There has been a lot of discussion around how connected we want to be while we are traveling. We have had to think hard about what our days would look like while we were away and how much we would need to rely on the digital world to help us along. Traveling “light” has also played a part in our decision making. In years past, a trip like this would most likely be arranged through a travel agent with all travel, excursions, and hotels planned well in advance. Our trip looks like the complete opposite. We have very few firm plans in place. We intend to research, plan, and book on the go. There are so many resources available that make travel, education, and work accessible and easy, that it really made sense for us to embrace the digital world and plan out what electronics made the most sense for us.
Below are just a few of the things we will be using electronics for:
- Airline tickets
- Train schedules and routes (The Man in Seat Sixty-One is a favorite!)
- Hotel/accommodation research
- Excursion research
- Online education for RJ and Ty
- Communication with friends/familyUpdates to blog/Facebook/YouTube
- Uploading pictures
- Uploading Ty’s vlog posts
- Possible work for Lisa
- Translations apps
- TripAdvisor (Ray has been hit and miss on suggestions from TripAdvisor, but we’re willing to give him another shot. Of course, that’s also why it’s at the bottom of the list!)
We decided on small, light, reasonably-priced computers – one Mac and one PC. Yep, we’re one of those families. Ray ended up getting an older refurbished Mac from Mac of All Trades, which has actually turned out to run better than his MacBook that he got refurbished from Apple a few years ago. I bought a Dell Laptop Inspiron 11.6″ HD Touch Screen. This will function as either a laptop or a tablet. The best part is that it weighs less than 3 pounds! We have been busy getting everything installed on our new computers and new accounts set up where we need them.
We also purchased a pocket router. Why do we need a pocket router? Good question. I am not sure that this will be needed, but considering that we will have 2 computers, 4 iPods, and a phone, we’re guessing that it might resolve some Wi-Fights. We chose the Asus WL-330NUL Pocket Router. It’s super small — approximately 2.5″ from top to bottom. It is powered from a USB on your computer and serves as an access point that shares out wired Ethernet to other devices via Wi-Fi and can also function s a wireless repeater to get Wi-Fi into places where it’s not available. It was also relatively inexpensive at $32 from Amazon.
While the computers will come in handy when we are connected to the Internet, we also thought it would be a good idea to have a phone. After a lot of research on what kind of phone would work best and what kind of plans were available, we ended up getting a fairly cheap, international unlocked phone with dual SIM slots. We also purchased an international SIM card from Telstial International that will allow us to pre-pay for phone usage. We can also add a second SIM card that is country specific if the rates are cheaper and we can pre-pay for data when we think we will need it. We are hoping this will double as a translator with downloaded language packs from Google. I’m sure I’ll have more to report on that later.
Finally, Ray and I each got a new camera. It was really time for a new camera and, as I said before, we really hope to come home with a lot of good memories. That means loads of pictures. Ray and I have never had very good luck sharing a camera and, for the most part, have always had our own. We do share pictures and have them all backed up on Dropbox.com though. We purchased a refurbished Samsung camera and a new Canon PowerShot SX600. And I have to say I LOVE the red color. We both have been playing with the cameras quite a bit and I am continually amazed at how much more these cameras can do than the ones we have from a few years ago and how much the picture quality has improved.
For the Dailey family, electronics will play a big part in our travels. But, we know that the power goes out, equipment breaks down from time to time, and nothing can take the place of a good old fashioned book. So, we will be buying a few Lonely Planet destination guides as a backup. I hope to report back along the journey that electronics have played a good part and have not gotten in the way of seeing the world around us.