So you carry a laptop, iPhone, external hard drive, and other gadgets while traveling. Traditional backpackers shouldn’t judge you. You’re on to something.

Editor’s Note – Today’s backpackers are currently redefining what it means to rough it on the road. This new wave of travelers now called flashpackers still forge on, discovering uncharted territories and remote locales.

But this time around, they instantly beam back their locations and bring the world along.


Photo by AMagill

Here are some savvy gadgets a flashpacker needs to pack before hitting the road.

1. Laptop

Working from an Internet cafe is not ideal for a number of reasons. For starters, Internet cafes are noisy and are not an easy environment to work in. In addition, working at Internet cafes can be expensive with fees ranging as high as $3 to $5 per hour. Having a laptop allows you to find a quiet place to work.

What type of laptop you bring depends on where you are going and what you will be using it for. When traveling in regions where the risk of theft is high, it may not be prudent to bring an expensive new laptop.

In all likelihood, you will only need it for basic functions such as surfing the web, email, uploading photos, writing articles or journals and blogging, all of which can be done using an older laptop.

If you do not own an old laptop, you can purchase a refurbished one directly from manufacturers like Dell, from sites like mySimon or on Ebay for a couple hundred dollars.

2. Phone

In addition to a smart phone such as the iPhone or a Blackberry with access to Internet and email, you should bring an unlocked GSM phone that can support a local pay-as-you-go SIM card.

Price: $550.00 – $749.00 | RIM Blackberry Bold 9000

This not only allows you to make local calls without roaming charges but many allow you to receive calls (including from overseas) for free.

As with laptops, due to theft concerns it may be advisable to buy used or older models.

3. eReader

On longer trips, it is sometimes difficult to bring enough reading material due to weight and space constraints. Either Sony’s eReader or Amazon’s Kindle offer a terrific solution.

Designed to mimic the printed page, these devices do not emit light and are therefore no more straining on your eyes then the printed page. Their true benefit is in that they can hold up to 80 books. In addition to books, it is possible to save word or pdf files.

It is, however, advisable to bring some printed reading material as these gadgets can’t fully replace the look and feel of the printed page and sometimes it is nice to sit down with a real book.

4. External Hard Drive

Armed with a USB-powered portable hard drive such as the Oyen Digital 500 GB External 2.5″ USB Powered Mini Portable Hard Drive, a flashpacker can bring enough movies and TV shows for those long bus, train and plane journeys.

Simply plug the Bose headphones into your laptop’s USB port and your computer becomes a portable entertainment center. External hard drives can also be used to store software that can run on other computers such as those in Internet cafes.

They can also be used to back up photos and files created on the road.

5. iPod

As a result of the proliferation of the iPod, it has become one of the quintessential travel gadgets among travelers from budget backpackers to business travelers.

The ability to have your entire music collection in the palm of your hand, makes it the ultimate travel accessory for long journeys. The 120 GB iPod classic can also be used as a portable external hard drive.

6. Headphones

Whether you need peace and quiet in order to sleep, to get some work done in a loud hostel, or simply want to enjoy superior audio quality on a long flight, bus or train ride, a set of these Bose QuietComfort® 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones will do the trick.

7. On-the-go Charger

Energizer’s line of Energi to Go portable battery re-chargers allow iPods and phones to be charged on-the-go using standard AA batteries which can be readily recharged.

8. Power Adapter Kit

Tumi’s Ultra Slim Universal Power Adapter Kit was designed with the flashpacker in mind. It is billed as “the ultimate power tool for mobile computer and electronics users.”

The compact and lightweight kit can utilize wall, automobile and airplane connections to charge any conceivable piece of electronics while on the road.

9. Water Purifier

For the great outdoors, the SteriPEN® Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier is an ingenious water purification system that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and other pathogens fast (48 seconds for 16 ounces).

It is a small and light (under 110g/4 oz), easy to use and an effective way of purifying water on hikes or while camping.

10. GPS Device

A handheld GPS device loaded with regional maps for your trip can be a useful tool. GPS can be used for navigating a new city, driving as well as exploring national parks and other outdoor attractions.

Some mobile phones support GPS and can be used in lieu of a standalone device.

Price: $211.00| Earthmate GPS PN-20

What other gadgets would you suggest? Tell us below.

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