Taking Gadgets Backpacking: The Pros and Cons
We live in an age where our lives are becoming increasingly dependent on the latest technology - over 88.5% of 18-34 year olds own a smartphone and by 2017 that number is predicted to rise to a good 97.5% - the majority of the population.
- 39% of the population use tablets.
- 2.5 billion people worldwide own a digital camera.
- 90% of people take their photos on a smartphone.
- Over 300 travel apps for smartphones and tablets.
- 40% of world has internet access - a number which is growing with cheaper, more widespread and easier access.
The same age bracket is also tipped by travel industry researchers as being the 'Most Likely to Spend Money on Travel' in the coming years. It's become almost a rite of passage to embark on a backpacking trip before, after or even during those few years before entering the grown-up world; most prominently across popular countries such as Asia, Australia and Europe.
But with 88.5% (and growing) of us owning smartphones and other gadgets like tablets, eReaders, music players, satnavs, and a social need to share our experiences with long-distance friends and relatives over the internet, how are we meant to take all of our technological necessities with us, not to mention fit it all in a backpack safely and without breaking our back in the process?
- For one, you'll get a lot more from your trip. With easy access to the internet, you'll be able to share your experiences quickly with those who matter, stay in contact with family and friends, find out about local sites, confirm booking details and quickly translate a few essential phrases all within a few minutes online.
- Your baggage could be lighter. If you pack well, (as in, pack your Kindle instead of the entire 3,407-page Harry Potter series, and a GPS device instead of a paper map version - which may we add, is more sensitive to the monsoon season) you can save quite a bit of money, and space if you watch what goes in to your pack. Gadgets these days are small, light, and particularly luggage-friendly so as long as you aren't intent on lugging your 19" laptop across the borders to Asia, you should be fine with packing a few technological goodies to make your life easier.
- For many of us, our gadgets are our faithful companions, filled with useful information and contacts that seem indispensable throughout our day to day UK life. Without this, it's easy access and huge amount of memory storage, it's almost impossible to remember every single important detail unless you write it down on - easily-destructible paper.
- Our reliance on gadgets is all well and good, but what happens in the event of loss, theft or damage? Not only are gadgets expensive to replace, but often the information stored on them (photos, videos, contact numbers, confirmation details) can all be irreplaceable when we're travelling abroad. If you are considering taking your gadgets away with you, make sure you also print a hard copy of all your essential digital information and pack it away in a watertight wallet or pocket - it's always good to have a back-up.
- The unseen costs. Roaming charges and similar things like essential in-app purchases can all add up to an unseen expense whilst you're away - not ideal if you're trying to budget your expenditure.
- You make yourself a target. Whilst you might be excited at the prospect of taking your GoPro with you on a safari, or other backpacking adventures, you're also advertising your wealth and valuables to potential thieves who are more likely to target you if you're constantly using gadgets and other valuable things.
If you do plan on travelling with your gadgets, it's well worth checking with your home contents insurance provider that your gadgets are covered on an 'all-risks' extension. This will ensure that should your belongings become damaged, lost or stolen, you can claim them back through your policy. Gadgets can mean a great deal to us and losing them can mean not only lost information but lost sentimental things like photos, songs and messages.