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3 Best Digital Travel Tools For 2017

photo of man using smartphone for 3 Best Travel Tools Blog By health and travel insurance



Last year we blogged about 7 Essential Travel Items To Pack. These included walking shoes, cash, earplugs, sarong, eye mask, waterproof jacket and plastic bags.  We decided that working out what digital travel items to take was worthy of another blog! 


Deciding what technology (digital) items you need pack, and what to leave behind, can be very confusing. The result can be the best decision you’ve made or an expensive mistake.  Digital technology in particular can make or break a trip.  Memories can be recorded and shared, work and important documents can travel with you, but the devices are also often fragile, expensive, and a target for theft.


In this blog we share our recommendations for the best travel items that we think will make your trip more enjoyable and maybe even easier.




Smartphones really have changed the world and the way we communicate with each other.  We see everyday benefits from our phones such as storing important contact information, lists and calendar events.  For this reason we put smartphones at number one for essential travel gadget!


Besides those everyday uses already mentioned, your smartphone will come in handy as a camera, map, instant guidebook (thanks to Google), radio/music player, torch, and give you an emergency contact point for family and friends.  


Before you travel we recommend you take some time and get to know your phone’s capabilities, especially the camera! You will find that your phone’s camera settings are similar to a digital camera i.e. you can turn flash on and off (useful for museum shots), add location tags (great for recording memories of your trip), change pixel size, add effects etc.


Travel apps are also a great reason for taking your smartphone.  Available for download on Google Play and Apple Store, travel apps are often free or very cheap but can make a huge difference to your travel experience.  Translator apps, for example, can be life savers when in foreign countries, so too airline apps for up-to-date flight information and booking apps to find accommodation and restaurants.


We recommend you visit your phone’s service provider e.g. Vodafone, Spark, 2 degrees etc, to check what plan is best for you when travelling - you will need to ask about data & international roaming charges.  Remember that every text, call and Facebook/Instagram post will cost money!




It goes without saying that tablets are brilliant for travel with children, especially when you can download movies!  We have found that tablets are also a great travel item for any savvy traveller, more so for those with smaller smartphones and/or no laptop.  


Tablets are smaller than a laptop so can be very easy to store in a backpack or even large carry bag.  If you have no laptop then a tablet is great for checking and sending emails, documents and for making video or conference calls using VoIP systems such as FaceTime or Skype. They can be used on your trip in a similar way you use a smartphone, with some having 3G or 4G capabilities meaning you can access the web while on the road rather than having to find WiFi coverage.  You may also be able to use your phone as a mobile hotspot (to connect your tablet to the internet), but talk to your service provider about charges for doing this.


Tablets are great for taking photos and videos and often have more storage than a phone.  You can also download travel apps for your trip, and movies for those downtimes.




E-readers have made a huge change to how many of us read books.  Thanks to these little tablets we no longer need to lug heavy books in our carry bags, or leave a favourite book behind when there is no room in the luggage!  They also provide access to the libraries of the world and enable us to download many books for our trip (including guide books).  Amazon Kindles have been very reliable e-readers, and their Paperwhite models have no-glare screens, weeks of battery life, and a built-in light that doesn’t strain your eyes.


Don’t forget that you need to keep receipts of all expensive items you are taking travelling with you - for insurance purposes.  Where possible, keep these items hidden when travelling on public transport and use lockers and safes if your accommodation provides them.


Happy travels!



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