10 Ways to Make Your IPod a Powerful Travel Accessory

Technology + Gear
by Rowshan and Tamia Dowlatabadi Oct 3, 2008
Get more mileage out of your iPod by installing Rockbox

Many travelers already carry an iPod with them when they travel. However, few know that the iPod can be used as more than just a multimedia player.

© Photo by Rowshan Dowlatabadi

By installing the free Rockbox software and making a few pre-trip preparations, you can transform your iPod into a powerful travel accessory.

Here are ten suggestions for getting the most out of your iPod.

1. Install Rockbox

© Photo by Rowshan Dowlatabadi

Rockbox is free open source software which creates an alternative interface for the iPod in which files and folders are not encoded.

Because files are not encoded using Rockbox,  you can access, create, rename, delete, and move files as you would on a computer.

Rockbox makes your iPod work independently of the iTunes software.

This eliminates problems like trying to add media when a computer doesn’t have iTunes installed or accidentally syncing your iPod with someone else’s iTunes library.

In addition, Rockbox has dual boot capabilities so you can still use the iPod software for playing videos which is currently not supported by Rockbox.

Rockbox can also be installed on other MP3 players.

Visit Rockbox’s website for more information, free downloads, and installation instructions.

2. Photo Gallery Manager

Once you’ve installed Rockbox, load photos of yourself, friends and family, life in your country, you doing your favorite hobbies, and more, to share during your travels.

While you are traveling, you can load photos taken during your trip as well. These make great ice breakers, especially if language is a problem.

3. Document Manager

Load scanned copies of important documents such as passports, visas and medical records. Avoid storing more sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers, passwords and PIN numbers on your iPod.

4. Navigator

The Rockbox iPod software enables you to easily zoom in and out of stored JPEGs. Load large map images of places that you will visit as well as other graphical travel information. Rockbox lets you zoom in and out of JPEG images – a feature not included in the classic iPod software.

5. Language Coach

Load language podcasts/MP3 files so you can pick up some useful phrases during your travels. You can find language podcasts in the iTunes store or by using an online search engine.

© Photo by Tamia Dowlatabadi – Rowshan shows a potter in Morocco examples of his own ceramics

6. Rolodex

An iPod can be used to store and easily retrieve addresses and travel information. Load text files of contact information for friends, notes about destinations, and other information you may need. You can also save e-mails to retrieve later.

You can edit text files using Rockbox but its text editor is still a work in progress.

7. Media Player

Since the iPod was originally designed to be a media player, be sure to load your favorite tunes and collect new ones (MP3, wave files – thanks to Rockbox) as you travel.

8. Portable Hard Drive

You can use your iPod as a portable hard drive, storing files on it as you would on an external hard drive or flash drive.

9. Gaming Device

Kill time by playing games on your iPod. Rockbox comes with several games including chess, Sudoku puzzles, Doom, and more.

This is a useful feature you will be grateful for when your plane is delayed several hours.

10. Emergency Flashlight

Use your iPod as an emergency flashlight. The Rockbox Lamp/Flashlight feature changes the screen into a bright light, transforming your iPod into the most expensive flashlight you’ll probably ever own.

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