Talking tech since 2003

The summer travel season is right around the corner, and many BestTechie readers may be planning vacations and adventures.  However, going on vacation (or any type of trip for that matter) doesn’t mean you have to become disconnected from your electronic life.  This how-to will cover some of the key strategy’s for ensuring you are electronically prepared for whatever may come your way.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider what your primary communications device is going to be during your trip.  While smart-phones and hand-helds are very useful, the fact remains that they’re not as powerful as a notebook computer.  At the same time, while notebook computers are extremely useful, they do not offer internet connectivity without a hardwired or a wireless connection (WiFi or 3G).  Because of this you have to weigh your needs and your options carefully.  Additionally, packing a laptop is very convenient, as they offer USB ports which can charge other devices such as iPhones.  This can be useful if you find yourself in a situation where you have a limited number of power outlets.

Having said this, it is a good idea to check with the place where you will be staying, be it a relative’s home or a resort to see if they have internet connectivity.  Be sure to keep in mind that some resorts and venues such as cruise ships tend to charge for internet services, so it is important to determine weather or not you will need to pay for internet connectivity, and how much it costs.  Additionally, you may want to check with your wireless carrier to see if you will be in a “roaming” zone, and if you will be incurring any overages.  While your wireless plan may have unlimited roaming for phone calls, some providers may charge you for data roaming, a service which can get very pricey.  Because of this, you may choose to simply turn off your phone when traveling out of country.  At the same time, you should probably carry it with you anyway just so you have the ability to turn it on and call for help if you find yourself in a threatening situation.

Another option you may consider is tethering a smart-phone to your computer.  Many devices support this feature.  While this should be inclusive with an unlimited data plan, it is important to check with your service provider to determine if it’s part of your contract, or if you will be incurring additional charges.

If you’re traveling with both a digital camera and a laptop computer, I’d recommend bringing a memory-card reader (if you don’t have one built into the computer itself) or the camera’s wire.  This allows you to transfer images onto your computer.  While this in itself is a great backup method, it also allows you to progressively share pictures from your journey via email, Facebook, etc.  This can also free up space on your camera’s memory card or internal memory, although I definitely recommend that you ensure that your camera has enough memory to hold all of the pictures you will be taking, because you’d hate to miss that perfect shot because you run out of memory.

Additionally, you should consider bringing a standard phone cord along with you.  While dial-up internet may not accommodate vast amounts of media, it can be your last line of hope in achieving internet connectivity on your trip.  Among other things, you should bring all the necessary documentation for your electronic equipment, and of course; batteries and chargers.

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