Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The one gadget every traveller should have

OK, there are a fair few things that are important when you're travelling alone. A map, for example, could be handy... something to cook with... but please bear with me when I tell you that my favourite gadget by far is my Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G.

It's only once you get out here, away from your home country and into the middle of nowhere, that you realise just how isolated you can be. Mobile telephones are fine for emergencies but you can't afford to pay for phonecalls every day and the data roaming charges are outrageous. No, the phone is confined to incoming calls only - no email, no Facebook, no blogging.

And the laptop is of course fantastic! As long as you have electricity and WiFi. No WiFi hotspot? Then it's just a fancy notepad. No electricity? A mug rest. The same with any LCD screen tablet.

But the Kindle 3G is there, it works and I love it.

Books are obviously a great thing to have - I love to read (in fact I need to be careful not to do too much of it), and it's stating the obvious to say that an eReader is a good way of transporting all the books you'll ever need in one small device. So consider that point made.

It's the 3G, however, that really brings this baby into its own. No contracts, no data roaming charges, no cost whatsoever to access the internet. From anywhere. Anywhere. I picked mine up on a business trip to the US for $89 (that's about £57) and that's all that it has ever cost me. Whether I'm in the UK, Europe or friggin' Japan, I can log onto my Gmail, I can log onto Facebook and I can publish blog posts for the enjoyment of you find people.

Don't get me wrong, it's not easy! It's clunky, slow, cumbersome... the typing can be tricky, the pages unreliable to load and the general browsing experience pretty poor. But it works! When you're all alone with no access to the information highway, it's always there. And having an eInk screen, it lasts too. You can use it constantly for hours on end and of course you'll eventually run the battery down, but it'll last ten times longer than any smart phone or internet tablet. And, unlike the laptop, it'll charge from a 12v socket in no time.

I was chatting to a Japanese guy tdoday. He has THREE mobile phone contracts just to cover all the regions of Japan. And it's hardly due to ignorance either - he's a mobile phone salesman! Of course he told me all this while I sat casually typing into Blogger with no contract at all.

So that's it, posted and done! Whether you're a big book reader or not, get one of these. Charge it once a month, switch the wireless off (to save battery) and keep it in your pocket for emergencies. Whatever other gadgets you have, however sure you are, don't go without this one backup.

No comments:

Post a Comment