We bought the Google nexus 7 literally at the airport as we flew out – it hadn’t been a planned purchase, but I’d received a last minute thank you bonus from work, so we thought we’d spend it on this! We ‘ummed’ and ‘arred’ before purchasing – do we really need it? Isn’t it just another thing to get stolen? However it turned out to be an excellent purchase. We used it constantly throughout our trip – most places had wi-fi and on the nexus we could book our next hostel in the time it would normally take me to power up my netbook.
In particular we found it useful for: skype, booking accommodation and showing our booking confirmation (rather than printing), quickly checking emails, Google maps, Facebook, currency converter and language apps.
We took an Asus eee travelling with us due to its compact size and light weight. However, if it wasn’t for me – travel blogging – then we wouldn’t have needed this due to having our tablet. I tended to use the netbook whilst Ben used the tablet, I’d be writing my blogs whilst he’d be researching our next destination on the tablet. I quickly out grew the little netbook though as I found it very slow to use and editing videos on it was impossible, so I can certainly understand why people splash out and buy a MacBook. I persevered though (mostly due to lack of money) and my netbook stayed with me throughout my recent 6 month trip.
A netbook (or if you have the cash – MacBook Air) would be useful for: those whom need to type i.e. keeping a blog, writing to family and friends often – although it is also useful for watching movies on long bus / train journeys saved on a portable media device.
Portable Hard Drive
We bought a 500gb hard drive to put all our photos on when our memory cards got full. We didn’t use it as a backup as such, but a sole storage device. We tried backing up to dropbox / google drive, however due to the file size of each photo, our thousands of photos, together with the not so superfast internet speed in most countries we visited – it was impossible to do so. You can see why then we clung onto our portable hard drive for dear life – we did not want to lose a single photo we had taken. Before we left on our trip we also loaded our portable hard drive with music and movies that we could play through our netbook – the movies were great on long bus / train journeys.
I’d thoroughly recommend taking a portable hard drive with you – although I wouldn’t recommend using it as your ONE AND ONLY photo backup!
We took a small digital camera with us as well as a ‘bridge’ camera (bridge cameras are half way between an SLR and a pocket camera). We decided to take both with us as we thought we may use the small camera in less safe areas, as it would stand out less, and it wasn’t worth as much to us if it got stolen. However, having a bridge camera would mean better quality photographs.
On the road however we used our bridge camera all the time and our pocket camera got no use whatsoever (we actually ended up posting it back home!)
The bridge camera we used was a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V. We thought it was fantastic – it produced awesome quality photographs, with lots of different options/modes, but just didn’t give the flexibility of changing the lens. This wasn’t a problem for us as we didn’t really want to add to the weight in our bags with different lenses.
Mobile / Smart Phone
We sold our smart phones before we left the UK due to the expensive data roaming charges, and also due to the fact we had a Google nexus tablet to connect to wi-fi.
We did however take two cheap mobiles for emergency situations or in case we got separated from each other. At first, we carried the mobiles around in our daypacks, but we found that we didn’t use them at all and we were forgetting to charge them up. We somehow managed to lose one mobile on our trip (goodness knows where!), and we posted the other one back home due to lack of use.
If you do want to take a smartphone with you then I’d recommended the Samsung Galaxy range of phones. I bought the Samsung Galaxy S3 as soon as I got back to the UK and it is extremely fast and easy to navigate, it operates on android – providing access to a huge range of free apps, and it has a great quality back camera, as well as front camera for those Skype video calls.
We considered taking our iPod’s, however we were already taking a lot of electricals away with us and decided to instead load some music on our portable hard drive as well as our tablet, so we could listen to music if we wanted.
So if you’re thinking of taking an iPod, it probably is worth taking, unless you have other devices on which to listen to music.