The Scrubba Blog

Travelling with Technology

by Sam Stephens |

We're getting ready to launch our latest product, the Scrubba air sleeve for laptop protection, and we want to hear from you! To get a first glimpse of Scrubba air sleeve photos and videos and to have your influence on its final design, please contribute to our short survey. A link will also be provided at the conclusion of the blog. 

As we consider your feedback and keep moving forward with Scrubba air sleeve development, we thought we’d talk a bit about the practicalities of technology when it comes to travel. This topic has been of such recent interest to us not only because of our latest product, but also because the question that seems to be on every travellers' lips these days, "Should I travel with technology and, if so, what kind?" continues to return near infinite responses! More than just a little confused, we here at Scrubba HQ finally decided to put our heads together in an attempt to share our own advice on the world of tech-travel. 

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The prototype Scrubba air sleeve

 

To tech-travel, or not to tech-travel:

Although our portable devices may irritate us from time to time, most of us have gradually accepted the fact that we just can’t live without them, and indeed it sometimes feels as though our entire lives are stored neatly behind those glossy screens tucked away in our bags and pockets. This can present a bit of a conundrum when it comes to travel: On the one hand, we want the convenience, social connection, and immediate entertainment that tech bestows; on the other, we worry about losing said tech (and the information that helps run our daily lives), damaging it on a bumpy journey, or having it stolen. 

These anxieties might be enough to persuade you to leave your valuables behind for your next big trip, but we recommend that you carefully weigh up your options before reaching that decision. After all, if there’s no doubt that travelling with technology can be worrisome, there’s even less doubt surrounding that same technology’s convenience and practicality. Take it from the avid travellers over at Jetlag Jerry, who certainly know a thing or two about travelling with tech and were kind enough to share their experience with us:   

I always travel with multiple USB or portable disc drives for a few reasons. If you’re working remotely, it’s important to back up your stuff if something goes wrong, like your laptop breaking or getting stolen. I also make digital copies of legal documents (passport, relevant visas, etc). If you lose your passport, it can be a nightmare proving your identity without documentation. Digital backups help the process of re-confirming your identity and expediting the replacement process.

Details like this render it so important, if not absolutely necessary, to master the art of tech travel, but unfortunately this conclusion alone does nothing to answer the question of exactly what technology is the best. To help you solve the final part of the problem, therefore, we’ve put together a quick comparison of the different gadgets you may be considering packing for your next journey: 

Travelling with technology

Laptop:

“I travel all the time, both for business and leisure, and packing a laptop has become an essential part of my routine.”  

So says Scrubba managing director, Ash Newland. Although it may seem as though a recent wave of new technology has smothered the relevancy of laptops, these portable devices remain the “must-have” gadget for travelling, especially for those who work, blog, or actively create content on the road. A plethora of options enable you to customise as necessary, and with plenty of lightweight models, most of which are more than sufficient for the average traveller, available, you can easily browse, upload, and download, all without turning your suitcase into a heavy, unmanageable brick. Typically decent battery life, abundant storage space, and SD card slots further elevate the importance of laptops when it comes to globetrotting, while the ability to use them as a backup phone or tablet charger while on the go can be invaluable. Just be sure to invest in a sturdy, lightweight protective case to keep your luggage light and your tech protected, which is, of course, where our air sleeve will come in super handy.

Tips: Stick to 13” for travel and consider the weight and size of your chargers to ensure your bags remain as manageable as possible. Be sure to select a model with good battery life, especially if you're considering using your laptop to charge your smaller devices, and invest in a high quality, protective case that will give you peace of mind even when you’re watching those baggage handlers toss around luggage like it’s made of foam.

Tablet:

Enthusiastic traveller, office admin guru, and mother of one, Sarah, told us: 

“Tablets are great for keeping the whole family entertained. They’re also quite compact, meaning they can easily be used by kids on long drives and can be stored without hassle when it comes time to adventure.

For those who are more interested in browsing content than in creating it, a tablet may be sufficient for your needs on the road. After all, the recent emergence of apps for almost every imaginable service - including popular desktop programs - coupled with the fact that tablets are typically cheaper, lighter and slimmer than laptops without compromising on battery life or storage capacity, make tablets a great alternative to the more traditional laptop. It can be even more important, however, to invest in a decent case, as tablets can be highly susceptible to damage from knocks and other forms of impact.

