When you are on the road it is important to have the right gadgets to get you through your trip, be it for comfort or for keeping memories of your adventure. Over the years we have tried and tested a lot of different travel tech and have come up with our must have gadgets to take on our next big trip. These are what we will be taking with us this summer when we leave home for our biggest adventure yet.
Obviously! It’s the 21st century and no one can be anywhere without a phone within arm’s reach. When I am on the road, I like to travel with mine however with no intention of using the phone features! The Apple iPhone is my first choice of phone due to its facetime and imessaging features, allowing you to contact any other iphone user anywhere in the world for free, as long as you have wifi. Of course this is still possible without an iPhone, by using Whatsapp of Facebook Messenger etc.
My phone also acts as my satnav, music system and television for those long journeys.
In order to keep the incredible memories you make when you’re trekking the Andes, or diving the Great Barrier Reef, or even just chilling by the fire with new friends, the right camera is one of the most important pieces of travel tech you can have! We have a range of different cameras for different uses, effects and situations, including our phone cameras for quick shots and selfies, a GoPro Hero3 (slightly outdated I know but it’s my old-faithful), a Sony HX90 compact camera and a DJI Spark drone. All of the above have unique uses and results, and all of the above have given us incredible footage.
This was a present a few years back now and I still use it on most of my trips. At the time it was the best, micro camera on the market for action shots, selfies and incredible wide angle views. Since newer models have come out the market has definitely blossomed and cheaper, off brand cameras seem to offer the same quality for a fraction of the price.
Research into some of the competitors before deciding on an action camera, but definitely invest in one of some form to capture some unique shots. Check out the latest models here, however i would recommend purchasing from a cheaper retailer such as Amazon.
In addition to the camera, you will need some attachments to capture those awesome shots in different locations and environments. The ones I use the most are the telescopic selfie stick (which is brilliant for any kind of action shot, above or below water), and the chest strap (perfect for those first-person shots).
When bought from GoPro directly, the chest mount is very expensive. However, you can buy an accessories megapack that also includes a huge number of other useful accessories for a very fair price.
It may be the bulkier of our two cameras, but the Cannon EOS1300D is definitely the better one! This DSLR is the perfect camera for beginner photographers who are not entirely sure what they are doing, but still ant fantastic pictures. It is very simple to use, has fantastic features and image quality, and offers an incredible entry level price into the world of photography!
Sony HX90 (MIA)
Compact cameras are becoming more and more popular among the travel community, mostly due to the fact that they deliver near DSLR quality without having a clunking camera dangling around your neck. My camera is the Sony HX90, which I purchased at the end of the summer in 2017. If you are looking for a lightweight camera then this is a fantastic choice for you!
This camera specifically stood out due to the additional features, such as viewfinder, flash and adjustable screen, as well as its incredible zoom. Given that majority of the photographs I take are of landscape and the environment rather than people, a zoom was very important for me to switch between broad shots of the surroundings and close ups of nature. All of these features wrapped up nicely for a very reasonably priced travel camera.
This camera unfortunately went missing during our European trip, lost in some small French village. If you are ever road tripping Normandy and find it lying around, let me know!
Camera Stand (Old)
A new addition to our travel tech is a tripod camera stand that is compatible not only with the HX90, but also with most mobile phones. The package we bought comes with a wireless remote that connects to IOS and Android phones, as well as a selfie light for the phone and a carry bag for the stand.
The quality of the stand is roughly equivalent to what you pay for it; it functions beautifully, however after only one weekend of heavy use the top attachment came loose and I had to duct tape it back together. Still, for the price I paid for it I can’t really complain.
Upgraded Camera Stand (New)
During our trip around Europe, our camera stand took a hell of a bashing. Since we were so impressed with the photographs we captured using the other stand, we decided to upgrade to a taller, sturdier and slightly more expensive stand for our next trip. After plenty of research, we decided upon the Albott 178cm Aluminium stand.
This camera stand offers an incredibly sturdy and stable solution to your photography needs. With a total height of just under 6foot, you will be able to achieve a variety of angles in your photographs. The width of the legs when at full height also provides a strong base to prevent it from falling over.
Perhaps our favourite feature of this stand is the quick release option of the camera. Simply screw the camera into a base and then clip this in and out of the stand, removing the need to spend minutes screwing the camera on and off every time you use it. Very handy when it is freezing cold in Scotland!
There is also the option to remove an internal single leg to use as a simple stability pole for any sports photography you will be doing.
Camera Carry Case
To keep the Sony HX90 protected and to help with carrying it around we invested in a stylish, leather carry-case. This comes as two sections: one screws into the camera with a shoulder strap, and the other buttons onto this section and covers the rest of the camera. This allows easy, fast shooting by simply removing the buttons.
