Booked flights on kayak….check. Lovely apartment on airbnb...check. Bags packed and ready to go...check. That’s it, right? Well, not quite...we at Jones IT have 4 must have items for your preflight checklist before that business trip or journey of a lifetime. “Cabin crew, please take your seats for take-off."
1. International Travel Adapters & Power Converters
How will you charge your devices while you are away from home? Depending on the country you’re traveling to, chances are they’re going to have different plug types and voltages from their power outlets. The last thing you want is to get off a long plane ride, run low on power, and find out your charger isn’t going to work.
Always make sure you research the power plug type and standard input voltage of the country you are traveling to. It’s easy to think “I’ll buy one when I get there” until you’re running around all day looking for a store that sells exactly what you need. Save yourself the trouble by getting a power adapter with multiple plugs, eliminating the need to purchase one each time you travel to another country, and keeping things compact!
CAUTION - Note on adapters vs. converters:
- A simple power adapter is usually all you need in most cases. It lets you use all the plugs types you will come across (US, UK, EU, Australia, etc). Most electronic devices like your laptop, smartphones, and cameras can work in both 110 and 220 volts and therefore, do not need voltage conversion.
- However, devices that use a lot of power (e.g. hair dryers, curling irons, clothes iron, etc) will need a power converter so it to be used in 110 and 220 volts. Make sure to read the label on your device. Power converters are heavier and pricier than simple pocket sized-adapters so you might want to consider letting your hair go wild and clothes wrinkle rather than lug around all that heavy equipment!
2. Unlocked Smartphones
In today’s mobile focused world, we often forget just how frequently we rely on our phones for important tasks such as communication, navigation, on the go payments, and so much more. Sure, you could use your local carrier to access data from your phone abroad, but it’s likely comes with a high price to pay.
You basically have two options if you want to use data abroad.
- One option is to check with your carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) and upgrade to an international roaming plan while you’re on the road.
- The other ideal option is to bring an “unlocked” smartphone that is not restricted to one carrier so you can buy an inexpensive SIM card once you have landed in your destination. Check out this NY Times article about plan options, unlocking your device, and apps for free calling/messaging like WhatsApp: . Whatever you decide, don’t sweat too much, public WiFi is just a coffee shop or hotel lobby away from connecting with your life back home.
CAUTION - Keep security in mind before trusting any readily available connection:
- Avoid inputting any sensitive information while connected if possible, and always check to ensure websites you connect to are secured.
- To ensure website security, check for “https” within the website’s url, and a lock icon. While this does not guarantee 100% security, it will greatly decreases the chance of having sensitive information stolen.
- Ideally, you should use a VPN when working on sensitive information over public networks.
3. Travel Pouch w/ RFID Blocker
Although we don’t like to think about it, there is always a real chance, at home or abroad, that your information could wind up in the hands of thieves. In order to keep yourself protected in the most convenient way possible, we recommend a travel pouch or bag with an RFID blocker.
Raytix offers a good quality, inexpensive, RFID blocking sturdy travel money belt on Amazon for around $13. This travel pouch will prevent shady characters from accessing any chipped cards you may have. Plus, you can keep other essentials, like money and keys, stored all in the same location.
4. Smart Luggage
For travelers who want to pack as light as possible, we recommend multi-purpose luggage that gets the job done. Our own Evan Jones can personally vouch for the Bluesmart One Smart Luggage and recently used it on a summer trip to Europe. Learn more about how it works in the video on the right from The Telegraph.
Luggage that can charge, detect its own weight, be tracked, and unlocked only by accessing your own smartphone and app is just one way to keep yourself secured and prepared before a big trip.
Travel can be fun and sometimes a way for us to get away from everything back at home, but just as you would keep your wallet, keys, and other precious possessions secure on the go, you want to make sure your personal information is safe as well. Many of us depend greatly on our smart technology and laptops to the point where we want to ensure they are taken care of, especially in unfamiliar situations. By keeping the above points in mind before any long trip, you can rest assured that you are doing as much as you possibly can to protect yourself, and your devices!
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned off the Fasten Seat Belt sign, and you may now move around the cabin.” We hope our blog helps you prepare for your next trip. Drop us a comment about your favorite travel technology tips. Stay tuned for Part II of our Travel Tech Tips coming out next; we’ll cover more on company data protection/backups and IT security to do’s such as password managers, two-factor authentication, and VPNs.
Still have questions about making sure your devices will work on your trip, how to setup your business email on your mobile device, using your VOIP plan abroad, or advice on protecting company data while using public wifi networks? We offer IT Security Plans to protect your company's data and coach staff at home and on the road. Get in touch with Jones IT today!