We know the feeling of being disconnected. Luckily, there’s a multitude of devices to keep you in touch with the rest of the world. Here are our personal favorite tech to keep you connected to everything that matters during your adventures- whether you travel by plane, train, or automobile.
Portable Charging While Traveling
First things first. If you’re on the road, you need to keep your stuff charged. We have had lots of luck with portable chargers made by New Trent, since the ones we own pack a lot of power. There’s a multitude of options out there that are improving constantly. We run Android phones and tablets, Nook reading tablets, and other items that all use a micro-USB port… so we stock up on these cords. If you’re using iPhone products, you’ll also need cords that work for those. Our best luck has been Amazon.com for finding low-cost charging cords, since they’re often overpriced in stores. Always pack an extra or two!
WiFi On The Go
Now the question is internet connection. If you’ve planned your trip well, you know if your hotel offers free wi-fi. Since we spend a lot of time camping, we can’t always rely on a hotel. Our best option has been to use Verizon’s network with their Ellipsis Jetpack. Look into your wireless carrier; they will typically offer some sort of wireless internet hotspot device you can purchase along with an appropriate data plan. Occasionally you’ll get far enough from civilization that even these won’t work, but that’s the point of getting off the beaten path. However, the tiny little jetpack we bring along typically gets us by, as long as we aren’t doing anything that uses huge amounts of data. After all, we’re on vacation, so we don’t often feel the need to stream videos (unless your situation in the next paragraph applies). Usually we’re just checking email, planning a route somewhere, paying a bill online, or getting a quick Reddit fix. You might find one of these handy if you aren’t sure if you will have free internet access on the road.
Traveling & Streaming Movies, TV, Media
Going somewhere, but not in the mood to get out and explore? If your trip involves staying in a hotel and hiding out watching TV, we suggest bringing a Chromecast. Although we use this all the time at home, we haven’t personally used it a lot on the road. However, the potential for travelers is huge! You can send media from a ton of apps to your phone, tablet, or laptop to your TV. This includes YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu (here is the whole list of Chromecast support). So, if you are on a trip where you might want to watch a movie, this device is small and super-useful! See the previous paragraph about internet connection… this will plow through your data so I wouldn’t use it unless you’ve found a free wi-fi connection. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy a movie!
Storing Movies, TV, Media for Travel
If you have a digital collection of movies, TV shows, or music and want to take that all on the road with you, we highly recommend Plex. Simply install Plex on your computer and install the plex app on mobile devices and tablets. Plex will then organize all of your personal media, pretty it up, and make it available to stream to all of your devices. Combine this with a Chromecast and you can watch your media on a TV, anywhere. Best of all? Plex is free. They do offer premium features like offline syncing, which is great for times when you have no wifi but still want to watch something.
Reading While Travelling
We’re pretty avid readers here at Travel Fish, and the Nook from Barnes and Noble has been a lifesaver! No more lugging around heavy books or browsing the airport gift shop trying to find something to read. We both have the GlowLight devices, which uses their “e-ink” technology and can be read anywhere. The battery life is insane, so a long airplane trip won’t leave you without reading material. When connected to the internet, you have access to millions of books at the touch of a button. Once the book is downloaded, you don’t need internet connection, which is perfect for travel. For a traveler who likes to read, this is the device for you. Load up on books before you set off.
Traveling & Storing All Your Tech
All these cords, plugs, devices… I keep it organized simply by putting all my “tech” stuff in a big Ziploc bag. Then, to avoid breakage, I wrap it in my suitcase around clothes. This is the budget-friendly option. You can also consider padded laptop sleeves that would fit a lot of smaller devices, if you’re worried about breaking something. It takes an extra few seconds to wrap up your cords, but saves us a lot of grief when we want to charge something.
All these things keep us in touch while we’re on the road. We use them frequently during our travels. However, there’s something to be said for leaving the world behind, truly being in the world around you- unconnected. Keep that in mind during your travels. We usually spend the day without our typical tech, except our phones that take wonderful photos, and then check-in with email and social media once we’re back to the hotel. All these devices make it easier for us to reconnect, but we will never substitute technology for the adventures we’ve had while truly experiencing our surroundings.