Tips: Check battery life and storage carefully to ensure your model is suitable for travel. If possible, invest in a tablet that carries a SD card slot. We also suggest you explore a number of apps and integrate them into your day to day activities to ensure that you're capable of working solely from your tablet before you head off on your journey.

Travelling with a tablet

Smartphone:

“Couldn’t travel without one” was the refrain that chimed, almost in unison, from every voice in our office.

Although some people still prefer to leave their phone at home or to exchange it for a cheap brick when abroad, a smartphone can be invaluable on the road. After all, besides the practical convenience of being able to call for services, help, and information, the ability to access the Internet at the near infinite number of WiFi hotspots that have cropped up on every corner, coupled with the numerous communication, entertainment, travel, navigation, and language translation apps that can be conveniently downloaded and carried right in your pocket, offer near unparalleled convenience on the road. As smartphones are also equipped with cameras, they're great all-in-one tools for those who really want to slim their suitcases down. Enabling easy contact with friends and family and helping to keep basic affairs in order – all while remaining far lighter and smaller than the alternatives – a smartphone is a necessity for most travellers, so be sure to do your research well in advance if you decide to leave yours behind.

Tips: If possible, use a local sim to avoid extortionate charges and be sure to turn off your data to dodge potentially astronomical bills upon your return home. Keep your phone in a protective case to lessen the chance of cracked screens or chipped corners.

Camera:

“Nothing beats the photos produced by a good quality camera, and seeing as such photos offer a gateway into the past, contributing to your life story in full, vivid colour, a camera is the one thing I always make sure I pack.”

A filmmaker who also serves as digital content creator in our office, it’s hardly surprising that Dhruv would think this way, but if travel has taught us one thing, it’s that you no longer have to be a professional in the field of digital media to be packing some quality gear. Indeed, it seems that everywhere you look these days singles, couples and families alike are towing bulky DSLRs with multiple lenses. While I’m not suggesting you invest that much money – unless you really want to, of course – the quality you’ll get from even a basic point and shoot is typically far superior to, say, the camera on your tablet and is often more satisfying to use than your smartphone. Cameras are also obviously much better equipped to be used out in the field than other digital devices with photography capabilities, so if you want to preserve your trip in detail, you really shouldn’t look past this invaluable piece of tech. It will work much better and be more fun to use than your phone or tablet, trust us.  

Tips: Don’t forget to pack your camera in a good quality case and consider using a neck or wrist strap for additional security while out and about.

Travelling with digital devices

E-Book Reader:

Having graduated with a major in literary studies and been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, an E-Book Reader is, for me, a truly invaluable piece of tech. Although nothing quite beats the feel of a physical book, an E-Book Reader is a fantastic alternative for those who want to save space in their suitcase, browse the latest travel guides, or avoid roughing-up their precious hard copy volumes. Small, light, relatively cheap, and boasting excellent battery life with screens much better equipped for reading in sunlight than, say, tablets, E-Book Readers are the perfect solution for avid readers who just want to lounge on the beach devouring one title after another. Reading apps are, nevertheless, readily available for tablets and smart phones, so those who would prefer to scale down their tech may just find that another device sufficiently covers their literary needs, especially if more conservative in their reading habits. 

Hard drive/USB/SD Card:

To reiterate the wise words of the crew over at Jet Lag Jerry:

“If you’re working remotely, it’s important to back up your stuff if something goes wrong, like your laptop breaking or getting stolen.”

Our team couldn’t agree more! Think ahead and plan your media carefully, because photos and videos drain storage space fast, not to mention that the device you’re keeping them on is not immune to damage, loss, or theft. As you might just never forgive yourself if your precious memories evaporate into an irretrievable abyss, it can pay to take along a small, lightweight hard drive or similar device for peace of mind.

Tips: If your primary device has plenty of space, you don’t plan on creating much media, or you already use online backup systems, you can probably leave this piece of tech at home.

Now that you’ve considered the technology that is the best for travel, why not investigate an option for keeping your laptop safe during your journey? To help us innovate and design the best, most relevant product, please contribute to our short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/227JSL8

Thanks for your input and happy adventuring!

Tags: best tech for travel, globetrotting, how to travel with technology, scrubba wash bag, travel, travel tips, travelling with technology