10 best gadgets to take travelling
The world is getting smaller - not in the literal sense of course, there's no massive implosion event about to take place (any mad scientists feel free to get in touch and correct us) - with more people plugging in, connecting up and generally having mild panic attacks if they're away from some kind of online/techy action for more than a couple of hours.
Some might say this is unhealthy and that we should all get out and about more - and they're probably right - but thanks to the wonders of the modern age we can have our cake and eat it; as providing you have the right kit you can pretty much go anywhere and still get that all important gadget fix.
So, if you're planning an extended adventurous trip abroad and you want to know which tough travel-friendly gadgets to take, then read on.
You won't see many people venturing abroad without some kind of camera on their person, as it's pretty much an essential item when considering any kind of trip.
Picking the right one is all important as it's likely that at some point, especially if you're of an adventurous disposition, you and your camera will be exposed to non-camera friendly environments. So for our money the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is definitely worth a look; as it's not only slimline and portable, at just 94 x 56.9 x 17.7mm and a weight of 144g, but it is dustproof, waterproof to 3 metres, freezeproof to minus 10 degrees C and can withstand drops of around 1.5 metres. Add to that the ability to take some decent pics and this looks to be the ideal travel snapper.
The decision to take your phone away with you when abroad is not as straightforward as it sounds. First off, it's a prime target for thieves and second, you might literally want to get away from it all - including friends and family, so taking a phone won't help. However, they can be dab handy especially when in a tight spot.
If you're going to be taking it into the wilds then you probably want to go for your classic tough phone from Sonim. It has a large range for you to consider, but for us it'd probably have to be the Sonim XP3 Pro as it not only will take a right battering, but it's got GPS built-in.
However, if you're just planning on taking in some of the cities and possibly going for the odd long walk then a Sonim tough phone is definitely a case of overkill. Instead go as cheap as possible and take a look at our list of the best budget handsets.
If you have to take a laptop with you on your travels, our recommendation is to keep it small, light and, if possible, a little on the battered side. If it's not battered already then you could always whack a couple of NYPD stickers on it, which could go some way to deterring a thief - but we doubt it.
At the very top end you might want to take a look at the Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1; an all singing, hard as nails laptop, which would be ideal for travelling. It's not only relatively light, coming in at 1.69kg, but there's a whole lot of tough spec bundled in, so whatever you're doing it'll be able to take it. It'll cost you though.
On the slightly more realistic side of things is the Asus Eee PC 1015P (Which should go on sale in UK very soon), which boasts a whopping 13.5 hours mains-free action. Not only that, but along with the laptop it's also been reported that Asus will throw in 500GB of online storage, meaning you won't have to worry a jot about up or downloading pics, videos or anything else you can think of, as it all goes up to the cloud.
No long journey should be without tunes of some kind, and to get the most out of them you'll need a decent pair of cans.
Enter the Sennheiser MM 450 Bluetooth headphones, which are not only compact but offer excellent audio and noise cancellation. Pricey, at around £250, but worth every penny for the those long haul plane and bus rides.
This is a tricky one as you might well have a few gadgets on you already that can play music/video and your decision really depends on what other bits and pieces you've got stashed away. However, we'd have to recommend the iPod touch, as it really does do an awful lot and if you attach a suitable power case, available from companies such as Mili, then it should give you enough juice for any long journey.
Saying that you might be content to just listen to music, so if this is the case you can go small and cheap, which is never a bad option when it comes to travelling. In which case take a look at the SanDisk Sansa Clip MP3 player - although it's getting on a bit now, it's portable and can be picked up for around £30.
Without power you're going to struggle, as we all know: you don't get "owt for nowt".
PowerFreakz Evolution Solar 2500 charger is a great solution for the travelling gadgeteer as you'll not only get a wide variety of tips with this, but it also comes with a worldwide power supply adaptor and is chargeable via USB, mains power supply or the sun's glorious rays. The PowerFreakz Evolution Solar 2500 charger weighs in at 105g and measures 117 x 64 x 14mm and is definitely something you should be shoving in your back pack.
As an alternative you'll also find that the Solio Magnesium Edition may provide some of you on-the-go power needs.
Scottevest has a quite staggering range, and donning one is the ideal way to carry around your main tech and travel requirements when on holiday - especially if you're doing the whole backpacking thing. Think the Tardis of the clothing world.
It also means you can cut down on the size of your back pack, or perhaps do away with the day bag as it'll pretty much handle anything you'd want to carry around. They're not cheap, but they're quality and very convenient. For us the the Travel Vest does the job nicely - here's one for the lads and one for the lasses.
Our initial suggestion in terms of a timekeeper is don't bother to get one if you're going travelling - as you might well improve your lingo if you have to ask people the time. In all seriousness though, if you do go down the watch route keep it as cheap and cheerful as possible, by all means get the obligatory 50m waterproofing, but the rule of thumb is keep it light and free from protrusions.
If you're planning on doing some serious adventuring, however, we'd advise you to take a look at the Timex Expedition which gets a night-light, digital compass, 100-hour chronograph and all the shock and waterproof qualities you could ever want. Apart from anything else you should find it selling for around the £50 mark - so it's a bargain to boot.
Ideal for any small, delicate electronics you may have decided to take with you (see iPod above), the Pelican 1040 could make all the difference.
Made of Copolymer Polypropylene, the case is watertight, airtight, crushproof and has an automatic pressure purge valve. It even gets a carabiner so you look like you're super-adventurous.
*Can actually be destructed
A good knife is an absolute must, and you certainly can't expect to go away anywhere even slightly remote without one to hand.
On the presumption you're not going to be felling trees, making your own base camp or whittling wood to make your own bow and arrow, we reckon the Rucksack from Victorinox will do the job nicely. You not only get a can opener and essential lockable blade, but there's also that all important tool for getting stones out of horses hooves. Yes, you can get the "flashy" versions, but we'd keep your memory separate.
We're sure there's plenty of you out there who'll be looking to get a bit of diving in when abroad, although the diving in the UK is also pretty decent, so as luck would have it we've also put together a full gadget guide for anyone who likes to get below sea level.
So that's about it. Of course we haven't covered everything, so be sure to let us know your essential travel tech in the comments below.