Going off-grid is great – except when it comes to securing your on-the-road arsenal against the rigours of real-world roaming.
With traveller-friendly tech aplenty – from the water-beating Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, to the ludicrously lightweight MacBook Air – filling the metaphorical shelves of a dreamt-up duty free store, the toughest test for modern globetrotters is keeping that cornucopia of shiny stuff safe and serviceable.
Fear not, though, for Modern Traveller is no stranger to the struggles of lugging valuable hardware on the road. Here are MT‘s 15 travel kit essentials for the connected jet-setter.
Lock it down
1. Luggage padlocks
Prevention is better than cure, and there’s no better pre-emptive measure than the humble lock. You can do worse than this set of two small-but-smart keyed padlocks from LifeVenture: weighing just 40g each, they’re fitted with TSA tech – meaning baggage inspectors can check your luggage without snipping through your security measures.
2. Laptop locks
From sack security to laptop locks, strapping down your treasured computing companion when you travel can be a deft deterrent against would-be snatchers. Tryten’s Laptop Lock Pro does just that, hooking into your laptop’s security slot with its anti-pick keyed head. Loop the aircraft-grade cable around a nearby heavy object and you’ve got yourself some pocketable peace of mind.
3. Door locks
Concerned about keeping unwanted companions out of your quarters (and their sweaty mitts off your goods)? LifeVenture’s Travel Door Lock is a nifty bit of kit constructed from nothing more than reinforced nylon, which slots between the door and its frame to keep it tightly shut. Tamper-proof and thoroughly straightforward, its a no-brainer for safety-conscious travellers.
Back it up
4. Leave-at-home external hard drive
Preparing for the worst before you fly away might feel like tempting fate, but keeping a back-up in the bank is no bad practice. Pair something like Western Digital’s Red 1TB hard drive (which benefits from SilkStream smarts and unrivalled longevity – think one million hours “mean time to failure”) with a caddy, such as Xenta’s sleek and solid bay (which keeps impressively cool, courtesy of a brushed aluminium build), for a compact external solution.
5. On-the-go external hard drive
Once you’re on the road, you’ll want to keep second copies of those travel snaps – and, where there isn’t Wi-Fi for cloud doubles, a pocket-sized hard drive is the perfect choice. Pick up a portable back-up buddy – such as the Touro Mobile MX3 – and pair it with a cushioned case for a secure solution for storing far-flung selfies. Which case? MT recommends Mudder’s anti-shock carry bag.
Cut the chords
6. Wireless USB flash drive
Seeing can be stealing, so it’s best to keep your kit out of site – by going wire-free. SanDisk’s Connect Wireless Stick is a Wi-Fi enabled flash drive that your tech can talk to, without a wire in sight. Simply charge it via a spare USB slot, switch on its local network and connect your kit for some smart space-saving. Happy-snappers can even set the smartphone app to automatically back-up photos to the stick.
7. Wireless SD card
From one cable-less contraption to another, EyeFi’s Mobi Pro SD card can equip almost any camera with wireless smarts. It’s as easy as registering the card and installing the app: before you know it, your sunny shots will be shimmying over. The card has its own local network, or you can connect it to Wi-Fi for automatic transfers, stress-free.
8. Bluetooth earphones
Opting for unattached buds might sound like easy pickings for any unlawful audiophiles on the prowl, but it also ensures you won’t be waving goodbye to any tech connected to the other end. Anker’s SoundBuds deliver a range of more than 60 feet, as well as IPX4 water-resistance (good for sweaty splashes) and 8 hours of playing time from a single charge. Sounds good to MT.
Block the rays
9. RFiD-blocking wallet
Whether you carry a cash card or pack your domestic plastic, contactless crime is becoming ever more common – or so we’re told. Protect yourself from modern-day Fagins when you’re far from home with an RFiD-blocking wallet. With plenty of slots and a pocket-friendly profile, LifeVenture’s nylon Pocket Wallet is an affordable option.
Keep it juiced
10. Battery booster
Don’t risk a dead device: it might be your only friend if your situation turns sticky. But how to beat the bulk of back-up batteries? PlusUs’ LifeCard is a wallet-friendly phone charger that packs 1500mAh of boost in the space of a standard credit card, delivered by microUSB or lightning, which should more than see your smartphone through a day away from the plug.
11. USB Travel Adapter
When you make it to the wall, there’s nothing worse than being caught short on the pins. Put paid to travel adapter drama with LifeVenture’s USB Travel Charger. It converts to and from UK, European, American and Australian plugs, which should see you covered for most of the globe – and there’s a nifty USB slot for gadget-boosting, too.
Wrap it up
12. Waterproof phone case
Whether you’re kayaking round the Cayman Islands or visiting Vietnam in the rainy season, an aqua-phobic home for your phone is no wet fish. Inateck’s aptly named and reasonably priced Waterproof Case fits most devices with up to 5.7in screen sizes, offering IPX8 water-resistance (read: submersion for up to 30 minutes) whilst maintaining easy touchscreen access.
13. Laptop sleeve
So you’ve made the brave decision to bring your laptop along for your long-haul adventure. But how to protect your pride and joy as you pace foreign pavements? Acme Made Skinny Sleeves – for MacBooks and other appropriately sized notebook computers – are some of the more stylish shields around, offering ultra-thin StretchShell padding that’s both water- and stain-resistant, yet surprisingly slim: perfect for light relief.
Hold it close
14. Security belt
Not the most stylish of additions, but one that might just save you precious pennies (if making them a little sweatier): wear GoTravel’s shoulder security wallet under a shirt for a subtle solution to pick-pocket problems. Sure, if you pack the pouch with your phone, cash and keys it’ll make a noticeable mound – but those of bad intentions will have to get through your clothes before any chance of making off with the goods.
15. Disguised container
Heading to the beach? Don’t risk tech-gone-walkabout: stow your phone, camera and collective valuables in a smartly disguised container. The TanSafe bottle offers just such a space for stowing your prized gadgets and gizmos, hidden behind the visage of a factor-25 sun cream. With a 16 x 7.4cm internal compartment, there’s room for a fair few possessions, meaning you can hit the waves without worry.
WORDS BY CHRIS ROWLANDS