Gadgets and accessories are indeed vital for a Flashpacker. It’s not surprising then to see many articles on the web about what are the must-have Flashpacking accessories.
Flashpacking though is not simply travelling with a huge amount of tech gadgets. I believe a Flashpacker is defined by the travelling style; even if accessories are a big help, the ideal Flashpacker is not the one with the most gadgets in the backpack. At the contrary, Flashpacking is also travelling in a comfortable (read: light) way.
The gadgets you need depends mainly on what is your “basic package” of accessories following you on your travels. For example if you have a big laptop with lot of memory you don’t necessarily need an external hard drive, or if you have an iPod you don’t necessarily need an iPhone too.
Here’s a list of gadgets that, depending on what you bring with you, you might not necessarily need.
What? A Flashpacker without a laptop?
Well, if you only need to check your emails, update your Facebook and do some minimal blogging even a good phone with a browser can simply do (see comments on What is your Flashpacking Laptop of choice?). The most known (and expensive) of all is of course the iPhone. With a toy like that you can do even quite advanced blogging tasks. Check out these .
PORTABLE HARD DRIVE
As mentioned, if you are already carrying with you a decent laptop with plenty of memory, and thanks to all online virtual back-ups you don’t necessarily need to bring with you a portable hard drive. If instead you have a netbook with little memory and an old 160GB iPod, how about bringing the iPod to listen to your 20GB of music and use the rest of the space as an hard drive?
INTERNATIONAL SIM CARD
No matter how cheap they are getting nowadays, there are still better options. If you have anything with you that connects to internet (even a PSP would do) Skype or similar VoIP services are still cheaper. If you don’t mind having few SIM cards with you and you are not visiting 20 countries in a month then a cheap option is buying a local SIM card. Prices to same-country phones calls are unbeatable and in most cases calling abroad is cheaper then with an international SIM card.
If you already have a netbook or a laptop, and your old mobile phone is still working, do you need an iPhone too? Especially if you already possess a camera and maybe an iPod to listen to your music. Definitely fashionable, but with only 16GB of memory is it the wisest choice?
Many laptops and netbooks nowadays come with a built-in card reader. Again it depends on what is your “basic package” of accessories.
Pretty handy to find out if there’s some Wireless connection available in the area. It will save you the time to drop your bags, take out and turn on your big laptop. But what if you’re using a tiny netbook or an iPhone instead? Another down side is that many of those little “keychain” wifi finder don’t distinguish between free networks and protected ones, although does.
Let’s be honest here. If you’re not going in the very middle of an inextricable jungle, or going to drive through the desert for a week, do you really need one? Is it not part of the trip getting lost in a city and in this way discover an off-the-beaten track jewel? Consider also that most mobile phones nowadays come with a GPS or at least Google Maps.
Well, I guess the bottom line is: be wise in choosing your gadgets, there’s a lot there you might not need.. It all depends on how and why you travel. After all Flashpacking is about the style, and that do means travelling comfortably as well.
But I’d like to hear from you: any useless gadgets you’ve been carrying around lately? What you think for example of water purifiers or universal adapters?