After a lengthy family vacation this year, I thought I’d share some of our tech related items and apps that we used while travelling. While many are far more experienced in travel, perhaps our feedback might still be a benefit for you as you prepare for a trip, or just day to day around your own town. To prepare for our trip, I spent quite a bit of time planning what we would bring for our family of 6 and how we’d travel. With two long days of travelling, as well as numerous times with lengthier drives, our technology needed to be well planned.
As we travelled, I brought my usual devices – Macbook Air, Ipad Air 2, Iphone 5s, and a Kindle PaperWhite ereader. For the remainder of our family we brought along 2 ipads – 1st Gen and 3rd Gen, as well as a number of ipods. We also had a Nikon D40x camera with a an 18mm-200mm Nikor lense. I also brought along a portable battery pack to keep my phones charged, and a portable travel router to assist with creating a wireless network if needed in a hotel, etc. Those are some of the essentials I always travel with… but in this post are some of the other items and tools I used.
Here is some of the key items that supported this tech and why we liked it:
1) Lowepro Bag – Photo Hatchback 22L AW
This bag is awesome. We used it every day we left the house. It stored our DSLR camera safely in the back. Had room for a tablet (or two) and also doubled as a diaper bag, and still had room for extras. We also liked that if it started raining the bag has the ability to be sealed up tight from the rain with an extra cover. The camera stores in the back making the camera hard to steal. Last but not least, you can remove the camera section for extra storage. This bag was worth every penny and will get much use in the years to come.
2) Monoprice chargers – 4 port charger
With all the devices brought along for music, communication, etc. this saved a lot of space packing. We brought charging cables and could charge four devices at once. The model linked is a newer version of ours… ours has a cord to plug into the wall which we like as we could set the charger on a table. Bonus is there are
3) Cable wraps, etc. MacCo Cables
With the amount of tech we travelled with cables were going to be a pain. I supported a kickstarter a while back for MacCo cable organizers. I love them. They work incredibly well for keeping things untangled and stay attached to the cord. ON a bonus note they are magnetic so can hold your cable onto a magnetic surface as well. A small thing – yes. A helpful thing with headphones, cables, power cords, etc.? definitely.
I know e-readers are so common now, but when travelling for almost 4 weeks I loved my paperwhite. I could read it anywhere. The battery life is great. I had a whole library of books with me without weighing down a bag. I brought it to the beach and the pool. The cost is relatively cheap compared to a tablet so if it gets lost, damaged or stolen I’m not missing an ipad. I used it lots… and it held up. Note the Kindle doesn’t work with libraries in Canada – if you want to borrow ebooks for your trip you’ll have to use a Kobo product.
While in the US for almost 4 weeks I wanted to have full cell service without worrying about data charges, etc. Roam Mobility was the solution. I had 4G data (and tons of Data), texting, free calling to Canada, etc. This is a Canadian company where you use your unlocked phone (Costs $50 if yours is not unlocked) and buy a new SIM card. It was super easy to use and they had great coverage where we were.
I know travel sites are a dime a dozen, but after searching flights for a few months I realized flighthub was giving us the best prices. how? it has more search features including looking at dates on both sides, and alternative airports. By flying into Ft. Lauderdale and not Orlando our tickets came in substantially cheaper. Even entering in the same criteria on other sites we couldn’t find comparable prices…. we feel we saved at least $500-1000 using this site. I know that won’t always be the case, but the search functionality on it alone made it useful for us.
If you travel Disney anything I can’t emphasize enough to use Undercover Tourist to buy tickets, learn about deals and discounts, and to plan your day. We bought our tickets through them and we also planned our day using their crowd calendars. It was great!
Travelling with 6 people means hotels are expensive. We always try and book with VRBO. We found a 4 bedroom townhouse with a pool area (waterslide, multiple pools) and we paid $120/night including pool access. We were a 15 minute drive from Disney World and had a lot more comfort with our own kitchen, ample bedrooms and lots of space to sleep. we find we get a cheaper price and more space when we use VRBO.
So there are some of the basics we had and used while travelling. Of course we used our iphones and ipads – for photos to ‘Find a Friend’ app to locate each other, to booking Fast Passes at Disney. But this post highlights some of the other tech we really liked as we travelled abroad that maybe aren’t in everyone else’s tech bag.