High-tech travel tips

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by Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

GMAZ interview by Scott Pasmore

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:24 AM

PHOENIX -- Technology has become such a large part of travel these days and whenever I’m headed for a road trip, I focus on the three Ps: Preparation, Power and Protection.

Preparation
Start by taking an inventory of the various items that you plan on taking with you and make sure that they are fully charged before you pack them. Determine if any of them can share a charger to minimize your load.

Maximizing battery life while you are on the road is critical, so take a few minutes to optimize your devices. Find tips to help you at DataDoctors.com

If you are traveling abroad, make sure you have enough of the right type of adapters to charge your gear. Also make sure that whatever you plan on plugging in is rated for 110/220v and 50/60Hz or pack a transformer that will convert 220v to 110v for things like curling irons and hair dryers.

If you want to watch movies or listen to new music when you don’t have an Internet connection, give yourself plenty of time to get them downloaded onto your devices. (iTunes video rentals can take a long time to download depending upon your bandwidth). Download any apps that are specific to your destination (subway and bus apps, etc.) and test them to see if they require an Internet connection or if they can be used as a stand-alone app. If you are going to a foreign country, download Google Translate and pre-load it with the common sayings that you will likely want to use. This queue of translations will then be available to you whether you have an Internet connection or not.

Screenshot from the official Word Lens demo by Quest Visual, Inc.

My absolute favorite translation app is Word Lens because it turns your smartphone into a real-time text translator. It’s great for translating menus and signs and was a life-saver in museums. Word Lens can translate German, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese and costs $4.99 per language.

Power
Keeping all your devices charged may become one of your biggest challenges, so think about how and when you plan on using each device. If you know that you will be away from a plug-in power source for long stretches of time, consider buying portable battery rechargers or spare batteries for the devices you will likely use the most (camera, smartphone, etc.).

Your hotel room will never have enough electrical outlets to charge all your devices at the same time, so pack a power strip or power adapter that includes USB ports. Make sure you bring whatever adapters are necessary to charge all your important devices from one outlet.

If all of your devices can be charged via USB cables, look for adapters that convert a single wall adapter into multiple USB chargers.

Belkin makes a really great combo travel adapter that includes 3 power outlets, 2 USB ports, surge protection and it even swivels to fit in those small spaces for $30.

If you are going to be travelling by car for long distances, make sure you have enough power outlets in the car to recharge the devices, especially if you are travelling with kids. The ReVIVE Power UP car charger has two DC ports and 2 USB ports and plugs into a standard cigarette lighter.

Protection
Your expensive electronic gadgets will always be a target for pickpockets, especially in touristy areas.

Before you leave, make sure your smartphones, tablets and laptops are setup with access passwords and make sure you install tracking apps on all of them.

Scan copies of your important items, such as IDs, passports, credit cards, itineraries, etc. and upload them to a free online storage site such as DropBox.com so you can quickly access them from your smartphone should you lose any of them.

Be careful how and what you post to social media so you don’t signal to a random thief that you aren’t home. If you want to post to Facebook, consider creating a private group of just your close friends and family to share your posts with or wait until you get back to post your memories.


Ken ColburnKen Colburn
President
Data Doctors Computer Services
Data Doctors Data Recovery Labs
Data Doctors Franchise Systems, Inc.

Host of the award-winning Data Doctors Radio Program
(www.datadoctors.com/radio)

Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DataDoctors

Get real-time updates & threat warnings via our Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/DataDoctors

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