looking for advices on devices

Travel Forums Travel Gear looking for advices on devices

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1. Posted by Soultime (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Initially, while planning an extended trip, I thought, "I've got a Pixel phone and a Kindle pad. Maybe that will be enough. After all, I don't do much on social media." However, I want to write while on my trip. So now I'm thinking I need a chromebook or laptop. I've never owned a chromebook. I hear they're safer, security-wise, but you can't do as much as you can on a laptop. I would like to hear from anyone who's traveled for long periods and has used either or both to write and post on blogs.

2. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1620 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I always travel with a 13-inch laptop and a mobile phone (now a Samsung S20 5G but with Pixels in the past). I take photos and videos with my mobile phone and post them immediately to my Facebook page with Google Fi, which works in 200+ countries and territories. I use the laptop to transfer, store and edit photos and videos that I take with my camera(s). I also track expenses with my laptop; and in the past have used it to keep a diary or journal. I use it to make ongoing travel arrangements and help moderate Travellerspoint. The laptop/mobile phone combo has served me well in years of travel around the globe. I've never had security issues with my laptop. I keep and access important files with Dropbox, use a password manager, etc.

I often travel with a friend who only uses a Pixel phone (with Google Fi) and an iPad. She uses the latter to read downloaded material, including books from the New York Public Library and watch Netflix videos. She doesn't take as many photos nor write as extensively as I do.

3. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 386 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I travel with an iPhone and iPad - though expect I'll be switching to iPhone and laptop in future (but sticking with iPhone & iPad for cycle touring - weight & volume).

Phone is useful as a phone (dual SIM is going to be a great help as UK banks seem to need to send you a one-time-passcode for many transactions and this can only be a SMS text so you need your UK SIM active but local SIM is important for getting data at a reasonable price. Also phone useful for mapping e.g. create a waypoint at location of next hostel and use GPS to find your way there from bus station (but be careful showing a phone in public in some places).

The iPad/tablet used for photo processing, uploading photos to cloud for backup, updating personal website, planning and booking next place on trip (I don't plan far ahead but decide underway and adjust after talking to others). When cycle touring also used for route planning (turn by turn directions), downloading routes, etc.

Despite being a high-end iPad the issues were: screen not adequate for photo processing (not accurate rendering and now I look at photos they need re-processing properly), storage too limiting, software/apps limiting (I use Lightroom and the mobile/CC versions are low functionality compared to the Classic version). Benefits are size, weight, power).


4. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 386 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I should add (forgot it), I also take a Kindle paperwhite but (for me) it is only useful for reading text/novels. One trip I tried downloading a travel guide but the maps were useless on the paperwhite display and there are far more extensive online sources for info through a tablet/phone web browser or app (e.g. hostel booking sites have way way more choice with reviews that the limited listings in a guide book). But I love reading so Kindle is for me an important luxury.


[ Edit: Edited on 4 Sep 2021, 11:54 GMT by Psamathe ]

5. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 5557 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

"advices on devices..."

I normally travel with a small laptop/netbook. Last one was an Asus 10 inch. This netbook died an honorable death around the 5+ year mark after years of being banged around. I have a larger Asus at home and an old Imac. Presently looking for another 11 -13 inch netbook/laptop. Probably after Win 11 becomes more available other than just an upgrade.

On my laptop computers I do not rely on a single browser. Besides Edge, I also have Firefox and Chrome. When I access my bank websites - and they want confirmation - they send the confirmation number to one of my back up email address. So far no problem confirming who I am when overseas. (I use different email addresses for business vs personal emails.) I get by with the free virus programs you can download from a trusted website, so far so good after many years! When overseas I do not have bank and some other private websites with saved passwords. Same for opening the laptop. Why make it easier for a thief to use your computer after stealing it!

I am not into smart phones. Anything important to read or see will still be available on my computer when I return home. (Or return to hotel.) At home my cell phone is a cheap TracFone, about 10 bucks now. I don't need to photograph my meals, or be able to see images 24/7. I do something novel with my phone - I talk on it! Friends know I have no patience with long messages! Any return message will get the same answers - yes, no or call! I have similar cheap cell phones when in some countries.

I now use cheap digital cameras. Earlier in my younger life I actually had employment as a photographer with all sorts of cameras from view cameras, 4X5 press cameras and various roll film cameras. Even professional movie cameras. I do love digital cameras now compared to film cameras! Almost instant results vs the chance of screwing up something in shooting, processing or being careless. Or simply running out of time when changing film. Small size for digital cameras vs my big Nikons and lenses makes my bag a little lighter too!

In the US I have seen some cheap Chromebooks starting somewhere around $150. Not much storage but there is Cloud Storage available although I prefer a computer with at least some storage, maybe 128 GB, but I can work with 64 if I have to. I can save some photos in email folders until I get home. I send the photos to another email address and save it there. I suppose there are limits but so far, after many years, have not reached a limit. For those who have to save lots of photos there are hard drives. Some flash drives can be used for saving photos too. (Once arriving SFO from Asia for a connecting flight, a customs agent wanted to check one of my flash drives. Nothing illegal on it but this cramped my time between connecting flights.)

  • I read a lot, my whole life, lots of novels! I tried a Kindle but couldn't get into reading something on plastic. Maybe the later versions are better now. My library has some sort of free downloads available for readers. (I buy cheap paperbacks from yard sales for pennies. No problem with 20 hour flights, never bored. When a novel is complete I "donate" it somehow.)

