Gadgets and technology can really improve your travel experience by helping you keep in touch with friends and family back home, connect with new friends you meet on the road, find your way in a foreign city, or keep your favourite books and reading material with you in an ultra compact way. But there are definitely some gadgets that are better than others when it comes to choosing what you should take with you for long term travel. So before you rush into your nearest The Good Guys or Apple store, take a look at our top list of recommendations for the best and worst gadgets for women on the go.
Tough, sturdy and light as a feather, the Kindle classic is our choice of e-readers for travellers. Boasting up to a whopping 8-weeks of battery life on a single charge and able to store up to 1,000 books, it’s the no-fuss, simple way to take all of your favourite books with you on the road. It’s also small enough to fit in almost any pocket or small backpack.
Worst: Kindle Fire
While the new and improved Kindle Fire is a great e-reader in itself, nothing with such a delicate screen is worth getting tossed into your luggage and ending up cracked. If you must take a super fancy tablet device with you, consider a more functional tablet like an iPad (or even more travel-savvy, an iPad mini) so you can at least read books, browse the web and make video calls back home with the inbuilt camera.
If you must take a laptop with you for things like photo editing, travel blogging and other general tasks, make it something lightweight and compact that you can carry around easily in a backpack. The MacBook Air is the perfect choice here, weighing in at just over 1kg. Just be sure to get an extra padded protective case for it.
Worst: HP Pavilion HDX9320EG
While we’re sure this is a very powerful laptop, it’s one of the heaviest we’ve come across in a while – it’s a huge 7kg in weight (around the same as a surfboard!), not to mention the 1.2 kg charger as well. We imagine we’d get very tired, very quickly of carrying this one around.
We love taking music with us on the road, and sometimes you want to be able to fill your hostel or hotel room with music when you’re getting ready for a day (or night) of sightseeing and adventures. This is especially true if you’re travelling with friends. These Gear4 StreetParty speakers are super slim and foldable, deliver great sound, and double up as an iPod/iPhone charger.
Worst: Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12
These fancy speakers by Bang & Olufsen are pretty nifty, and they’re able to play your music wirelessly. However, they’re quite large and clunky, and difficult to transport around easily. They’re also almost $1000 – something we wouldn’t want to risk getting broken on the road.
When it comes to lightweight and ultra-portable headphones that also cancel out external noise and deliver great sound, you can’t go past these Audio-Technica models. They’re also a bargain at just $79.95. You may also want to take a small pair of inexpensive earbuds with you if you want an even more subtle, inconspicuous and less-breakable way to listen to your music while you’re jogging or exploring.
Worst: Monster Diamond Ears
While these headphones look awesome, they’re a potential broken-headphones heartbreak waiting to happen. They’ll also the perfect way to attract way too much attention to yourself if you happen to be waking down the streets of a city or suburb known for its pick-pocketers. Save the bling for when you’re safe and sound at home.
Compact cameras are getting more and more impressive in terms of the number of settings, manual features and even separate lens attachments they offer. One of our favourites is the Canon Powershot G12, which is compact and lightweight, but still takes amazing shots.
Worst: Canon 5D Mk III
While there’s actually no such thing as a “worst” camera to take travelling, there are certain times when you should probably leave your heavy DSLR with your huge 100-400mm lens and clunky tripod at home. Unless you work for National Geographic or Lonely Planet and you’re on a specific photo-taking assignment, nobody is going to want to wait for you to stop every 10 metres and set up your complicated camera gear when you’re on a trek through the Amazon rainforest or climbing Mount Everest.
What are your essential travel gadgets that you can’t leave home without? Have you come across any truly terrible travel gadgets you can share?