All the gadgets I take with me on holiday… is it too much?
Technology has invaded every aspect of our lives. I dare say that most households these days will have a computer, television, dvd player, and most people carry with them at least a cellphone and an mp3 player. We use technology in our work, our finances, our entertainment and our travel. So with all these choices, what should you carry with you when you travel?
A few years ago I went on a 4 month long trip around the world and I took with me 1 film-based camera, 1 mp3 player and 1 gameboy. Not bad for 4 months I thought. Didn’t take long however before I was robbed and lost the mp3 player and gameboy. Without much choice in the matter, I was left carrying only one ‘electronic’ item, my camera. And guess what? I had a great holiday and didn’t miss any of the other stuff that I thought I would need.
More recently, Chris and I took a 3 week holiday to Canada and between us we took: 3 cameras (+ xtra sd-cards, chargers and cables), 1 laptop, 2 cellphones, 2 ipods (80gig video) and a GPS unit (which we hardly ever used). Hmm. Writing that made me laugh. At myself. You’d think that our bags have nothing but electronics in them. But seriously, at some point whilst packing our bags we figured that we’d need all of that stuff and well, to be honest, we did use it all in one way or another.
So what should you take with you when taking your next holiday? In reality, it all depends on where and when you’re going, how long you’re going for and what you’ll be doing when you’re there (oh and how much of a geek you are). Although there is no definitive answer, I thought I’d share some of the factors that affect my decision making when it comes to picking which gadgets to take with me on holiday.
- Take only what you really think you won’t be able to live without.
If you don’t take your cellphone and you really need to make a phone call, you can always use a payphone. Alternatively, you could rent a cellphone. Many airports house shops that will rent you a cellphone for the duration of your stay. Or you could even buy a new cheap phone if you absolutely run out of other options. See? You really don’t need to take yours.
- Take small, stream-lined versions of all the electronics you think you’re going to need.
If you can’t stand the idea of not having your own laptop whilst on holiday then make sure you take a small, light netbook with you, not a full-sized desktop replacement brick. You really don’t want to be carrying 5kg of solid expensive gear with you everywhere you go. You’ll end up a stooped old hunchback if you do.
- Try to detach yourself from caring too much if your stuff does get stolen or damaged.
This is hard to do, especially if you have some sort of emotional attachment to your gadgets. If it’s irreplaceably special to you or would cost a lot of money to replace, I wouldn’t recommend taking it. Leave it at home, safe and sound. You can’t control how or when some scummy thief out there may take an interest in it and just take it from you. I’m particularly guilty of this and often worry about losing something of value. It just ends up frustrating me that I spend more time worrying about locking away anything of value than I do just relaxing, letting go and enjoying myself.
- If you have a digital camera and are taking lots of photos, back them up early and often.
If something were to happen to your camera, you don’t want to lose all your photos as well. The simplest option is to take your camera into a shop that can write your photos to a CD/DVD (you’ll find these all over the world) or if you have another gadget with you, you could back them up there instead. For example, I backed some of my photos up onto my Ipod since it had plenty of free space on it.
- If you’re traveling with someone else and you’re both taking gadgets that have the same chargers / cables, take only one charger between you.
Chances are that you’re not going to need to fully charge your gadget at exactly the same time as whoever else you’re traveling with so if you can, share one between you. Chris and I took two sets of Ipod chargers and cables with us on one of our long trips and ended up sending 1 set home to save space.
If you’re a traveler, what do you take with you?