For the Canon camera, we bought to different cases. One is a good, all-purpose carry case that can fit the entire camera, as well as spare batteries, memory cards and any cloth wipes you want in it. You can also squeeze your phone and purse into it as well, if you don’t want to carry around a handbag.
For our Europe trip, we invested in a smaller cover with a shoulder strap. This allowed us to carry the camera around all day, while keeping it protected, without a larger, bulkier carry case. We would recommend this case for any backpacking trips you have planned, where your packing is limited.
DJI Spark Drone
Our latest purchase has got to be the most impressive of the lot. At the very top of the drone market, DJI offers a wide range of tech to suit all price ranges, size requirements and general drone compatibility. We opted for their smallest drone on offer, the DJI Spark, which came with the additional extras such as the remote control, drone guards, spare battery, charging dock, spare propeller blades and neat carry bag.
Out of these I have to say the remote control and the spare battery are a must have, as well as the charging dock which allows you to charge multiple batteries at once. As I write this we have only used the drone during one trip so far, but the results are absolutely worth the money we paid.
Voted as best travel drone of the year, the Spark weighs in at a miniscule 300g (including the battery!). For our Christmas Aviemore trip, I managed to fit all the drone equipment as well as my other tech (laptop, cameras etc) into a carryon bag along with a weekends worth of clothes, and I plan on doing the same for our week to Canada. This drone is perfect for any amateur backpacker that want to get the unique aerial shots a high quality drone offers.
Wherever I end up going, I am never to be found without my faithful Macbook. It is not the lightest laptop to be travelling with (or the cheapest.. believe me my next laptop will be a PC), however it provides me with all the computing power and entertainment I need for the road.
Previously, while planning our huge summer trip this year I had toyed with the idea of switching up the Macbook for a smaller, cheaper notebook laptop. Since then I have decided to ditch that idea and hang on to old faithful, as it does everything that I need it to do and I will just make room for it. I guess my point here is make do with what you have got and save the money for when you are on a beach and there is cold beer to be bought.
One technology lifesaver I make sure to pack at all times is my rechargeable battery pack. During our Australian adventure this kept my GoPro ticking over and allowed me to capture the spectacular pictures I have from the third day sailing the Whitsundays. These are definitely a worthwhile investment, whether you are going remote with no charging facilities or simply want to keep your tech topped up while on a citybreak.
A good 20,000 mAh battery pack will top up your iPhone battery 6-8 times over and weighs in at a very modest £24 from Amazon. I have had mine for about 3 years now, and it still works like a charm!
International Plug Adapter
As we all know, heading abroad means needing to pack plug adapters for whatever country you are heading to. If you are planning on jumping between multiple zones then this may mean having to pack several bulky adapters, not so good for those short on luggage space!
Our recent purchase was an absolute lifesaver for this! We purchased a BEZ Premium adapter before our journey to Canada and were blown away by the practicality. Not only does this adapter have a sleek, low profile, fold-away setting for when you are travelling, but it also offers adapters for the EU, the US and Canada, the UK and Australia/New Zealand! AND on top of all of these it has two USB ports that can be used simultaneously with the main plug. This adapter can function in both directions; it can convert UK to US as well as US to UK. Definitely worth the money if you are a tech guru like us on our adventures.
The most undesirable (and unfortunately, the most crucial) part of any adventure is the time spent travelling and waiting around, be it in an airport or on a bus or however else you choose to travel. That being said, there is definitely some technology out there that can help take the edge off of your boredom (other than a bottle of wine). Here are three of our favourite travel techies.
Travelling as a couple is brilliant fun until you want to listen to your music or watch your movie and your partner is demanding one of your headphones. Earphone splitters cost a few buttons and are a brilliant way to speed the time up a bit by chilling together without sacrificing half your hearing.
Another one of my favourite travel techs is the good old Bluetooth headphones. These give you the ability to chill to your music or watch a movie without getting tangled up in your headphones every time you have to stand up to let someone past you. My current headphones are the TREBLAB J1, purchased from Amazon for a very reasonable price. As well as being lightweight and durable, they offer excellent sound quality and come with a very neat carry case to protect them.
Now I know some of you might have just shuddered at the thought of paying through the nose for Spotify while backpacking (that’s precious beer money!), but a handy little loophole that Spotify provides you with can help cut the cost of it massively. Gemma and I tend to share our Spotify account by downloading all the music we want to listen to and going into airplane mode if the other person wants to use it. Do this with a couple of friends or family and pay a fraction of the total cost!
While I was in France this was a life saver for music as I had no internet to stream it live. I simply downloaded in the nearest wifi spot and then used it offline for hours and hours. If you are a big music fan you should definitely consider using Spotify.
So that is all of my travel tech, what can you not live without while on the road?
If you think there tips are useful then check out our other travel tips for further inspiration for your next adventure! Also check us out on social media to see what we are currently up to.
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