traveling, or if it’s only for leisure. Let’s start with the minimum for any traveler.
At the very least have a USB charging cable for your smartphone, preferably one that can slot into a plug that is then plugged into the wall, as well as into USB sockets that are now widely available in airports, aircraft, and hotel rooms. That usually means it must be a USB Type A on one side, and Type C on the other, depending on how old your phone is. Only take a cable with Type C on both ends if you have a plug with a Type C socket, as the sockets are not commonly available in the travel world.
The next key ingredient is a plug or plug adapter that is standard in the country you are visiting, Check the local standard at www.power-plugs-sockets.com. You can buy adaptors for most regions at electronics shops, pharmacies, luggage stores, and the like. If you can’t find the right one, do an online search for local ecommerce options. If you;ve left it too late, Aa worst, every airport has electronics stores where these are available – but at a far higher cost.
Chances are that, while travelling, you won’t be near a charging point for extended periods. A portable power bank is essential, and these are now available at very low cost. Make sure you get one with at least 4000mAh capacity, which should power most smartphones to at least 80%. Preferably, get a bigger one, up to 10,000mAh, for two charges. However, these can be bulk, so tailor the capacity to your carrying convenience.
If you are traveling for work, or have to work while traveling, invest in a laptop with decent battery life. 4 hours is a minimum if you hope to work on a plane for any length of time, but laptops are increasingly available with 10-18 hours life. But don’t use it to watch video while it’s unplugged, and keep the display on low brightness, to maximise battery life.
With that, also invest in a decent laptop bag, that will both protect the laptop and store any peripheral technology.
Mainly for work, but also for transferring images and video if shooting a lot, carry a few USB flash drives, and an adaptor that allows it to be plugged into your smartphone for data transfer,
Earphones, ideally wireless, will allow you to listen to music stored on the device when the entertainment on a plane doesn’t suit you, or to pass the time on an airport or other forms of transit. It can help calm a troubled traveler!
Finally, keep all tech in hand luggage. It is likely to be needed after you’ve checked in any luggage – and is also among the first targets when anyone tampers with your bags.