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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Space-Saving Travel Gadgets for Packing Light 9.3.11

Whether you live in an apartment, college dorm or RV, it can always be beneficial to find items that won’t take up a lot of space, help you minimize and multitask. If you are torn between buying something that works for travel and something that works for your tiny living space, you’re in luck. There are five fun and useful gadgets that can work for both, because they are multi-functional and small. And just think, in the long run, it’ll save you money, because they do double-duty.

They won't let you on the plane with your bag like this!
This list was originally posted on Examiner.com for a Back to School theme. If you want to read more articles like this, please feel free to subscribe to my Examiner feed. While I’m the Portland Budget Travel Examiner, I often post general travel-related articles that can save you money. Or maybe you just REALLY want to visit Portland! I'd highly recommend it.
Acer AO532h-2588 10.1-Inch Onyx Blue Netbook - Up to 8 Hours of Battery Life

Netbook – While it’s awesome to have a full size laptop, lugging it back and forth to classes and home for the weekends and holidays can be a hassle. It also takes up a lot of room in a travel bag and a book bag. Carry your netbook with you everywhere with ease and half the space. You can do everything you would with a laptop or a desktop. The only thing you’d miss is a disc drive, which you can buy in external form to keep in your desk drawer for downloading new programs or watching movies. Keep all your important docs on an online storage site like Dropbox and get access to them anywhere there’s internet access. These are free for up to 2GB of space and a nice place to store your travel documents and copies of your passport and ID that you might lose in transit. I take my Acer netbook everywhere I go and it does everything I need and more. I can watch Netflix streaming on the go or update my blog!

iGo – Do you have that jumble of chargers in your bag or a drawer for your cell phone, iPod and other electronic devices? Ditch them all and replace them with just one. The iGo multicharger is a compact adapter that uses interchangeable tips for each of your electronics. You can get the wall charger or the set with a wall charger and car charger if you drive, have a friend that does or rent one on vacation. There’s a splitter you can purchase for charging more devices at one time, which is a plus for hotel rooms that have minimal outlets. And at home, you’ll only have to keep track of one adapter. I actually keep mine in my travel bag and my car adapter in my glovebox. It can charge my dying cell phone or keep Tom Tom full of juice, so he can tell me where to turn on long road trips.
Apple iPad 2 MC916LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi, Black) NEWEST MODEL
iPad – Have you been begging your parents (or anyone) to get you one of these? Now you can argue that you need it for school/work and travel. With millions of apps, there’s sure to be at least a few educational ones that are critical to your learning or ones that make fancy pie charts for those important meetings. You can also store your entire music and movie collections on it, making it the ultimate multimedia tool. That it makes you look cool doesn’t hurt either. Get a functional cover for it and it also makes a good travel device for all the same reasons, except you can download your favorite travel apps to help you sightsee more cheaply and efficiently. Keep your packing lists right at your fingertips and have the ability to Skype with your mom, too. Show all your new travel friends pictures from your travels or what’s cool back home.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Pearl Display
Kindle or other e-reader – If the iPad is a little too heavy for reading for long periods of time, then you might like an e-reader. A device like the Kindle can hold your entire library in a very small and lightweight footprint, has a huge battery life and even allows you to lend and borrow books from the library and friends. Soon, you’ll be able to get school books for download, too. Need the entire works of Shakespeare for your lit class? No problem! Another thing I take with me everywhere. I have actually started replacing books I own with e-versions on my Kindle. I always have something to read and if I run out of new material, I just use my 3G to hop onto the Kindle Storefront and browse for something that sounds good. There is always a selection of suggested reading material that is useful for when I have no idea what I want, but Amazon thinks they do!

Fujifilm FinePix XP10 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Green)
Digital camera – A camera is always handy. You’ll want to capture all your memorable moments both at school, home and on the road. Upload pictures of Thanksgiving with your awesome family and email them to everyone after the holiday, update your Facebook profile picture with you swimming with dolphins and keep an online photo album to remember the best – and maybe not so good – times of your life. A waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof and shockproof model like the Fujifilm finepix XP10 can hold up to games of beer pong with roommates to your snowboarding trip in Whistler, all while taking a fantastically clear picture. I adore the ease of use of this camera and am purchasing a float wristband to take it into the ocean with me. I don’t want what happened to a fellow cruiser last year to happen to me. She went snorkeling, it slipped off her wrist and was lost in the depths of the Caribbean waters forever. Knowing I’ll be doing a lot of water activities makes it easy to choose to spend $7 to protect my camera from becoming lost should I be totally clumsy, because, let’s face it, I have never been called graceful in my life!

So, there you have it. My top 5 space-saving electronic gadgets that are great for home and travel. Don't weigh yourself down with a bunch of extra items when you travel and you'll be able to keep track of everything and also be able to carry it! You'll be happy you did when you head home with more than you started with and still have room for it all. At home, all of these gadget can fit into a drawer and be hidden when not in use. In your dorm, you will be able to keep track of a minmal group of items and also they can be tucked away in a small space to keep them safe. All of these are good ideas in my book.
Pacsafe Luggage Travelsafe 12L Climbing Pack, Black, One Size
Consider purchasing a PacSafe bag to hold them all and deter thieves when at school or on vacation. What a great invention this is! It has a mesh lining made of slashproof steel cables and loops around an object and locks in place. If someone wants to steal you bag from the beach, they'll look pretty weird and suspicious trying to run away with an entire lounge chair!

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