For the latest version of this list, check the continuously updated Tech Gear and Gadgets I Travel With.
I mentioned this past Tuesday on foXnoMad’s 6th birthday post that I’d be giving you a small look behind the scenes at how I travel and run my blogs. An essential component of that is all of the technology I carry; and one of the most frequent questions I get is what exactly all of that gear is. I travel with all of the electronics I own and these are all of the gadgets, connectors, and cables I have in my bag.
I make my living online and am a nerd so you probably don’t need to travel with all of these items. Depending on how long your trips are, where you’re going, and why, these recommendations will vary for each of your personal needs. I also don’t carry the brand-newest of each model (though am fortunate to be sent some for testing); these are my battle tested and geek-approved companions.
Laptop: Macbook Pro 15-Inch (Mid 2009) – Until very recently I traveled with two laptops (the other being a Dell Mini 10v), using the latter as a backup. In the coming weeks I’ll be replacing that backup laptop with a refurbished iPad 2, in case my Macbook (250GB) hard drive dies or suffers some other kind of accident. (Here’s how to be warned of impending hard drive failures in advance.)
I purchased my Macbook Pro (2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) refurbished directly from Apple.com (as I have all of my Apple products) and in 2011 I upgraded its memory from 4GB to 8GB.
- I’ll be selling my Dell Mini 10v netbook very soon, if you’re interested email me.
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 – I purchased this camera on the recommendation of several bloggers and photographers, notably John O’Nolan. Ever since, my travel pictures and what I can do with them have improved markedly. I don’t travel with a DSLR, this is my only camera and works well as a decent substitute for my needs. It’s small and light (10.4 x 5.8 x 3.3 centimeters; 219 grams), has a wide 24-384mm Leica lens, plus battery life that covers 500 photos per charge.
- Inside I’ve got a 32GB SanDisk SDHC memory card and use my old 8GB card as a backup if needed.
eReader: Nook Tablet – Sure there is something nice about flipping tangible pages in a book but something very not nice about lugging kilos of them on your back. The Nook Tablet (not to be confused with the similar but inferior Nook Color) is a wonderful device. It’s also got an expandable microSD card slot so you can load larger video files, works well internationally, and in my opinion is much better designed than the Kindle Fire.
Mobile Phone: iPhone 3G – No, I didn’t forget to add an “S” at the end. Before getting this hand-me-down from my sister, I used an iPod touch (1st Generation) instead of a mobile. The primary reason being that outside of 5 days in June 2012, I haven’t opened a phone number. I use the iPhone with wireless connections where I find them to check email, take photos, and post them to Facebook. The 3G has suited me well but I’ll upgrade to the iPhone 5 whenever it’s released to take advantage of the better camera, video, and for app-compatibility.
Connectors And Cables
All of the cords that provide electricity to my devices. As easy as it is to omit them here, they take up considerable space (and tangle naturally due to the conditions in most backpacks.)
Other Cables For Syncing And Surfing
Although my USB wireless antenna isn’t a cable, it does extend my laptop’s wireless range about 3-5 times; letting me surf the Internet from more places. I’m currently using the Alfa AWUS036EH (300mW); and since then several newer models have been released.
- Ethernet Cable – The most handy cord I carry with me. If staying online is a priority for you, one of these will come to your rescue more than you might imagine. (And can also turn one paid wireless connection into two to share with a travel buddy.)
- USB Standard A To Standard B Cable – This one has been hanging around in my backpack and hardly getting any use, actually I’m glad I dug it up to remind me to offload it soon.
And Of Course… Outlet Adapters
- Swiss World Travel Adapter – An all-in-one that covers my poor memory for most of the world’s outlets.
- World Travel Adapter Plug Set – Being less bulky these adapters work well for outlets that can’t support much weight from a heavy charger. U.S. plugs with a third ground pin also work better with this adapter set as they don’t get in the way.
How I Keep Everything Clean Like New
- iKlear Cleaning Kit – This liquid is what Apple stores around the world use to keep our eager but greasy fingers from making display models an icky version of shiny. I
with disturbing obsessionreligiously clean my laptop, phone, and other screens once a week and one 60mL (2 ounce) bottle has lasted me nearly 2 years. It also comes with two microfiber cloths.
What I Carry All Of These Things In
They’re carried on my back but all of my gadgets are in my SwissGear Computer Backpack. I’ve had this same bag for 6 or 7 years (I can’t recall exactly) and despite being crammed under front seats on hundreds of flights, it’s in great shape. Whenever I retire this bag I’ll replace it with the latest version. (But keep it between us. Backpacks have sensitive feelings.)
- My Macbook Pro travels in a black Incase Neoprene Sleeve to prevent scratches and dings from drops. Also, it’s a slimming color.
Lastly, I almost omitted my quiet, simple, and reliable Genius USB optical mouse which I picked up in Argentina in 2010. It was an impromptu purchase to replace its wireless predecessor, stolen out of my bag by an airline employee. This mouse puts up with my oddly evolved two-handed trackpad-plus-mouse scrolling and more importantly, puts up with being carelessly thrown into my bag as an afterthought. It’s a rough world for a mouse but at least its always got a good friend around – mousepad Albert Einstein.