Okay so you've got everything packed right? Clothes, toothbrushes, 3 pairs of sunglasses, 45 pairs of socks and enough sunscreen to drown an elephant. You've got keys, tickets for the flight/concert/event, and you've turned off the stove (right?). But wait! You left your phone charger at home and now that 9 hour flight is going to be a heck of a lot longer. Well, hopefully that doesn't happen to you but to help you remember, here are 5 things that you can use to make sure you're technologically prepared for a trip.
1. Backup to the cloud
While you’re jet setting around, relaxing on a beach or hiking your way to freedom, your tech is always going to be exposed to a level of risk. This might range from accidentally leaving your laptop at a cafe to having it stolen from your bag, but either way the problem is the same - your data is now gone. If you’ve backed up your devices to the cloud you’ll be able to access your files easily and securely from anywhere.
Bonus tip: Scan or save important documents like itineraries and passports to the cloud.
2. Pack the right cables
Begging random strangers for a loan of their cable isn’t much fun, so remember to bring the exact cables and chargers you’ll need. Most smartphones and tablets use universal plugs like Micro USB, USB C or Apple Lightning, so you can get away with spreading cables around. A good rule of thumb is to pack at least one cable per 2 people or devices. However if you or your family is on their phones a lot, you may want to make sure everyone has their own cables. Many locations now offer powered USB ports but be sure to also pack the right charger as well, it’s a convenience you’ll appreciate. If you’re traveling overseas and the socket is different, remember to pack a plug converter, and depending on your destination, you might even find the voltage is different. It’s a good idea to check whether you also need a voltage converter before you try and charge.
For mobile devices, something else to consider is grabbing a mobile battery pack. These devices are designed to hold enough power to fully recharge a smartphone 2-3 times and they easily fit inside a backpack or other carry-on. These can help immensely in areas where there just isn't any power available.
3. Download offline data
It’s no secret that global roaming can give nasty bill shocks. The easy access data you normally use over WiFi or get included in your cell plan has us all accustomed to being connected. While traveling, you might find yourself in a location where data costs a fortune or it’s not available at all. Download any files you might need, including important documents like itineraries and bookings, so that you can access them even without a connection.
4. Update and scan
Just like you’d make sure you’ve got the right vaccinations and travel gear, make sure your tech is ready to travel too. Set aside a few minutes to run updates for your operating systems and apps, as well as your anti-virus. Go one step further and run a manual anti-virus scan too. The last thing you want to deal with on your trip is a cyber attack! While you’re doing your pro-active thing, turn on password protection for all devices so that only you can unlock them and use a complex password that is hard for thieves to guess..
Bonus tip: Avoid WiFi hotspots in unfamiliar areas and never connect to one that doesn't require a password. Many hotspots do not properly segment the people connected to it which allows that shady looking guy around the corner of the coffee shop your in to potentially attack your device. This issue has gotten better over the last few years but is still a problem, especially in foreign countries.
5. Mark your territory
Almost exactly the way it sounds, let everyone know this tech belongs to you. Write your cell number on portable devices in case you get separated so whoever finds it can give you a quick call and save the day. Don’t want to use permanent marker on your shiny tech? Grab some sticky labels you can peel off when you get home.
Similarly, you might like to consider enabling the ‘find my feature on Apple devices. Having this feature switched on also means you can disable your device remotely, an excellent security option if it’s been stolen.
Bonus tip: Another tip to help track down and locate all of your items, not just tech, is to invest in some Bluetooth tracking devices like TrackR. These little devices can be attached to just about anything and, using a smartphone app, allow you to see the real-time location of whatever they're attached to. A fantastic way to make sure you don't have things running off on you and, if you forget something someplace, makes it easy to find it.