Technology is great at making our everyday lives easier and more enjoyable. Those benefits don’t need to stop when you leave home to travel the world. In fact, technology brings many benefits to the traveler as well taking your adventure to the next level. One thing seasoned travelers learn over the years is that everyone has that one or two items that they find crucial for travel comforts. When you have the right tool for the job, you can spend your time enjoying the sites. Take a look at these top 10 tech tips for when you head out on your next adventure.
1. Understand and Carry No Tech Options.
While technology can be great, it can also fail you. This can cause significant problems if you don’t have a back-up low tech option. For example, your friends may laugh when they see you packing the Rand McNally Road Atlas but it can be a life saver should your GPS fail. Also, write down your itinerary with plain old paper and pencil and give that to those staying behind so they know where you’ll be and how you are getting there. Don’t rely on email, text messages or other tech for this. A simple hard copy is the best way to insure people know where you are, where you will be and when.
2. Use The Right GPS.
There are a myriad of different GPS options out there and you need to pick the best one for your trip. While there are plenty of phone apps that cover most GPS scenarios, don’t assume that any of those will be the best or even a reliable option for your trip. If you are traveling by RV then consider an RV specific unit. These have specific features designed to keep you and your rig safe on the road. They also do not rely on available cell service for operation. This is a feature you will appreciate more then you may expect. If you plan on traveling off road then consider GPS units designed for hiking, hunting or cycling. These have features that will help you navigate without roads and often include personal locator beacons and other features to help out should you get lost or find yourself in distress.
3. Multi band cell phones.
Your standard cell phone can operate on a single band which is localized to your market. If you plan to travel abroad then a multiband phone will be very helpful. A dual band phone will cover most of the civilized world. Triple and quadband phones be necessary if you plan to visit the more remote regions of Africa or South America. Check with your phone provider for the best options or you.
4. Cell Signal Boosters.
Cell phone signal boosters are devices which can amplify the cellphone signals in your area. They are great for taking weak signals which would provide unreliable calls or very slow data transmission and boosting them up enough to make them useable. Be aware though they can only boost an existing signal. If there is no signal, or if it is too weak to be boosted then these devices provide no benefit. Also be careful to follow instructions upon installation. An improperly placed booster can hamper its effectiveness.
5. Satellite Phones.
Sat phones allow you to make and receive calls even where cell phones don’t work. The costs of these devices and the plans they operate on have gotten significantly less expensive over the years. If the cost is still too high to justify buying one for your trip, there are places that rent them. In many cases, these devices also act as personal locator beacons in case you run into an emergency while in a remote area which is a great safety benefit.
6. Wi-Fi Boosters/Repeaters.
A Wi-Fi booster or repeater is a device which connects to existing Wi-Fi networks, boosts the signal and rebroadcasts it in the area where you set it up. These devices have two major benefits. First, they strengthen the signal or connection you’ll have to the parent Wi-Fi network making the connection faster and more reliable. They also act as a hub that will allow a single device Wi-Fi connection to be shared over multiple devices.
7. Mail Forwarding Services.
If your travels will keep you away from home for an extended period of time then you may want to consider a mail forwarding service with tech features. These services will give a physical address to receive your mail. They then securely scan your mail and provide it electronically (usually in PDF format) through an internet portal. This is a great solution for people who do not want to be tied down to one location. When traveling, you can receive your mail anywhere you are and you do not have to worry about missing important information.
8. Portable Satellite TV
Portable satellite TV services allow you to take your TV service with you. These are great for RVs, campervans or other vehicle based travel. Many of these services bundle streaming services with the package so you can still access their content over your phone or tablet when you are away from the base camp.
9. Solar Chargers.
Charging your phone and other devices while traveling can be tricky, particularly if you are traveling abroad or somewhere that plug in power is unavailable or unreliable. In those cases, a portable solar charger is a great option. A unit with enough capacity to charge a phone will be small enough and light enough for even backpack travel. Larger units for multiple devices or even running small appliances are also available. Size and weight does increase with capacity so some may only make sense when traveling by vehicle.
10. Universal (All-in-One) Plug Adapter.
Different countries have different electrical systems and different receptacles to connect your devices into. A universal plug adapter allows you to connect your devices into the different systems regardless of the system the device was originally designed for. It also ensures your connection is a safe one and does not cause damage to any of your devices. These adapters can be very small making them essential items that are easy to bring with you when you travel abroad.
These 10 top travel tech tips can help you have an exciting time no matter if you are crossing the country or traveling around the world. Incorporating technology into your travels brings the comforts of home and offers certain conveniences that will help you along the way. By following these tips it will help ensure that you have the right tech for your trip, that it is available as much as possible and that you’re covered should that tech fail you.
Shelley Trupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike, off the beaten path. While she used to enjoy tenting in the wilderness, she prefers to camp in an RV now—whether it is a Class C or a teardrop trailer—to enjoy a little comfort after a long day outdoors and the ease of travel it provides. Her goal is to hike in all of the national parks in North America.