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Flashpackers are the new backpackers and it’s very common to see your hostel mates hooked up to laptops, iPhones and every gadget in between. But if you decide to bring tech gear on your trip, there are some accessories you should bring with you to make sure your items don’t get damaged or stolen. You don’t have to pack all of these items, but this list should prepare for the worst case scenario.
For the big ticket items, these posts may be worth checking out:
- DSLRs: The Pros and The Cons in Taking Them Traveling
- The Canon EOS Rebel T1i Review
- Micro Four-Thirds Cameras: Olympus E-P2 Review
- Taking the Plunge into Mirrorless Cameras
>> See all of our packing list posts here.
For Your Computer: Protect
Laptop case: A sturdy Neoprene case with plenty of cushioning will protect your computer from cracks and screen damage. Pick one with a design that doesn’t look like everyone else’s, just like your suitcase, so it doesn’t get mixed up.
Lock: I have one that locks the T bar into the side next to your USB drive and loops around a chair or other item to prevent theft. You can choose between keyed locks or combination locks. Or simply bring a padlock so you can lock your nice gear up in hostel lockers.
Insurance: Make sure your travel insurance policy covers your gadgets. You don’t want to worry about not being able to replace your computer if it’s stolen.
Screen cover for security: If you do online banking on your computer, there are privacy screens you can put in so that people looking over your shoulder can’t read your information.
Anti-Theft Software: There are a few out there, including Undercover, Hidden and Prey, the latter of which is what Expert Vagabond Matthew Karsten used to recover his stolen MacBook Pro in Panama. They allow you to GPS track and take screenshots from your stolen devices.
For Your Computer: Connect
Headphones and Skype headset: If you’re watching movies on your computer or talking to friends and family back home, you don’t need everyone to hear your conversation. If you invest in some noise-cancelling headphones, they can even help you sleep in loud hostels or on the plane! Here’s a list of the best headphones for travel.
Necessary cords and chargers: Don’t forget your power cords. I also have a retractable USB 2.0 cord that rolls up and takes up hardly any room, which I use to connect camera and external hard drive.
Converters and surge protector: An all in one power adapter allows you to change plugs for whichever country you are in, but make sure you don’t also need to have a converter for different voltage. Some people like to have surge protectors in case of electrical shocks.
WiFi Card: If you plan on using wireless internet while you travel, it might be a good idea to invest in a GoGo or similar membership. Most hostels these days have wireless internet, but it’s not always secure or reliable. Another option is to get a local SIM card for your smartphone. If your plan comes with data, you may be able to use the smartphone as a mobile hotspot.
For Your Computer: Backup
External Hard Drive: It’s important to have a place to backup all your travel photos (and to just store some movies that you can watch on a rainy day). I recommend the iOmega eGo brand. There are also external hard drives made with a thick rubber coating so they won’t be damaged if you drop them. USB drives will also work, but perhaps bring a few in case one gets corrupted (it happens!) when you travel.
>> You might also enjoy this post: Extra Electronics to Pack with Your Gadgets
Cloud: There are plenty of brands you can go with, but no matter what, have your important documents and phone numbers stored online somewhere for you to access in an emergency. I use Google Docs but Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud are popular choices.
For Your Camera
Camera bag: If you’re bringing a DSLR or even your point and shoot camera, a good case is a must have to hold extra lenses and accessories. Check out Heather’s camera bag recommendations if you’re having trouble deciding on one. Or, learn how to use any bag as a camera bag (this post, too!).
Tripod: Not everyone brings tripods because they take up lots of space, but the Gorillapod comes in both DSLR and point and shoot versions and steadies your camera to avoid blurry photos. You can also wrap it around things or hold it out to take self portraits.
Underwater case: Underwater housing for cameras get very pricey, usually double the price of the actual camera, but there are affordable options if you want to take underwater photos and videos. Aquapac and DicaPac make affordable options.
>> See our Travel Photography Packing List for even MORE great travel accessories.
For Your Smartphone
Smartphone Case: You’ll want something that protects your phone from bumps and drops- there’s nothing worse than a shattered iPhone screen! OtterBox make exceptionally sturdy cases, and even some for those going near water.
Screen Protector: If your case doesn’t cover the front of your phone, then you’ll definitely want a screen protector sheet (at minimum) to protect the glass from scratches and cracks.
Waterproof Cover: If you’re going to be around water, or fear getting stuck in the rain, then some sort of waterproof cover or bag is important. You can go with a cover from Lifeproof, or invest in something like the Waterproof Travelon Pouch.
Lens Attachments: Those with smartphones might even want to forgo a separate camera altogether. With the addition of some lens attachments, travelers can create fun and unique travel photos with phones.
>> You might also want an external battery pack to recharge your smartphone on the go.
For Everything Else
Grid It: Kristin Luna introduced us to this organizational tool which holds on to your cords, cameras, iPods, cell phones and everything else for when you travel. There’s also a zippered pocket for money and travel documents.
>> See our electronics packing hacks for ideas on storing loose cables and gadgets when you travel.