Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit – Found in Space
Though the geek inside me wants to do otherwise, I ultimately need to concede that there’s a limit to the number of gadgets I can bring. Inevitably, there are moments when one of those precious items becomes a lifesaver. Every item has a purpose but the limits of space and weight eventually take hold. So in the interest of space/weight efficiency, and after years of traveling the globe, here’s my list of core items in my Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit. The list continues to evolve, though.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #1 – Unlocked International Cell Phone
Having an unlocked international cell phone has been invaluable. One of our first stops in every country is to purchase local prepaid cell service.
It’s significantly less expensive than attempting to use international roaming on our AT&T service at US$10 per day. Ideally, your phone will have global 4G/LTE compatibility with a 3G fallback.
There’s no immediate need for 5G (just yet) as it will take a few years for most countries to deploy this next-generation network. Android phones are lower cost than Apple iPhone, can add more memory and are more flexible roaming on international networks. I
view 64GB of memory as a minimum to fit all the applications I need. My current phone is a Moto G-Power on Android 11 which does an outstanding job at a very reasonable price point with outstanding battery life.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #1 – Laptop Computer
For travel, you want to choose a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD) which makes it more rugged for surviving the bumps of travel (minimum 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM). Watch for deals on the computer company websites; there are often excellent machines available in the US$500 – US$600 range. Today’s mid-tier processors are fast with excellent battery life. Laptops based on the AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 are excellent choices. I currently use a Lenovo IdeaPad Flex laptop with a touch screen display. Choose wisely, as this will become your workhorse for managing life on the road.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #3 – Tablet
Originally I used my tablet as a laptop replacement with a case/keyboard combo which actually worked out fine for basic computing. My Samsung Tab A 8.0 has evolved into primarily an eReader for my iBooks/Kindle libraries. Since it synchronizes with my cell phone applications, it also helps when I need to give my eyes a rest with its larger screen.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #4 – Dual Voltage Multi-Outlet USB Chargers
though all device charging units are now dual-voltage it’s still handy to have an international power adapter with multiple USB connections.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #5 – Spare USB Charging Cables
These eventually wear out. We like having longer cables when charging next to the bed so I carry these 6’ (2m) long spares.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #6 – Rechargeable USB Batteries
We work our mobile devices hard so having the ability to recharge on the go is critical. We have two hefty 10,000mAh batteries where each has enough energy to charge both of our phones.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #7- HDMI Cable
Streaming our favorite movies and TV shows while traveling is great.
Our laptop acts in a dual role by easily connecting with an HDMI cable to a flat-screen TV that has a spare HDMI input.
Unfortunately, there are some streaming services that limit what countries you can do this.
Sometimes you can trick the system by connecting to a VPN server based in the USA.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #8 – AC Wall Outlet Adapters
I carry a variety of global AC adapters. It’s also handy to have a couple of 3-prong to 2-prong AC adapters when a wall outlet requires it. Many older buildings have limited power outlets where I use a 1 foot 3-outlet power strip when needed.
Expat Travel Tech Tool-Kit Item #9 – Multipurpose Tool
(Leatherman Wingman): This has been invaluable so many times I’ve lost count. It has needle-nose pliers, screwdrivers, knife, can-opener and scissors, all of which I have eventually put to use during travel. This absolutely must go in checked luggage when traveling through airports. I would be miserable if this was confiscated at airport security.
Home is wherever we happen to be at the time, so it’s important to have the tools needed to live everyday life. Share with us what items help you live the expat life!
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by: Michael Wagner