Here’s my Top 5 Tips for taking Tech on Holiday.
1. GET INSURANCE, and double-check it, and then check it again.
Being the sensible chap I am I knew it was a smart move to get Insurance, particularly as I was taking an array of pricey tech gadgets, including a £839 laptop, Kindle and my Lumia 800 phone it wasn’t something I was willing to risk.
However it’s worth reading over the small print, as the vast majority of Travel insurance caps the total payout for items value, so even though I took out £2K of insurance, I could only claim a maximum of £300/item… which is somewhat useless if the £839 laptop fell off the ferry!
Check. Double Check. Triple Check. Compare. Don’t get caught out by the small print.
2. Don’t take more than you really need.
When I went I took Laptop, Kindle and Smart phone and of course my trusty Pebble. With hindsight the Kindle went completely unused, coach was too dark (travelling at night) and unsurprisingly wandering around a cool new foreign city meant I didn’t spend much time reading, so it could have easily been left at home.
I also took my laptop, this was mostly for business reasons as I needed to always be able to get on a proper PC quickly to make sure all my servers were behaving, and of course, making some notes for blogging.
It is important however to really consider what you’re taking and what can be left behind, it may seem like a great idea when you’re packing but remember, you need to carry this stuff! Also it just adds to the risk of loss/theft and often simply isn’t worth the risk.
3. Do you really need that camera?
I am sure many would disagree with me on this point, but having a digital camera, or any camera for general snaps when you have a half-decent smart phone is just silly. A good modern smart phone can easily out perform the average cheap camera, so why bother? I haven’t owned a camera in years because my phone has a good camera and can take some incredible pictures. Keep it simple.
4. Know where you stand with your data usage!
Before I travelled I checked with my network (T-Mobile) annoyingly I was told I’d be charged £1.50/Mb and well, that’s a lot. Although it’s worth taking a deeper look, after some digging it turned out that this wasn’t the case and I was able to buy a Travel Booster, £10 for 50MB. It wasn’t enough for me to be using my phone as normal, but it gave me enough data to last the 36 hours I was in Amsterdam and allowed me to check-in, tweet and facebook as I wondered around.
5. Using cards abroad.
I usually prefer using my card than paying by cash for most things, cash is simply a pain rear, change everywhere – but a card is usually quick and easy… In the UK. Unfortunately when overseas it can end up landing you with some hefty transaction fees and conversion rates so it’s worth checking with your bank/card provider what the costs are.
I found that the costs for withdrawing month and potential card fees were just too much, so I opened for the old-fashioned method – convert a lump sum to Euros before I travelled. This was a good way to go, no fees and meant I knew exactly how much I was spending – I’d have spent a LOT more had I not done this.