Traveling today usually means traveling with technology. Our smartphones, tablets, digital cameras notebooks and iPods are as much required luggage as clothes and toiletries. But keeping your mobile gadgets running on the road requires thinking about battery recharging, insurance, mobile security, data backup and more.
Whether you're heading out for business or pleasure, traveling today usually means traveling with tech. Smartphones, notebooks, digital cameras, iPods -- they're as much a required part of our luggage as are clothes and toiletries. And while many of our tech gadgets today are made with the road in mind, having a carefree trip with technology in tow always involves thinking about what you'll need to keep the gadgets running and useful. Here's a checklist.
All tech gadgets need batteries, so think carefully about how you'll recharge them while you're on the road and whether you'll take along a spare or two. Answering some simple questions will take you far. Will your rechargers work at your destination, or will you need special adapters? If you have a device that charges via a USB cord, do you need a special USB cable to reach whatever charging device you'll have with you? If you'll be doing a lot of driving, remember to bring along or purchase a car adapter that allows you to charge your essential gadget during those long road trips. And if you'll be spending long periods of time away from any type of recharging source, consider purchasing an extra battery. They're cheap through venues like eBay.
While today's tech gadgets are often made to travel, that doesn't mean they're immune to accidental damage or theft. That's where insurance policies come in.
Insurance doesn't come cheap if you buy it from the gadget makers. But if you already have renter's or homeowner's insurance, check with the insurer to find out whether you can add an additional rider or policy to cover your tech gadgets. Many firms have such allowances, and the fees for them are reasonable.
Remember, too, that if you should have to file a claim, you may need serial numbers and photographs of your gadgets. Don't forget to store those in a safe place.
Another type of "insurance" for your notebook or iPad is tracking software that allows authorities to hunt down your computer , no matter where it is.
What could be worse than having someone steal your valued tech gadget when you're traveling? How about having to worry about the thief getting easy access to your data , personal information, or financial accounts?
That's what could happen if you fail to password-protect your electronics. Just about every gadget today can be password-protected, including smartphones, voice recorders, notebooks, and even some digital cameras. While using passwords can be a minor hassle, it's nothing compared to the hassle you'd face if your traveling technology were stolen.
For smartphone users traveling abroad, remember that your cell carrier will likely charge you sky-high rates for receiving data or placing calls while away. So evaluate how you'll use your smartphone, and make plans. First, see if you can put your smartphone into an "unlocked" state. Many carriers "lock" phones electronically so that they can only be used with a particular network . Most smartphones, however, can be unlocked by using a special code. Get one, and you can use your phone abroad simply by purchasing a SIM card at your destination. Look online for instructions on how to unlock your particular smartphone.
Second, if you have to stick with your carrier, remember that data will usually be billed at a higher rate, so switch off all apps that automatically pull data into your phone, including your e-mail accounts. Otherwise, you could arrive back home and be surprised at the large bill your phone racked up for you when you were unaware that anything was happening.
Most people who take tech on the road are capturing some kind of data: digital images, videos, voice recordings, and more. Remember to take along some kind of back up device for that data -- for two reasons. First, data can be lost, either by accident or through some type of hardware mishap. Second, if you find yourself picture- or video -happy on the road, your primary gadget's storage could fill up fast, and the best way to make room for more is to offload some stuff.
You can do that by researching how to offload data from whatever device you're using. If a notebook computer is in tow, chances are good that a USB connection to it will allow you to use the notebook as backup . A portable hard drive may also suffice. Additional external storage is cheap these days. Don't leave home without it.