When you’re preparing for a trip, you might be thinking about getting all your travel documents in order and packing your suitcase, but you should also think about digitally preparing for your journey, as well. I’ve often found myself leaving this step until the last minute and regretting the decision. Let’s explore some of the things you might want to prepare with your technology before you head out on a trip:
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So we have this old horrible laptop that is super small and light and only makes an appearance on select trips for the purpose of blogging and possibly looking at Facebook. I just turned it on for the first time in probably 2 years and it's not happy with me. It would appear I will be blogging from an iPad on this journey….
Charge up your external charger
If there’s one item I recommend above all others when preparing for a long plane trip, it’s an external charger. They are great…you charge them up at home and then when you’re on the road you can turn it on and plug your devices directly into it in order to power them back up. Sure, airports and even planes are offering plugs for charging more and more, but it’s still iffy as to whether or not you’ll have this available to you, and there’s nothing worse than your phone or tablet running out of batteries on a 15 hour flight. Get ready to stare at the wall…hooray!
When you’re prepping for your trip, just remember to charge it up a day or two before you leave and you’ll be good to go.
Charge up your GoPro, Digital Camera, Tablets, Laptop, etc.
On the subject of charging up devices, don’t forget to charge up all the other devices you’ll be bringing along with you, too. Sometimes I tend to leave things like this for the last minute, and I always regret it. You’ll want everything to be ready to go with all the power at 100% to get you started.
Check Restrictions on Devices
Recent legislation has caused certain airlines stopping in certain places to enforce bans on some laptops and tablet devices. Make sure you check before you fly if your trip will be impacted by this, and if it will be, prepare ahead of time. Personally, I’ll just leave the laptop and tablet at home during such trips because I would rather not risk it getting damaged or stolen from my checked baggage, but if you must bring your laptop or tablet on the trip with you, make sure you secure it properly. Some airlines, like Emirates, have introduced a laptop service for customers impacted by this issue, so definitely look into what your airline might offer. Most importantly, make sure to look into current regulations before you fly because these kinds of things are subject to change at any time, and you don’t want to be surprised.
Apps to Download
I recommend downloading any apps that might keep you entertained during your flight well ahead of time. You’ll of course want things like maps installed on your phone (super useful!), but you might also think about games you might want to play, guides to your destination, language learning apps, etc.
Music will get you through any long flight, but since most flights either have no WiFi or spotty, slow WiFi, it’s best to prepare ahead of time. You can load your own music onto your phone, or if you’re a subscriber of a service like Spotify, you can actually save playlists to listen to offline, which I often do before a flight. Also think about any podcasts you might want to listen to during your flight and make sure to download them to your phone before you go.
Books, audiobooks, and magazines on your tablet.
Assuming you’re not on one of those tablet-less flights, make sure to download any books, audiobooks, magazines, etc. that you might enjoy before you go. If you can’t bring your tablet, you can also download books onto your phone, but it’s a less ideal reading experience. Still, it will do in a pinch.
Be prepared for losing cell phone service.
If you’re flying internationally, it’s likely your cell phone will not work in your destination. There are several different things you can do to prepare for this. You can download or print all the information you’ll need upon arrival ahead of time (i.e. boarding passes, maps to your hotel, necessary phone numbers, confirmations for things like rental cars, etc.). I highly recommend that you do this. If you’re going to be relying on hotel WiFi at night, this is probably all you’ll need to do. You may want to look into ways to get service while you’re away, however. For instance, when I was in Japan they had everything from rental cell phones to pocket WiFi rentals available. We rented a pocket WiFi device and picked it up at the airport upon arrival and it was wonderful. We were able to look up maps, train schedules, and information on destinations in real time as we walked around, and I enjoyed live-streaming some fun moments from Japan for my friends on Facebook as well. It ended up adding a lot to the trip. The company we went with was PuPuRu and they were awesome, but there are a lot of different companies offering this service. Depending on where you’re going, you might have access to this kind of service, but it’s always a good idea to look into what options might be available for you before you go.
Prepare for Different Plugs
The last thing I want to mention is that if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to check if you’ll need plug adapters and power converters for your trip. As an American, I don’t need them if I travel to Canada, Mexico, or….surprise!….Japan, but I do need them in Australia, Europe, and beyond. Make sure to look into the plug situation in your destination before you go and pick yourself up some plug adapters and power converters if you’ll need it. You’ll thank yourself the first time you need to charge your phone back up!
What sorts of things do you do to prepare your technology for travel? Any additional tips not mentioned here? I’d love to hear all about it!