Traveling Light with Electronics

Traveling with electronics is a way of life for a lot of people now, but can you travel light with electronics?  You’ve probably heard this story before.  You can only carry two small bags and those bags need to carry everything you need for three weeks of travel and exploration.  There’s a smartphone, a camera, an iPad, and an ebook reader.  In addition, you also have individual charger cables for each item, a travel adaptor, a backup charger pack, a camera battery charger, extra camera batteries, and extra SD memory cards.  All of it takes a lot of valuable space, which could be use for more important items. 

Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you to leave the technology you can’t live without at home.  Fortunately, the solution is surprisingly simple, though it does require planning.  Carry two devices that perform multiple functions or select devices that use the same type of cable and connector. This lets you minimize the cables that you will require. 

How The Story Starts

This strategy was discovered mid-way through my last trip.  I definitely wasn’t traveling light with electronics. Here’s what I was carrying: an iPhone for music and an alarm clock, my Android phone for surfing the internet and checking my email, a travel phone to put a local sim card in, an iPad to surf the internet and watch Netflix on, a DSLR camera, a Fitbit charger, and a Kobo ebook reader.  I know, it’s ridiculous.  Spoiler alert, I barely used the Kobo ebook reader, the iPhone, or the iPad.

Two phones used the same charger cord apart from the iPhone, the iPad used a separate charger cord from the iPhone, and the Kobo ebook reader used the same charger cord as the Android phone. I was carrying the ebook reader charger anyway.  All those charger cords along with the DSLR camera battery charger and the multiple travel adapters made for a lot of items that did not get used. 

What Actually Happened

Here is what was actually used:

  • the Android phone for all information searching and social media, and
  • the battery charger for the DSLR batteries. 

What I learnt from that trip

  1. Smartphones are good enough at google searching, getting directions, emailing, and streaming entertainment. You don’t really need to bring an extra iPad with a smartphone.
  2. Road test your technology before your trip to make sure you’ll use it. Otherwise, you’ll end up carrying a large paperweight around.
  3. You don’t need multiple identical charging cables because you’ll almost never end up charging devices at the same time.

Going forward, when I travel:

  • I’ll bring a small laptop for checking email, searching for information, and keeping in touch with people.  Audible and podcasts on my phone can take the place of multiple books and entertainment.
  • My iPhone will stay at home and I’ll use the alarm clock on my Android phone. An alarm clock is pretty much the same on both.

That way, I would end up carrying 1 Android charger cable, 1 Fitbit charger, my Android phone, the power cord for the small computer, and my DSLR camera battery charger.

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