I write this article in the hope that there will be backpacking options again, once the Corona virus crisis ends, post-pandemic. But for now I am stuck at home, pondering on what might be in the future, whilst also reminiscing on what has gone before. It was a weird and wonderful backpacking world I led for a few years.
Along that backpacking journey, I relied on many gadgets to help me get by, and to help make life easier for travelling. Here are just a few of those gadgets, that may come in useful later on in life.
Yes, yes a watch is more important than an alarm on your bleeding phone! Why? Because a watch is always on your body, the battery lasts for years, it has the correct time, an alarm and takes 1 second to check even in the rain. When you are on that hike you can use the watch without needing any electricity to charge things. On my 4 day Inca Trail in 2010, I loved having my watch. I could also use it at points to track how long it took me to reach certain milestones, and without having to press buttons or turn a phone on.
These days, watches can do a lot more you can check out the benefits of a modern smart watch on cool sites such as https://www.smartwatches4u.com/ that way you can still be up to date with the latest in technology but still have the traditional watch. Smart Watches of course have the additional use these days as being very beneficial for your health. Years ago, the Nike+ iPod kit came on, then there were all sorts of apps for runners and joggers. But the simplest and best way is to have a Smart Watch to help with all of this. It can track so many health related things these days. For a start, you can monitor every step you take that day. You can track your route on GPS and it will be exact. No discrepancies as the Smart Watch is always on you. This cannot be said about a mobile phone, which may not be always with you. The Smart Watch can also track your body’s data. This can be used to monitor sleep patterns, heart beat, sweat and all kinds of sensor data. The advancements in technology mean that a Smart Watch is one of the easiest modern gadgets to use, given that you are always wearing it.
If you followed my stories down the years you might know that I have had 7 or 8 different laptops in my time. I go through them fast and they always break eventually, losing me lots of data, time and money. Still, I couldn’t do my job as a professional travel blogger without them, so a laptop is essential and do choose it wisely, you can use the helps of sites like https://laptopunboxed.com/. I have all my photos and data stored on my laptop and I love sitting in a Wi-Fi cafe blogging away to my heart’s content. The cheap ones break fast and the worst ones are always Apple computers. Apple still owe me thousands of pounds.
3.A Bottle Opener / Corkscrew
Sometimes it is the small and simple gadgets that we neglect. I always carry a bottle opener. My teeth don’t cut it, it’s not always easy to open a bottle on a crowded bus and for wine bottles a corkscrew is definitely a good idea. As a lover of a beer on the road, it’s a great thing to carry – and also a conversation starter when someone else you backpack with doesn’t have one – you can open their beer for them and blag a free sip.
4.A Digital Camera
Yes, I still carry my digital camera, it is a Lumix. Many fellow tourists believe that a Smart Phone is all you need but I disagree. Firstly, my digital camera is ONLY for photos and videos. That makes it simple and easy to use for those two things only. It means I don’t have to charge it all the time, use it constantly or carry it everywhere. Plus it can store much more memory than a phone which is always clogged up and asking me to delete photos. Another big advantage is my camera is totally waterproof. I dove in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Utila with it. No way could I use my mobile phone for that – it would break as soon as it entered the water.
5.A Northern Ireland Flag (or your country’s flag)
This might sound wacaday and not even classed as a “gadget” to some of you but by carrying one flag around the world with me for 17 years, I have saved so much space in my backpacks and so much time and money on other things. This single travelling Northern Ireland flag has been used in all of these ways down the years:
- A tablecloth
- A curtain
- A scarf
- A head bandana
- A towel
- A shet to hold up while changing clothes behind it on a beach
- A beach mat to lie on
- To show support for a football team
- To represent a team in a tournament
- A flag – the Northern Ireland flag incidentally!
So those are just five quick gadgets I recommend for your trip. Safe travels!