Good luck.

6. Posted by Soultime (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the information. I agree: lunch is to be eaten, not photographed.

7. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 386 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Soultime

Thanks for the information. I agree: lunch is to be eaten, not photographed.

Except tomorrow you'll be having another lunch but wont be going back to the same amazing place. For me recording my visit is an important aspect for memory after returning home. Of course experiencing the place is important but you can do both, they are not mutually exclusive.

And I've found that taking photographs need not interfere with visiting somewhere, it can even improve things e.g. trying to take a picture of a temple without that orange t-shirt in front and you wander around, try the far side and your exploring angles means you are also exploring the site.


Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2592 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I have been traveling with various phones and cameras for a long time. I had a Brownie when I went to Europe with my folks in 1950. I started really photographing meals when I started with VT (virtual tourist) in 2002, which was also about the same time as I really got into using a digital camera. At that time I had a bag phone and a little analog brick phone. I was traveling for 6 months at a time on our boat, so weight and size was not really an issue. We weren't getting on and off trains and going to different hotels or hostels. We carried our house with us. I had a laptop, and an early digital camera, but unless I could hook up to a landline in a marina or store, I got email with an acoustic modem on the bag phone with a device called Pocketmail. Whenever I could hook up the computer to a landline, I sent the daily trip emails to my mother.

I got an iPhone in 2013 when the flip phone that I had would turn on and search for a signal (and incur roaming charges) even when it was just in my pocket and I had not turned it on. An iPhone is good for taking photos of food because it is inconspicuous. I like to take photos of food - it is almost as much fun as eating it. And I take photos of the menus too because sometimes the description varies from the actual food. A photo of a menu is a lot smaller than an actual menu.

When I traveled in the digital era, I downloaded the photos every night, and write up the day's events. If I can post the narrative from where I am, I will do that, but at least I write while it is fresh.

Before computers, I wrote on paper without seeing the photos first as they had to be developed. And paper is still an option. In 1964, I wrote airmail letters to my mother (on onionskin paper). Periodically I would mail the brochures and literature home, because those things would get heavy. In 1998 I wrote a journal in a little book and also stapled receipts and brochures into it. I kept track of my expenses that way and wrote down what I bought as presents and who they were for.

I can no longer travel by myself - I need help with luggage and someone to fold and unfold my scooteer for me. But I travel with a laptop, an iPhone, a Canon camera (because I do cemetery documentation and I insist on having a viewfinder), and a Kindle - although I mostly use the Kindle to read in airports and on airplanes. I would prefer books. And I dont have the stamina for long trips. Three weeks is about my limit. Even when I was younger, 5 weeks was a long trip. I don't know if you consider that an extended trip or whether you mean 7 months or so.

10. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 5557 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!


I now have a couple Chromebooks. My old faithful Asus Windows 10 laptop is like me, kind of old and too slow. Can't close it because hinge is broke. But still works with my old Samsung B&W printer. (So far, the printer is too old and I can't find a compatible driver for Chromebooks yet.)

I have a small 11 inch Chromebook netbook and a standard keyboard size laptop. Laptop Chromebook stays home when I travel and netbook goes with me.

Pros. Netbook (Samsung) around $137 US, and Asus laptop about $70 - $90 more on sale. Easy set up. With a Chrome browser on my old Windows 10 laptop all I had to do is click on the Google Chrome browser on the Chromebook. Enter password and every bookmark saved to my old Chrome browser (on Win 10) came up on new computers.

Some "play it by ear" learning. Small hard drive capacity is what I expected. I do pull up the history frequently and delete searches and other stuff I play with frequently. Supposed to save space on drive.

I can use my Yahoo account and Hotmail accounts on Chromebook as a bookmark. (Some things I do on my big home laptop shows up on my netbook automatically.) My netbook mirrors my big home laptop. Good for backup! Thought about putting it in my bank safety box if my house burned down. For an old fart I pay a lot of bills and do most of my banking on my computer. Netbook has less capacity @ 32 and larger laptop has 64.

Cons. On the bigger Asus no fixed Caps key. There are some key combinations that give some options. Hold this and this key to get this result, guess this saves HD space. I do know that when I accidentally hit 2 keys at once a Play Store option pops up. Otherwise go into Settings if needed. Like the ads on TV, Google does watch everything you do. If I search for a hotel in a particular city or just include some word or phrase in an email - shortly after I will get some spam choices with links to what I was looking up same day or day after. (Some automatic process is watching you on Chromebook! Just like in the Commercial for DuckDuckGo.)

I do miss some of the things my old Win 10 Asus had, like dragging links to the screen. Free generic Word programs, more choices for anti-virus programs. (I know, some links say not needed, but I kind of like extra anti-virus I can run when I want.)

(Keyboard too small for me to touch type on the netbook, my hands just too big. So lots of one finger typing with the netbook.. Got small hands and skinny fingers you might do okay.) More room on a Windows 11 laptop for saving photos and other stuff, my opinion.

Not a waste of money but I kind of like my Windows computers a little better. Perhaps it is 15 years of using Windows that gives that OS the edge. On Chromebook I do a lot of history deleting and some downloaded items are now saved in a folder in my email.

Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 5 Sep 2022, 19:49 GMT by karazyal ]