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How to Protect your Gadgets when you go Backpacking

Your backpacking holiday is fast-approaching and you’re deciding what to take with you. Should you bring your brand new camera, or do you leave it at home? On the one hand, you want to take amazing photos of your trip, on the other, you’re worried about it getting damaged or stolen.
While we don’t recommend you take every gadget you own with you – are you really going to want to carry around a laptop? – you shouldn’t have to leave the important ones at home out of fear. There is plenty you can do to protect your stuff whilst you’re backpacking. Follow our tips and you shouldn’t have any issues.

Deter thieves by making yourself a hard target

Petty criminals often don’t waste their time breaking into the world’s most secure backpack. They want to get at your stuff quickly and easily, so don’t make yourself an easy mark. Start by choosing a secure backpack and consider investing in a Pacsafe eXomesh. This steel mesh is simply placed over your bag, making it difficult for anyone to force their way in.
If you’re staying in hostels, we recommend bringing a padlock with you. That way, you can secure your bag to something immobile while you sleep, such as your bed. Don’t leave any of your gadgets unattended if possible.
Taking a fancy DSLR? Avoid storing it in a dedicated camera bag. These are targeted by thieves as they know that something valuable is inside. Instead, keep all of your gadgets in your main bag, at the very bottom if possible. That way, if someone does manage to get into your bag, they won’t be able to quickly grab your most valuable possessions.
Never place your phone in your pocket, even if you only intend to keep it there for a minute. It’s all too easy to forget it’s there. By the time you do remember, someone could have snatched it.

Research the area

Whether you’re planning to explore South East Asia or travel across South America, research the areas you are going to. Doing so will not only tell you how safe the country is, but whether there are any local scams to look out for.
You can also check what the weather will be like and think about what activities you’d like to do. For example, if you fancy driving a dune buggy, will you need to worry about protecting your gadgets from the sand? If you’re hiking up Mount Everest, how will your electronics cope with the cold?
It may take time, but researching will allow you to prepare for your trip properly and protect your gadgets accordingly.

backpacker with gadget travelling

Don’t let your gadgets get too hot or cold

It’s all too easy to forget about your gadgets while you’re topping up your tan on a beautiful beach in Thailand, but leaving your phone or eReader in the sun can do serious damage. In cold conditions, keeping your gadgets warm is just as important.
If your electronics do overheat or freeze, don’t panic. The best thing to do is to let them naturally return to room temperature. Whatever you do, don’t put them in the fridge or on the radiator to try and speed up the process, as you could damage them further. In most cases, your gadgets should work fine once they’ve warmed up/cooled down, but you may find the lifespan of the battery has been significantly shortened.

Buy protective cases

Even if you’re planning to keep your gadgets away from dirt, sand and water, you can’t guarantee you won’t drop it while taking a selfie or reading on the bus. Therefore, it’s a good idea to purchase protective cases for all your electronics. Ones which will do the bare minimum, such as protect the screen, can cost as little as £10, but if you need something more substantial there’s plenty that do it all.
Of course, rugged/tough cases can be expensive, so make sure you look at plenty of reviews to ensure you’re getting good value for money. It’s also probably not worth buying a case that protects your phone from sand if you’re not going anywhere near a beach or desert, so don’t fork out more than you need to.

Back up important files

Many backpackers worry about losing their camera the most (or phone if that’s what they use to take photos), as not only will their expensive gadget be gone, their precious memories will be too. That’s why it’s good to prepare for the worst case scenario. Every day (if possible), back up your photos and any other important files to an online storage system. This will naturally depend on you having an internet connection, so you may have to pop into an internet café once every couple of days.
Alternatively, you can copy your photos to a physical storage device, but you’ll need to keep said hard drive somewhere safe. Uploading via the internet is generally the safest option.

backpacker preparation

Purchase gadget travel insurance

No matter how much preparation you do, accidents happen. That’s why it’s wise to purchase adequate travel insurance with gadget cover before you go. Make sure to shop around and look at the different levels of cover on offer – you don’t want to unintentionally buy insurance that only covers you for theft and not accidents, or vice versa.
Moreover, you also don’t want to be stung by an excess that’s higher than the cost of your phone! Just like with standard travel insurance cover, the cheapest option is not always the best.
Hopefully our tips have put your mind at rest. Don’t leave that camera at home, take it with you and enjoy the thousands of memories it helps to capture during your backpacking journey. If you’d like any more backpacking-related advice, we have tons of helpful guides on our site. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us directly. We’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Further reading:
The importance of a gadget extension for Travel Insurance – Keeping your stuff safe
Taking gadgets backpacking: The Pros and Cons
Anti-Theft Travel Gadgets

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