Common Sense Gadgets

We thought long and hard about which gadgets to bring with us. At first we thought that a smartphone would be sufficient as we could make calls in emergencies, email, stay in contact on social networks and update our blog. We also have a fruit branded tablet and a laptop which we considered bringing.

Assorted mobile phones etc

After much debate we brought the tablet and the phone with us and boy are we glad we did. It would have been painful/impossible to try and create this site from a smartphone. We have also noticed that internet cafes are becoming less common as more and more people get online at home and WiFi is available pretty much everywhere. We couldn’t have relied on there being an internet cafe in every destination we visited.

We have met many people travelling with tablets and laptops, a sturdy case and some good travel insurance should protect you against any trauma.

Common sense cameras

If you do a spot of reading about taking an expensive camera with you, you will reach the conclusion that you probably shouldn’t risk it.

We bought a decent digital SLR camera with a couple of good lenses before we left.

We have not for one second regretted bringing it with us. Thousands of people we have met are travelling with decent cameras and as long as you are sensible and don’t walk down busy streets in Hanoi with it slung over your back you will be fine.

We have an unassuming shoulder bag with an over the body strap that we keep all of our stuff in during the day. If we feel a bit unsafe then the camera gets put away.

We have seen many people walking around with very obvious camera bags over their shoulders which are far more likely to attract the attention of the local thieves.

Can you guess what I’m carrying?

If you do feel too scared to take a big SLR out with you all the time, a little point and shoot camera is light and inexpensive. Or, if you want something that is small but still has a lot of the capabilities of an SLR you could opt for mirror-less SLR. For great camera advice, not delivered too seriously you can’t beat Ken Rockwell.

Our travel insurance only covered individual items up to a certain value so we bought theft and accidental damage camera insurance at a very reasonable price from photoguard.

We bought a few decent memory cards from home, cheap memory is a false economy, it is more likely to fail and this could result in you losing all of your photos. I wouldn’t recommend buying cards larger than 8gb, you run the risk of putting all your photographic eggs in one digital basket.

Remember, there are shops abroad so don’t go crazy and buy too many. Just make sure that when you do buy more they are the real thing.

To keep our data secure we subscribed to the brilliant JustCloud who will provide unlimited online storage for about $10US per month. We ran regular backups to the cloud of all of our photos just for another layer of security. We must state that if you click on our link and purchase any product from JustCloud we will receive a payment for this.

One of the most important items and less obvious is a time-switch. This might sound a bit odd but when you are trying to charge your tablet for an hour overnight without leaving it on continuously. Or you are backing up to the cloud and you don’t want it to be charging all the time, or you are trying to regulate the temperature of a fan heater in a camper van a time-switch will be an inexpensive god send. Trust me! Also bring a good universal plug adapter, with a surge protector and a USB socket capable of charging phones and tablets. This will cut down on the number of chargers people cart around with them.  I brought a decent torch, an LED MagLite and a decent penknife, you won’t regret any of these.


Four must have items

Four must have items