Which Travel Technology is right for you?

The 21st century holiday mindset has shifted from ‘getting away from it all’ to ‘staying in touch with it all”, yet this is not necessarily a negative. Today YOURLifeChoices takes a look at three relatively new, similar technologies which can greatly enhance your travel experience.

Travelling overseas is not the nomadic experience that it once was. With technology infiltrating every facet of our lives, we are never far away home. While holidays are a great chance to take a break and kick back, we can’t all take our friends and family with us. We live in an age where you can chat with friends from the comfort of your own home, store hundreds of photographs on your computer and listen to thousands of hours of music on a device which is barely larger than a pack of gum. So it makes sense that we should expect the same technology access away from home.

No longer must you spend weeks waiting on rolls of film only to find out your flash is broken, no longer must you wait weeks to find out you neglected to let relatives know where you would be staying in your last letter and that you were in fact unharmed in a natural disaster, no longer will you spend hours on continental train journeys wistfully staring out the train window wishing that your CD walkman had not run out of batteries three minutes into the journey. It is the 21st century and we can have it all, all of the time.


The Netbook

Netbooks are lightweight, have a large battery life, can browse the web, can access websites such as Skype and can store photographs from your digital camera. Netbooks are the ultimate travel companion, obviously preferred because of the ease in which they can be carried around. The one downside is that most netbooks do not have aDVDdrive; meaning travellers who hope to use their computer on long journeys to alleviate boredom may have to do so without the aid of DVDs. However due to the surprisingly large capacity of most netbooks, media files, downloaded movies and television shows can be stored on the drive and watched at any time.

Obviously laptops are an alternative, but size does matter. Any computer with a screen larger than 13” is just too large to be carried around on any holiday, despite the clear advantages of aDVDdrive and added storage.

The netbook is perfect for the traveller who enjoys staying in touch, staying connected and prefers not to carry large weight. Netbooks are ideal for travellers on longer journeys.


The iPad:

The ‘buzz’ technology on the market, the iPad has many advantages and a few disadvantages. To start with, it is one of the lightest technologies on the market, and it is also one of the most feature-packed, so you definitely get bang for your buck.

The iPad is also brilliant at eliminating clutter. It has a built in iPod for music storage, picture viewer, two cameras, video calling capability and a relatively good battery life.

You can also check your email, surf the internet, read e-books, browse photos, watch videos and even use Google maps. It is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of travel technology.

However the iPad has a couple of things that let it down.

For one, it is slightly impractical to use overseas. The iPad may be brilliant to use when there is free Wi-Fi available, but it is quite costly to browse internet in the street on an overseas sim card.  It can also be awkward carrying the iPad everywhere if you rely on it as your primary source of technology. Can you imagine plugging your earphones into your iPad just to listen to music while walking on the beach? Bit big, huh? It also has a comparatively disappointing storage space when compared to netbooks.

Overall, the iPad is a wonderful piece of travel technology; lightweight, entertaining, it is truly almost the full package. But because of its cost and lack of storage space, it is better suited to people going on shorter overseas journeys.


e-Book reader:

e-Book reader’s, such as the Amazon kindle, have revolutionized the way people travel. For starters they are helping travellers avoid fines for excess luggage. With the ability to store thousands of books on the one device, you are never short of entertainment with an e-Book reader.

The e-Book reader is just that; a device that reads electronic books. With the ability to connect to the internet, this function can be used to shop online at the specific brands e-book store, as well as read newspapers online.

If you feel that you do not need the intrusion of the internet or Skype on your holiday for a couple of weeks, but would still benefit from some entertainment on long-haul flights and continental journeys, then an e-book reader is an essential purchase for your next holiday.


What not to take:

It is important to understand that just because technology has fully infiltrated the world of travel; it does not give travellers full licence to pack their home computer and plasma television. This is why this guide is very important, as picking the right technology is very essential. Here are a few things that we suggest are best to leave off the packing list.


Sim cards:

If you plan to take your iPhone or a similar smartphone overseas with you, then please leave your simcard at home. While it may seem much easier to have your sim card so that friends can contact you overseas, the roaming charges for any Australian provider border on ridiculous. You don’t want to end your wonderful holiday by coming home to a nasty case of bill shock. Instead, purchase a pre-paid sim card from one of the many providers overseas, and only ever use the internet features on your smartphone in one of the many establishments overseas which offer free wi-fi.


Large laptops:

Depending on the nature of your trip, it can be tempting to take a large laptop computer overseas. After all, you payed for it, you may as well use it when you need it the most, right? Unfortunately in this case any laptop with a screen over 13 inches is nothing but a burden (13 inch laptops are right on the fringe, depending on the laptop’s design. For example the Macbook Air is acceptable but some of the bulkier Toshiba computers are untenable). Not only does it get incredibly tiresome carrying such a large computer around for the entirety of the journey, but any computer too large requires conspicuous casing, which makes it a target for thieves.


Portable Hard-Drives:

Many people are seduced into taking their entire backed up history with them when they go away, under the impression they can store photographs, documents and view and store media files on it with the added bonus of more room and increased speed on their laptop overseas.

The reality is unless you are downloading hundreds of thousands of photographs and dozens of movies whilst overseas, most netbooks and laptops will have more than enough room for any overseas trip.  

If you choose to leave the portable hard drive at home you also have the added knowledge that should something happen to your laptop or netbook whilst overseas you will not lose all your precious photographs, documents and media files stored on your external hard drive.


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