portable hard drive travel

They aren’t the sexiest topic but if you take a lot of vacation photos, travel for business, or have experienced a laptop crash on the road, a good portable hard drive is a serious matter. Not having any kind of backup is one of the biggest tech mistakes you can make as a traveler and while online backups have advantages, adding a portable hard drive as part of your travel security plan can ensure you don’t lose any precious data on flaky Internet connections.

These hard drives are the best choices that are both reliable and light, with a few distinguishing features between them.

Western Digital (WD) My Passport Ultra 2 Terabyte (TB) Portable Hard Drive

wd my passport hard drive

In most cases you don’t need to shop further than the WD My Passport series of portable hard drives. They’re 226 grams (8 ounces) light, 2 centimeters (.08 inches) thin, and very affordable at less than $100. The Slim version is 20% more expensive but half the weight if that’s a particularly important consideration for you. The My Passport also comes in 4 different color varieties, which might come in handy if you’re traveling with a partner.

wd my passport hard driveWestern Digital My Passport Ultra 2 TB Portable Hard Drive, Black

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Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB Portable External Hard Drive

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seagate backup plus slim

The main attractive feature of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim over the WD My Passport is that its 50% lighter but roughly the same price. That’s a pretty good selling point for a backup hard drive that’s nearly as durable plus syncs well with mobile devices; so you can backup your phone or tablet photos directly.

seagate backup plus slimSeagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive

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Samsung T1 Portable 500GB USB 3.0 External Solid State Drive (SSD)

samsung t1 portable hard drive

A solid state drive means that there are no moving parts inside the Samsung T1, giving it an exceptional level of reliability. An SSD also means the T1 Portable is about 3 times the price of the hard drives mentioned above – for 1/4th the storage space. Still, it’s physically smaller with data transfer speeds five times as fast. If you’ve got the budget and are a heavy photo or video shooter – the Samsung T1 is worth considering.

samsung t1 portable hard driveSamsung T1 Portable 500GB USB 3.0 External SSD

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What Is A Terabyte And How Much Storage Do I Need?

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A terabyte is equivalent to 1,00 gigabytes (GB). Given that the average laptop hard drive has a storage capacity of either 250 or 500 GBs, a 2 TB portable drive should meet your needs. Two terabytes also happens to be the largest amount of portable storage your can currently find before prices really jump. (A 4 TB portable hard drive costs 25% more per terabyte for example.) Of course that will change as storage inevitably becomes cheaper. However if you want to backup your backup using two drives, it’s generally a good idea to get two smaller drives, rather than a single big one.

Whichever portable hard drive you decide to go with, remember to protect it using Truecrypt, and automate your backups with Crashplan so you’re covered off and online.