Travel has changed a lot in the last few years.
While the norm used to be paper maps and sending postcards and making expensive international phone calls, a little thing called the iPhone suddenly changed all that.
Now we make calls, send mail and look at maps all on our little screen!
But with this new tech wave comes a new host of travel problems. What gadgets do you carry? How do you keep them safe? What about cyber security? What if there’s no internet?
If you’re about to hit the road this summer, here’s a few quick tech tips to keep you safe.
1. Carry a powerbank
Battery power is suddenly one of the most pressing issues a tech traveler faces. Between you camera, your phone, your laptop, maybe even a Kindle, a torch and a pair of headphones, something is bound to run out of battery on the road.
Powerbanks have saved my butt on many an occassion, but it’s strange how so few travelers actually carry them. In fact, it seems I’m often lending my powerbank to someone else as often as I’m using it myself!
Powerbanks usually offer you 2-3 full charges of a cellphone, and they don’t cost much at all. It’s easily one of the best investments for a tech traveler to make!
2. Keep Skype Credit in your phone
Skype is great for calling between friends, but did you know you can actually load up your Skype account with credit too?
This allows you to make phone calls overseas to landlines, which is very handy if you ever need to call a hotel in advance, an airline helpline, and especially if you need to call your bank back home to sort out any problems.
The reason Skype is perfect for this is because the rates are so low! Expect to pay just a few cents a minute, if that.
3. Use a VPN!
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a piece of software on your computer that protects your internet connection.
Whenever you log on to a free wifi, such as in a hotel or cafe, the internet provider is able to see all of your activity, and sometimes the owner of the internet connection can too.
What a VPN does is encrypt all of this information so only you can see it. That’s extremely important if you plan on logging on to sites like Paypal or your internet banking.
Remember, in the digital age, everything is just information on a server somewhere. That makes it very easy for you to access, but also easy for others as well if you don’t take the right precautions.
VPN’s are usually very small investments, maybe just $20 or $30 per year. Well worth it.
A great guide to VPNs can be found here.
4. Buy a local sim
While most cell providers offer roaming services, they’re often extremely expensive.
Nowadays, the world is so connected that buying a sim in a foreign country rarely takes more than a few minutes and only costs a couple of dollars.
This also means you get local rates for internet and calls, which are definitely going to be much cheaper than what you pay for roaming.
Another great thing is, many phones these days allow for double sim slots, meaning you can use your local sim but still have your sim from home active in case anyone needs to contact you. Perfect.
5. Get insurance!
Travel insurance is always essential for your health and safety, but most people don’t realize that not all policies cover your gadgets too.
Many policies have it in the fine print that only electronics up to a certain dollar value are insured. The most common item this catches people out on is cameras. While taking epic photos of your trip is one of the true pleasures of travel, you also need to make sure you’ve taken all the right precautions. Not checking your cover can lead to a nasty surprise when your $2,000 camera gets stolen and you realize insurance ain’t paying you a cent for it.
Always make sure you confirm all your gadgetry with your insurance provider before you get on the plane. Often you will need to pay an extra fee for the more expensive items, but of course this is well worth it.
Electronics are one of the most common targets of theft in the travel community, so make sure all your things are protected. Insurance is a must!!!
What other easy tips do you have for the travel tech generation? Let us know in the comments!