2012-10-23

It's A Tech Tuesday World After All

So, as I mentioned in my last post, Jan & Yemi are planning a 6 month trip around the world and will be blogging it out.
If you were taking a long trip around the world, what tech would you take?  You're not traveling on your own private yacht.  You're going carry-on with only a couple of bags that need to last you for months, and that includes clothes.  So traveling light is key.  But, as a once in a lifetime trip, you want to make sure that you capture the memories and enhance your enjoyment.
What tech gear would I take on a round the world trip with Cora?

POWER MANAGEMENT – Let's throw this out on the table right here, right now.  We're taking stuff that's going to need recharged.  Some of it almost daily.  And since not everywhere (read "no where") uses the same plug/power configuration that we do, we'll need a plug adapter AND power converter.  And the power converter is equally as important as the adapter, so spring for an all-in-one.  You don't want to fry your electronics with the wrong voltage.  And you REALLY don't want to fry your wife's hair with her curling/straightening iron getting over juiced.  And they now have converter models that also have a USB charging slot, too.

We'd probably want a small adapter to convert the one outlet to 3 for charging.  But we wouldn't bring a spare power converter.  We should be able to pick one about about anywhere within reason if necessary.

CAMERA/S – We would definitely take two cameras. One is Cora's DSLR. The other is her point-n-shoot. (Hey, the wife has better gear than I do.) On a round the world trip, pictures are going to be our most important souvenirs. And while we would want to take the best pictures possible (DSLR), there are going to be times when we don't want to lug a big camera around. And as the saying goes, "The best camera is the one you have with you." We would want something pocketable that we could carry with us at all times.

And here the redundancy factor is important to me. Both cameras take the same memory cards. And I would bring a spare battery (or two) for both. You don't want to be running out of juice midday. And for the DSLR, both a standard lens, and a telephoto.  And a whole bunch of 8 GB SD cards.

OPTIONS – If we didn't already have 2 great cameras, and really wanted to save weight, I would get a micro 4/3 camera like one of the Sony NEX line.  They are smaller than DSLRs but bulkier than a simple point-n-shoot.  They allow for interchangeable lenses and pretty good picture quality. It might not fit in every pocket, but it would fit in a pair of cargo shorts or easily in a day bag.

NETBOOK – While both Cora and I have laptops, for space and weight considerations, we'd probably take my netbook. It's so much more portable and better battery life.  But then why not a tablet like an iPad? No ports. Small storage. My netbook gives me 150 GB of storage, 3 USB ports for connections, and an SD card slot for the camera memory cards. Things an iPad doesn't have. And while it's not as easy to type on as a bigger machine, it's a lot better than the keyboard on an iPad.

The netbook would get as much storage cleared out as possible and reloaded with chunks of my iTunes and Cora's iTunes libraries, downloaded maps and travel information, etc. But with plenty of room left to store all the pictures and video we'll be taking.

I know the netbook is a dying term.  But I mean a small notebook with a 10" – 13" screen and as large of a hard drive as possible.  Current ones can have a 500 GB hard drive or more.  That can store a lot of pictures and video.  And I will be downloading all the pictures off those memory cards.  Redundancy again.  Those pictures will not be living only on tiny bits of plastic.

OTHER – Other bits of "tech" to go along:

  • iPods – Cora and I both have iPod minis that we would take.
  • Watch – A cheap ass Cassio watch with an alarm. Something that someone wouldn't want to steal. In fact, a mugger might give me money when he looks at the thing.
  • USB Thumbdrives – At least one, small, thumb drive with a text (.TXT) file that has our names, and emergency contact info. Also there will be a password protected zip (.ZIP) file full of PDFs with our passports, credit cards, etc. scanned. It will be painted white, with a red cross painted on it. This will, in theory be on one of us at all times.
  • Travel Alarm Clock – A little P.O.S. $20 that tells the time and beeps.  As small and light as possible.
  • Flashlight – A small LED flashlight can come in very handy staying in unfamiliar places.

SERVICES – Beforehand, there's a few sites / site types I would sign up for.

  • Video Calling – We'll want to talk the the folks back home on occasion. We'd probably use Skype, but Google has some cool video tools, too.  And both are free!
  • Picture Storage – I have a Flickr Pro account that allows me unlimited storage of pictures at full resolution. (Suck that, Zuck! Facebook really compress the photos.  So while I'd be posting some there, I wouldn't count that as my DR storage solution.) Whenever I had Wi-Fi, I would be uploading my pictures. While the memory cards would be backed up to the netbook, things happen, and I want these pictures stored someplace safe. I would be using YouTube for video. There are plenty of other cloud storage sites available, but I'm familiar with those, so there you have it.

LEAVE AT HOME – But there are a few things that would stay at home.

  • Cell Phone – I don't have a world phone, and I really would rather try and leach Wi-Fi from the universe vs. paying huge international data fees.  If for some reason we need to make call and Skype doesn't work, we can either buy a local "burner" phone and an international calling card.  I would also have paper maps so I don't need the GPS/Google Maps use.
  • iPad – It's designed for consumption, not production.  It stays at home.  Now, I haven't checked out the Microsoft Surface.
  • Keys – Won't be needing them, will I?
  • Multi-Tool – If you are flying, it will get confiscated before you even get to your seat.

7 comments:

Padded Cell Princess said...

These are the types of things that I let Branden figure out but he's good to make sure I have my little iPod and my Kindle. :)

Joshua said...

As much as I love my iPad, I'm thinking the Netbook is a better choice. Of course, you could always get a Windows tablet that has the ports and the touchscreen, but a Netbook would have more internal storage. Or you could upload them to Dropbox or some other online storage from an Internet Cafe to be retrieved once you get home.

Cora said...

Yes, yes, YES on the camera and goodies!

Scope said...

Padded Cell Princess - Both of those are great space savers verses their analog counterparts. Good for you on traveling light.

Joshua - We are definitely on the same page. I was thinking of the Surface Pro, but since it's not out yet, and like you said, internal storage, I didn't go there. And I would be uploading and offloading pictures to the net whenever I could. That's what I would use my Flickr account for. But a Dropbox account would work, too. Whatever you are most comfortable with.

Cora - You are the most important, pocket-sized gadget I would take on the trip. :-)

Jan and Yemi said...

I may have to hire you as my packing consultant!

Agreed on all accounts, although we are taking an iPhone for wifi capabilities when we're out & about. The iPhone will also give us neighborhood maps when we aren't trying to get lost.

I have no idea how I'm going to live for 6 months from a carry-on bag, but we aren't checking luggage so we'll have to make it work!

Jan

Scope said...

I hadn't thought of using the iPhone for super mobile WiFi connected tool. I was just thinking of how expensive a roaming data plan would be.

And "carry on plus 1 personal item that fits under the seat". You can shove a lot of underwear in a duffle bag!

Joshua said...

I also recommend gallon size Ziploc bags and rubber bands. Roll up socks and underwear tightly, wrap with one rubber band, stuff several into Ziploc bag until almost full, zip up almost completely, sit on bag to push out air, finish zipping. Basically, vacuum sealed to save space. While not six months, I went to Paris, London, and Edinburgh for two weeks with one backpack. Bring two extra Ziploc bags with you just in case you break a bag on the road, but you can also buy them while on the move.