Best Technology Items for A Long Trip (Camera, Power Adapter, iPod, UMPC, Amazon Kindle)

greg's picture

There are several (gadget) items that we've collected or seen on our trip which make travel, memories, and communication better.

  1. The Zapatillo (power strip) to End All Zapatillos

    When we arrived in Buenos Aires with a single power converter and multiple gadgets we knew that something was going to have to change. We figured we would find something to help us down here and, in fact, we found the best tech gadget ever: a power strip which can accept plugs from the USA, Latin America, Europe, Australasia, etc. Which is to say: any plug in the world can be plugged into this device. The only drawback is that in while it accepts any plug, it can only be plugged into the angle + vertical bar of South America (specifically Argentina, as far as we can tell). Fortunately, using this power strip plus an adapter we are set everywhere we may go. Plus, I plan to rewire it in the US so it will work on the slightly more standard European style double circles. At US$10 from a ferreteria (hardware store) in Buenos Aires this was our best value purchase.

  2. Amazing Digital SLR Camera (plus lenses)

    We had been using a Casio Exilim EX-Z750 which is a 7.2 megapixel “point and shoot” digital camera. It has some preset “scene” settings for portraits, landscapes, food, etc. and has worked quite well for the past 4 years. Well, as you can imagine digital camera technology has changed a bit in that time and we decided to upgrade to a digital SLR as well to be able to take advantage of more advanced lense technology. So, after researching the very popular “prosumer” models from Canon and Nikon I found the Olympus E-510 which is a 10 megapixel camera at a competitive price point to Canon and Nikon models with fewer megapixels and while the Olympus was bundled with 2 lenses the Canon and Nikon each had only one. Add on top of that image stabilization (technology which reduces the impact of a shaky hand, especially during longer exposures or when using a telephoto lens) that is built into the body. For most cameras image stabilization(IS) is built into a lens – so if you want the IS you have to pay extra for the IS on every lens. With this Olympus – you get it for every lens, including the $100 fixed length lens. Awesome. I think the results speak for themselves. We are enormously happy with this purchase even though it was quite expensive. I feel pretty certain we'll be taking great photos with this – and blowing them up to poster size - for many years to come.

  3. The 80GB Refurbished iPod

    At around $100 less than a new iPod, the refurbished iPods have always been my favorites. With 80GB of space, we can easily fit all of our music (currently 50GB) and still have space for backup and sharing all the photos taken with that fancy camera. Hells yes.

  4. Ultraportable Computer (Asus, iPhone, OLPC etc.)

    One of the heaviest things in both of our bags is our computers. I've got a 17 inch Dell Inspiron and Nikki uses a 14 inch Apple MacBook. I think that in total they weigh about 20 pounds (10Kg). That's far too much. We're in a slightly unique situation because in addition to travel we are working down here, and working means lots of time in front of our screens. BUT the other day a woman asked for help connecting to the wifi network in a hostel on her Asus eeepc. The thing was gorgeous. A tiny little device which, without much weight or space in your bag, allows you to connect to the internet and get email or internet anywhere. While keeping files on USB or using can help with many of these things, using Thunderbird+offline mode and google reader with offline mode can make your use of the frequently incosistent internet far more productive.

  5. The Amazon Kindle – Your Library in One Book

    This is a device we got half way through our trip. When we started the trip we had a stack of books that stood 3 feet tall. Clearly unacceptable. Now, after reading and gifting many of the books and buying a few books on the Kindle we still have the same number, but the stack is only 1 foot tall. This obviously makes packing and carrying our luggage much easier. Reading books on the Kindle is as easy as printed form if not easier. I use highlighting, add notes via the tiny keyboard, dogear pages, all like I would with a printed book. One enormous benefit of the Kindle is its ability to use the cell phone network for internet access. I was in Minneapolis and needed the phone number of my hotel but didn't have access to the internet. I grabbed the Kindle, opened its limited browser, googled for the hotel name and the first three digits of the area code: the first result had the phone number and I called it. Problem solved.

What else? Well, tons. But these are my favorite five.

Hi, how I can send PM?

Great list. Still, I wonder why ipod should be refurbished.

greg's picture

Do you like paying full price for everything? I don't ;)

Refurbished ipod is 20% off of regular price.

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