Friday, October 29, 2010

My favorite travel gear (Part 1)

As mentioned in the previous post, I've had the privilege to hop around the globe a bit, especially this past summer.  One thing that I alluded to in my Top Five Travel Tips was the importance of having good gear.  Now, "gear" can include a whole variety of stuff, depending on the type of trip one takes. For the next few posts, I will share some of my favorite travel tools, attire and baggage, along with the general settings in which I found them useful.

One of my very favorite travel tools is my iPhone.  Here's why: it contains more helpful travel tools in a 4 inch x 2 inch package than I could carry in my backpack.  For keeping travel itinerary and reservations handy, I simply built an email file of all my confirmation messages, ready to go at a moments notice. No shuffling with paper, just tap and point.  To communicate with villagers in Cambodia, I just utilized my "I Speak Khmer" app. To figure out if I was getting a deal or getting ripped off in the market, I just opened up my currency exchange app.  I was able to keep in constant contact with folks back home through email, facebook, and my latest favorite app HeyTell.  In fact, with the latter I was able to talk to my wife almost every morning while in India, free of charge.

Now, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to traveling with an iPhone. 1) You need an international data plan.  These can be purchased at varying levels from AT&T.  They're not too bad when you consider how useful it can be. 2) You need to follow all of AT&T's directions for adjusting your phone's settings while abroad.  Warning: if you skip this, you could get a brutal phone bill. 3) iPhones are easily lifted by pickpockets.  If you will be traveling in cities, like pickpocket-capital Rome, be cautious how often you whip out your phone.  Everybody may have one over here, but it will attract a lot of attention overseas. Also, I chose to keep my phone in a hidden, zipped inner pocket inside a pocket in my pants.  Call me paranoid, but I do still have my iPhone!

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