Choosing Electronics for My RTW Trip

Whenever I travel, packing is always an issue – especially with a trip this size. As I mentioned on my RTW to-do list, one of the issues I’m been struggling with is choosing which electronics to bring with me for my RTW trip.

There are so many new and helpful gadgets out there – the trouble is figuring out which ones will be helpful and which one are just going to be a burden (literally).

The Contenders:

Digital Camera -I already own a digital camera, but its not that great since I bought it second hand in Cambodia after I dropped my other one off a temple at Angkor Wat.

iPad- I own an iPad 2 which I’ve brought with me on trips before and enjoyed it. While it’s great for browsing the internet, its impossible to blog with and tedious for emailing.

iPhone - I already own an iPhone 4, but the camera is broken. I’m up for an upgrade, but I’m not sure I want to get a brand new phone right before the trip and risk loosing it.

Netbook- I own a netbook from a couple of years ago. It’s light weight and somewhat small but the screen is really small and the keyboard is awkward.

Kindle- I don’t own a kindle, but I’m interested in its long battery life and light weight.  However, since the iPad can also be an e-reader, it seems kind of redundant. I read a ton when I travel, and hauling around books is a pain, so I’m interested in a device to help out.

Macbook Air- I don’t own a mac book air, but it’s ideal for traveling since its light weight and thing. Plus it has a large easy to use screen and normal sized keyboard. Sadly, its about $1000 which would eat into my trip budget.

Obviously I can’t bring all of this. It would require it’s own rather large backpack and I would risk loosing a electronics store worth of devices if I was robbed.

The key for me was determining what functionality I was looking for and make sure that my gadgets were meeting my needs with minimal overlap.

So what do I need?

  • A music player with headphone jack (iPad, iPhone, Netbook, Mac Book Air)
  • A camera to take pictures and video (iPhone (maybe), Digital Camera)
  • An e-reader (iPad, Kindle)
  • Quick Internet Browsing and email(iPad, iPhone)
  • Photo Storage (net book, Macbook Air)
  • Blogging (net book, Macbook Air)
  • Long Battery Life (kindle)
  • Light Weight (iPhone, Kindle, Macbook Air, Netbook)
  • Cost Effective (iPhone, iPad, netbook)
  • Easy to use (iPad, Macbook Air)
  • Shiny (Macbook Air ) ….okay maybe this one isn’t exactly a necessity.

The debate essentially came down to either 1)Take the electronics I already own, which may not work as well, and save money or 2)Buy new gadgets, which will be a lot more effective, and spend some of my trip budget.

After a lot more consideration than I’d like to admit, I finally broke down and spent the money. This is what I decided to bring:

  1. iPhone (.3lbs) - Takes pretty good pictures and video. Easy to carry around in a day pack to quickly check Internet at cafes for last minute research and bookings. Good for listening to music.
  2. Kindle (.47lbs) - Very light weight with a battery life of one monthCan store hundreds of books.
  3. MacBook Air (2.96lbs) - Great for picture storage and blogging. Big, easy to use screen and keyboard. Only 2.5 lbs. Very Shiny.
  4. Digital Camera (.4lbs) - For when the iPhones 5mega pixels just won’t cut it.

Total Weight: ~4.5lbs

So yes, I had to acquire the Macbook Air and the Kindle. Luckily, I brought my iPhone in to get the camera fixed, expecting the worst, and the repair cost was only $30.

This is my first time traveling with this kind of electronics brigade and I’m a little nervous. I worry it will be to heavy or that I’ll constantly be worried about leaving my computer places. Hopefully all will go well.

Now…I should probably bring an adapter.

What electronics do you travel with? Do you think I’m bringing too much?

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4 Responses to Choosing Electronics for My RTW Trip

  1. memographer says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of thinking…

    I am easy on electronics. I take my little GRUNDIG radio, which works 7 days non-stop on two AA batteries, an old cellphone (without a web browser), which also can work for 7 days without recharging, and a photo camera with one 24-70 lens.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Well…I’m planning to keep the blog up which will require a lot more gadgetry than I normally travel with.

  2. We decided to trade in our 2-year old 13″ MacBook towards a MacBook Air as well, which we are really loving. Because Tony will still be doing design work as we travel, it was critical that he had a computer that had enough processing power, and we’ll appreciate having it when it comes to editing photos as well. We couldn’t justify bringing two computers, however, so I am getting used to doing as much blogging/writing/reading as I can on our iPad (first generation). I kind of hate it for blogging, but we did buy a case that has a bluetooth keyboard in it that has made that process a lot less painful.

    Apart from those things, we are also going to bring 1 Sony ereader, 1 Nokia cell phone, 2 ipods, and 3 cameras (but we intend to do some pretty intensive photography). All of this stuff fits in our daypacks, so although we aren’t doing the whole minimalist thing when it comes to electronics, we are happy with the balance we have struck.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Sounds like you will be traveling with just as many devices as I am! But, it does sound like you have also put in a lot of thought.

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