September 28, 2015 3 min read
Technology has made the world easier to travel in a lot of ways: QR code tickets on your phone, Skype and email to stay in contact with friends and family globally, GPS so you’ll be able to find your way around a strange city. The downside is that, when your phone and tablet replace your map, your post-office, your guidebook, and your itinerary, running out of battery or losing them on a bus becomes an outright emergency. To keep you always hooked to your lifeline, here are some tips for keeping your electronics safe and secure while traveling.
Research Your Phone & Data Plan
Especially if you plan on leaving the country, it’s important to know the details of your phone & data plan ahead of time. Crossing a border often means that the phone towers handling your calls belong to a different company—this is called roaming, and phone companies can charge pretty highly for it. However, phone companies can also make agreements to allow a certain amount of roaming customers between them, so read the fine print carefully: knowing before your trip can help you avoid paying out the nose after. If your plan doesn’t allow for roaming, you can purchase an international package through your carrier, or use wifi only.
Carry an Extra Charge
When your tablet dies, it stays dead until you have an opportunity to charge it again. On the road, you may not know when that will be, or where you’ll find an available, compatible plug. To keep your electronics from turning into expensive bricks, make sure to pack a portable power supply. A portable battery charger can hold enough power to give a second lease on life to your phone or tablet, even out in the wilderness—and if you plan to be out in the wilderness, some brands like XTG even allow you to charge via solar power.
Pack Electronics Securely
While traveling with expensive equipment, theft and damage are always a concern. Having a properly secure travel bag can go a long way to preventing a major catastrophe, and in general you’re looking for three things: padding to keep your equipment safe, anti-slash protection on the handles, and a way to lock it tight. The PacSafe Instasafe line includes all of these protections and also has a new feature popping up in travel bag security—RFID blockers, which will protect the personal information in your IDs and credit card chips from being read remotely.
Consider a Phone Finder
Of course, there’s also the need to plan for human error. We’ve all lost our phones at one point or another, and considering how much of our lives is on them—business calendars, contact information, personal identity information—that can be a disaster. Apps like Find My iPhone and Android Lost can let you pinpoint your phone’s location, assuming that you have a separate internet-capable device, but you can also go old school by attaching a wireless tracker like TrackR, which will help your phone find your bag and vice versa. Find My iPhone helps when you lose your buddy too—Scott has used it a few times to find my exact location.
Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego, California. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them on their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by following their adventure travel blog.
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