Laptop Travel

Kevin Allgood wrote an interesting article for Brave New Traveler asking readers to consider why they need to carry a laptop on their travels. I stopped carrying a laptop when I bought my Archos 604 WiFi, it fulfills the three main functions the much heavier laptop used to do for us:

1. Stores movies to keep us entertained.

2. Back up our digital media (photos, video etc).

3. Web browsing.

Email and blogging still requires a trip to the Internet Cafe because there is no keyboard but I can accept that small inconvenience for the two kilogram weight saving.


Backpacking without a Backpack – Not Quite

Travel TechGo Budget Travel asked readers if they thought a backpack is a necessary to be a backpacker traveller, and gave four good reasons to answer no and I agree, well sort of.

Backpacks (good ones) are fantastic for trekking endless miles over the terrain to be one with your environment. However, most of us are on the local bus, train or taxi most of our journey and then humping the bag a few kilometres to the accommodation.

For us the perfect solution is the bag lovingly and thoroughly designed by Rick Steves and his merry band at Europe Through the Back Door.

Why do we love it?

  1. It does not look valuable unlike a good quality backpack that draws the eyes of every lowlife around you.
  2. The bag opens like a normal suitcase to give you easy access to all your belongings, no need to unpack to retrieve those dry socks.
  3. The durable material takes a lot of punishment, and will last the average traveller many years.
  4. Best of all, when you need to hump the bag a few miles to the hostel or B&B, pull out the back straps and throw it over your shoulders.

Rick Steves Travel Bag

At less than a US$100, you get a bag designed to solve most of the luggage woes of the modern traveller and I highly recommend it.


Banish Boring Travel Slideshows

Travel TechYou took hundreds of photos on your trip but apart from your occasional upload to Flickr or MySpace, how will you share those photos with your friends? My wife scrapbooks our travels but they are more us than our friends and family. I’ve built slide shows with Photoshop Elements but they never quite reach the quality I desire.

Today I may have found the answer, Animoto is a new service that uses your photos and music to produce a professional quality video that you share with the people interested in your life. In their own words:

Animoto is a web application that automatically generates professionally produced videos using their own patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology and high-end motion design. Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced in widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer. The heart of Animoto is its newly developed Cinematic A.I. technology that thinks like an actual director and editor.

The technology is still in Beta, so expect some teething problems but I think this could be the next step forward for content sharing. Check out my first creation:


Travel Tech – Nokia Navigator

Travel TechYour rich uncle is sending you on a trip but on one condition, you can only take one piece of electronic technology. What goes into your bag?

Nokia 6110 Navigator


Video camera?



MP3 player?

Confused, want to take it all; grab the Nokia Navigator and you do have it all and get the free trip.

I’m a real Luddite when it comes to mobile phones, no frills and I leave it off as much as possible but the Nokia Navigator could finally win me over to the dark side. Most high end cell phones have cameras and PDA functionality but the GPS function sets the Navigator apart from any other phone I’ve owned. Type in your destination, select navigate and within seconds the confident voice commands are guiding you through the city. You can set it to take you via the fastest or shortest route, and it will even show you the points of interest around your location.

A few 2Gb micro SD cards with your favourite music or podcasts plus a couple more for photos and you have it all in your pocket. The photos and video quality is not going to win you any prizes but used at parties or other happy snap occasions they produce a reasonable product to share with friends.

The Active TFT, QVGA 320 x 240 pixels, 2.2 inch display supports all your on the go browsing needs and there a host of other features to long to list here. The Nokia Navigator is a winner for the light packers or your go bag.

Photo courtesy of Velorowdy’s photostream. Creative Commons (Some Rights Reserved.)


Three Travel Podcasts to Help Plan your Vacation

Travel TechPodcasters create some fantastic content to fuel your travel dreams or direct your attention to a sight that the guidebooks overlooked. Some pocasts have a fleeting existence and a number of very promising podcasts disappeared after a few episodes I’ve tried a variety of travel podcasts but there are three that stand out from the crowd. Regular episodes, useful information and an obvious love for travel make each of these worth your download and listening time.

Amateur Traveler

Chris Christensen presents the Amateur Traveler podcast mixing travel news, destination guides, interviews and travel know-how. He recently interviewed the Anders family who travelled around the world for a year, an inspiring story for anyone who is putting off travel because of the kids.

Travel with Rick Steves

Rick Steves is our primary guide in Europe through is wonderful guidebooks and television shows but his podcast encompasses travel destinations beyond Europe with the same simply philosophy of thoughtful travel he applies to Europe.

A Year in Europe

Cheryl and Scott spent the last year in Europe and sharing their discoveries through their podcast. While this one may have a limited shelf life as their trip ended in July 2007, their observations and recommendations are worth your time and may inspire you to try a similar journey.