Just because your travels as a student are likely to be conducted in a minimalist fashion, it doesn't mean that you can't still enjoy the benefits of technology; whether you're intending to go backpacking, enjoy a gap year, or just embark on a short trip during a break in your studies. Indeed, if the right gadgets are selected by discerning travellers, your time abroad can be made considerably easier, as they are often able to provide functionality that you would be otherwise missing.
For better or for worse, the days where backpacking involved cramming chunky or unfit-for-purpose technology and apparel into an ill-fitting bag, then lugging the resulting, excessively bulky deadweight around the world with you, are long gone. Many hardened veterans of such trips may argue that modern gadgetry and technology have robbed backpacking and gap years of their former challenge and character building aspects, but that would arguably be missing the point; travellers can now spend more of their trip actually enjoying themselves!
We've compiled a list below of some of the most interesting and useful travel gadgets for students about to dive into a gap year, or for those about to set off on a backpacking holiday.
Portable solar charger
This kind of gadget is ideal for those who intend to spend large portions of their excursion in the great outdoors; it's difficult enough to find electricity, let alone a plug socket, when you're halfway up a mountain trail, or wandering through the jungle. When you want to take a photo of the astonishing view you have found, this can be inconvenient, but if you're using a GPS device to navigate it can become an even more pressing problem!
Portable solar chargers aim to solve this problem, providing the means to charge travel gadgets while backpacking light. Available in a wide array of shapes and sizes, these devices make it extremely easy to keep the electronic gadgets you've brought with you running... just make sure that you're going somewhere with nice weather!
Plug socket adaptor
Of course, should you find yourself travelling in more urban areas during your gap year you'll be able to simply plug your devices into the mains when they require charging. That is, of course, if you have the correct variety of plug, to fit the particular plugs utilised by the country or region in which you're currently travelling. Plug socket adaptors are therefore extremely useful to have around, allowing you to charge your devices regardless of the plug specification of your current location; and they're also normally very easy to store.
Indestructible mobile phone
If you don't mind leaving your smartphone at home and going without some of their more advanced features, there's a range of phones available on the market that are able to take whatever long-term gap year travel can throw at them. The Land Rover S2, for example, may sound like a car, but is in fact a phone that's built like a tank. Designed to afford extra protection against any mishaps that adventurers or explorers may have, such phones should be more than up to facing the potential hazards of a gap year or backpacking trip! With such a phone you can be assured of being able to phone home regardless of the situation; whether it's wet, dry, or you've fallen down the stairs with the phone in your pocket. Similarly reinforced MP3 players and cameras can also be readily found, and may be worthy of consideration should the idea of a reinforced mobile phone also appeal to you.
UV light monitor
Considering the amount of people who enjoy catching some rays while on holiday, this particular travel gadget can be a god send. UV light monitors can allow you to keep an eye on the levels of sunlight that you're exposing yourself to; giving you a chance to cover up or grab some shade before you start to feel the burn. Many also feature an alarm function to ensure that the sun doesn't sneak up on you while you're asleep! The last thing you want during your gap year travel is sunburn and all the unpleasantness that comes with it, and these easy to use travel devices are the simplest way to avoid sunburn outside of a constant coating of sun cream.
This is a bit of a no brainer in many ways, but the ability to combine a number of useful or essential functions into one wrist mounted device is extremely useful to someone who will be both frequently on the move, and travelling light. You'll want to be able to easily tell the time, and utilise some kind of alarm function, but you may also be interested in other features; some wrist mounted devices feature Bluetooth connectivity with phones, allowing for texting or calls to be made on the go, while others contain thermometers, depth gauges, barometers and GPS features. In essence, whatever activities you intend to partake in during your trip can be supplemented or enhanced by such a device, so it's definitely worth having a look around for the one that both suits your needs the most; or best suits the limits of your funding.
Versatile travel camera tripods
While not necessarily at the top of the list of essential items to take on a gap year or backpacking trip, a camera tripod can seriously enhance the quality of the photographs that you take while abroad, and also aid in the taking of souvenir photos in front of particularly exciting vista or locations, should there be no one around to take the snaps for you at the time. These lightweight travel tripods are small and easy to pack and transport around, while also providing some useful additional functionality. Some, for example, come equipped with Velcro straps to allow them to be easily affixed to trees or other vertical structures, to better achieve the perfect photo when no one is around to assist you.
... but don't forget the safety net!
The gadgets detailed above will make your trip both less stressful and more entertaining; the only real downside of taking such advanced or cleverly designed gadgets away with you is the danger that they will be lost, damaged or stolen. Of course, the best way to assuage such doubts and better enjoy your time away is to take out comprehensive insurance on such gadgets; and in doing so ensure that you can confidently use said gadgets as much as you want or need to.
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