Here’s what I choose to travel with. Like most people, my collection travel tech gear has been built up over time, and so it doesn’t completely reflect what I’d choose again today if I had to. (Here is a link to the list of my ultimate travel tech gear.)
Computer and Phone
Like many travelers these days, my primary travel computer is an 11-inch MacBook Air. The MacBook Air is perfect for travel because it is affordable, small, lightweight, and has an all-day battery life. My MacBook Air is protected with a generic hard case. Whist traveling, I carry it in a relatively lightweight sleeve, the Moshi Muse. A Moshi ClearGuard Keyboard Protector protects the keyboard from accidental spills. (And yes, I love Moshi products!)
Given my use of the MacBook Air, it would probably come as no surprise then that I travel with an iPhone 5s and iPad Mini. If I’m traveling #iPadOnly, I pack a Zagg ZAGGkeys FLEX external keyboard. It is relatively small, lightweight, has an excellent battery life, and works with both Android and iOS devices.
Power Strip and Adapter
I used to think a power strip would be either too big and/or heavy to travel with. These days the convenience it provides means it is one of the first things to go in my luggage. The Jackson Industries PT2USB power strip is specifically designed for travel, and is well worth the extra money compared to a generic power strip. The PT2USB can charge up 4 devices at once, and has a cord that wraps around the board for easy storage. It also has a convenient carrying case. Unfortunately (for international readers), it is designed for the Australian socket only.
In researching my books, I purchased several innovative charging cables, including the Innergie MagiCable which combines a Lightning and Micro-USB charge and sync cable. I also recently bought the Targus Aluminum Series 2-in-1 Lightning & Micro USB Weave Cable that charges either Android or Apple devices and supports fast charges (2.4Amp). As a woven cable, it is also more durable than the standard Apple Lightning cable. Speaking of cable strength, I purchased a device similar to the Fray Fix in order to protect my existing Apple cables. I’ve not seen many of these in tech stores, but I found mine at an airport travel goods store. I instantly bought three given that for a few dollars I’m going to protect a $30 cable that has a reputation for breaking. (I’ve got two others that are already broken.)
Because they’re tiny (10 cm long), I also have the Griffin USB-mini Cable Kit. Unfortunately, they don’t have set with a Lightning cable for newer Apple devices. For that purpose, I have one of Apple’s Micro-USB To 8-Pin Lightning Adapters that can convert a micro-USB cable into a Lightning cable. There are heaps of innovative charge and sync cables available these days, many of which are perfect for the special needs of travelers.
I have several external batteries I’ve bought over time, including the HyperJuice Mini. These days I would likely purchase an Anker battery because their innovative features, premium quality, and Anker’s great customer service. Also, Anker batteries have an 18 month warranty, which is almost unheard of for external batteries. Anker batteries are one of the few brands to receive consistently high ratings across their product lines on Amazon.com.
For regular AA batteries which power some of my devices, I use Eneloop rechargeable batteries paired with their tiny, lightweight USB AA Battery charger. I can recharge the Eneloop batteries via the power strip, or a USB port of my computer. Eneloops are a premium, high capacity battery. Depending upon the model, they can be recharged up to 1,500 times, and hold 75% of their capacity even with 3 years of non-use. I purchased the Glitter style, however, they were a limited edition, and are now very difficult to find at a reasonable price.
For flash drives, I travel with a Patriot 64GB Supersonic Rage Series USB 3.0 Flash Drive. I also use SanDisk microSD cards inside a tiny USB card reader from ADATA. I encrypt any personal data on the flash drives using an innovative little device called CipherUSB. CipherUSB turns any USB storage device into an encrypted drive. Instead of buying expensive flash drives, you can encrypt as many ordinary flash or external hard drives as you like all for the price of one CipherUSB. In order to break into your flash drive, the bad guy would need to have your CipherUSB with its unique passcode. Otherwise, if you insert the flash drive without the CipherUSB into a computer, it will appear to be empty.
For a replacement hard drive, I recently purchased the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive. It’s small, lightweight, has a generous storage capacity, and is very reasonably priced. The hard drive also comes with 200GB of free Microsoft OneDrive storage for cloud backup.
For SD card readers I have a Kingston Digital MobileLite G4 USB 3.0 Multi-Function Card Reader. It has very solid construction and is fast, however, it is certainly neither light nor small. The size is a problem if you’re going to put it into a computer or other device that has USB ports next to each other. I wanted a high-speed, quality USB card reader that was backed by a reputable manufacturer (in case it failed and I needed a replacement.) I use a generic $2 USB card reader for use in public or shared computers where the chance of it being damaged is likely to be higher.
My headphones are just an inexpensive set of JBuds J2 Premium Hi-FI Noise Isolating Earbuds that I picked up a long time ago. They’re comfortable, and provide a decent sound quality at a fair price. I use an inexpensive Belkin headphone splitter if I’m traveling with a companion.
After researching EMF radiation and mobile devices, I decided to buy some Air Tube headphones to use for Skype or mobile phone calls. Instead of having a completely wired connection to the ear buds, from about half way up, there’s a hollow tube of air. The idea is that with normal headphones, even though your head is away from your mobile device, the wired headphones can actually act as an antenna. What that means is that the headphones can instead concentrate and increase the amount of electromagnetic radiation going into the side of your head. The sound is definitely not as good with Air Tubes, however, I just use them for Skype or mobile phone calls. Also, when I’m listening to music or audio on a mobile device using regular headphones, I make sure the device is in Airplane Mode. While I’m not a health professional, the videos I saw of the EMR levels emitted by various mobile devices was enough to convince me to take some precautions and change my workflows.
You can find a lot of different models of Air Tube headphones at Amazon.com. Some are very expensive while others are not so much, even though they all seem to work in the same way. You’ll also notice that there’s very mixed reviews for most of these types of product, in particular that they tend to fail. For this reason I treat mine with extreme care (particularly when wrapping them) to ensure the best chance of longevity.
Wireless USB Hub Wi-Fi Device
I travel with a multi-purpose wireless USB device called the iUSBPort. Using the IUSBPort you can turn a wired Internet connection into a wireless connection by plugging an ethernet connector into the iUSBPort. You can simultaneously share that Internet connection with several devices. This is great for hotels where you otherwise have to per user for Internet access.
Also, using the device, you can stream media like movies, audiobooks or music from any flash drive you connect to it to up to five smartphones or tablets. That means you don’t need to store large files like movies on your mobile device. Finally, iUSBPort also has an internal battery that you can use to give most smartphones almost a full recharge. For some travelers, this may mean they can leave their external battery at home.
I have an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid for my Mac, and it is brilliant. Paired with an Apple Remote (although it doesn’t work with MacBook Air), I can watch or record live TV on my Mac. I liked it so much I bought the Tivizen from the same company. The Tivizen allows you to watch or record live TV on an iPhone or iPad. You simply turn on the device and then search for it in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi settings. Then you’re ready to watch TV. You can also record TV programs to watch later offline. Where it works, it works well. However, sometimes it doesn’t work, even in major cities. Yet it works fine where I’ve been living in the remote countryside. Go figure. I expect that accounts for some of the mixed reviews you find online for the Tivizen. Its probably the same reason you can pick them up for only a few dollars on eBay, too.