You don’t need a lot of gear, you just need the right gear (unfortunately I have a lot of both!)
Sharing your laptop connection
This is my new favorite Windows-only app called Connectify.
The free version allows you to share both wired and WiFi connections, while the Pro version adds the ability to share a 3G/4G modem connection as well.
I have been using the free version regularly for several months and recommend it, it has allowed our entire family to share a single WiFi metered connection among the entire family and all devices. I couldn’t live without it.
The Smart Phone
Unlocked iPhone (I have an older 4s and it works just fine)
Although there are other options (and probably better) now on the market I still like my (semi old) unlocked iPhone. If you unlock your smartphone you can buy cheap SIM cards (about $2) and plans for well less than $10 a month to use on the road. This helps when meeting up with other travelers and calling guesthouses to book ahead. Also, the cameras and social sharing features are fantastic and mean you don’t always have to carry your bigger camera when your little one takes 5 mega-pixel photos! If you are heading to SEA, my techie friends put together a great list of SIM card advice for Southeast Asia.
Some quick tips on phones:
- Get an unlocked phone.
- Or buy and toss local phones as you go.
- Nexus 5 is a great if not perfect option, but for me there was just no reason to upgrade
- Read this article on Sim Cards and Mobile Phones if you are going to South East Asia.
Finding The Right Case for Your Phone
I currently use the speck case. I keep some cash and one of my cards in it for easy access the rest goes into my money belt.
The Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 – Ultrabook
I debated for a long time between going “all in” with a Mac Book Air (since I own an iPhone and an iPad) but I just think Windows is a better and more versatile travel laptop.
While the Yoga Pro 2 doesn’t have the 12 hour battery life that makes the Air so darn tempting, I love this laptop because it combines everything the family man running an online business could dream of.
It works great as a convertible tablet for watching movies or browsing travel books and has perfect tech specs (see below).
It will set you back about $1,000 but it is the best investment I have made for my business on the road.
Compared to the iPad Air you get a convertible touch screen tablet with all the Windows programs that you have
pirated purchased over the years. 🙂
Check out these important Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 travel tech specs That I think make it a great laptop
- 4th Generation Intel Core I7 4500U Processor (will handle anything)
- Stunning (better than the iPad) 13.3″ QHD+ LED Glossy Multi-touch (Retina Display) with integrated camera (3200×1800)
- A full 8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600 MHz,
- A fast 256GB Solid State Drive
- 3.1 lbs and 0.6″ thin, With up to 9 hours battery life.
iPad Air with Logitech Keyboard
I waited for years to buy an iPad and this year in January (before I knew we were leaving on our trip) I took the leap.
It is a great tool but I still couldn’t live without my laptop. Coupled with the amazing FabricSkin Keyboard Folio it makes for the perfect travel companion for families.
We also just purchased an iPad Mini for my wife and kids for $199 without the Retina display.
The advantage of the iPad is really it’s battery life, durability and simplicity.
If I didn’t own this I would jump in line pretty quickly for a Google Nexus Tablet which is also an excellent option.
Finding The Right Plug
This might not seem like such a big deal but a good travel plug is essential.
This plug is great it has a surge protector and two high speed USB charging ports. It is a bit big (my only complaint) but I have found it so useful I am taking it again on this trip. My only complain is that this is a three prong plug which is not always an option in many countries. But that is Ok because we have a converter.
I bought two, both the Kensington all in one and the MAXAH® Surge Protector All in One.
Cannon Digital Rebel SLR Camera
I have an older Canon Digital Rebel XTi (here is the new one) that is basic and compact. I tried to provide enough reasons to upgrade for the trip but there just weren’t any. My wife fought me on this one but I am bringing it with just it’s small 50 mm lens so that I don’t have a lot of weight and bulk.
This cheap 50 mm lens got me all my great photography through Peru so I am counting on it for our trip and if we are going around the world I just can’t resist having my nice SLR.
Quick Photography Tips:
- Set your phone to automatically upload to Google Plus to backup all your photos. Other options are Facebook and Flickr but I am loving the Google Backup because it will also backup all the pictures on your laptop.
- Check out Travel The Road.com for tips on photo gear and packing.
Video – GoPRO 3+ and iPhone
I am testing out a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition Video camera. I think it will be pretty great at capturing surfing footage and strapping to kids or Koalas.
- Hero 3+ Black Edition
- Scan Disk 64gb Extreme memory card
- Chest and Head Strap
- iPhone 4s will shoot videos well enough. So this will probably be my go to unless I am looking for something better.
A note on memory cards.
If you get the black edition you are going to need something super fast. This memory card is 64 bucks but worth every penny!
Hints for the tech guru in you
Wonderful Articles from Too Many Adapters
- Buying Sim Cards in South East Asia
- How to Share an internet connection while traveling
- Windows Hack: How To Make Time Limited Free Internet Last Forever
- Handeling Mail while your gone: EarthClassMail
- Packing cubes are a good idea for cables and extras.
- Keep all your valuables (camera, computer, etc.) in daypack.
- PacSafe is a metal mesh wrap for your backpack.
- Take a lock to lock your daypack and extra tech gear in a locker.
- Buy a subscription to Crashplan to back stuff up. Or do what I do and use a combo of Dropbox, Amazon, Google Drive and Box for Storage. It is totally Free and why pay for this stuff.
Protect Yourself While Online
- I use HotSpot Shield – It is free, and is simple to use. Follow the next tip and you will have almost all the benefits of the paid service (i.e no annoying ads).
- Make sure you download AdBlock so you can browse without having to see HotSpot Shields Painfully Annoying Ads.
- Witopia – Makes it look like you’re surfing from home, so you can use Netflix or other services that are country-specific.
- Best VPN for the price is Private Internet Access: 1 year for only $39.99 USD.