Inventions that Make Traveling Easier
The first time I went abroad was 2001, computers hadn’t yet infiltrated every facet of our lives. It was a different time to travel. Here’s a list of inventions that make travel easier, including a few I wish I had.
Digital Camera-You’re going on an adventure, and you’ll want to remember it.
eBook-I came here with a kobo, but it broke (I think it froze in our cold apartment), my mom came to the rescue though when she came to visit, and brought me her old Kindle, loaded with more books than I could read in a lifetime. Books take up a lot of space, and an ebook won’t make you sacrifice reading for practical reasons.
Computer- Email, Facebook, Skype/Google hangout. This is the way to keep in touch with loved ones. Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, having ways to stream media from your home country is a comfort especially on homesick nights. Agoda, travel reviews, a computer allows you to find interesting places in your new country so you won’t miss anything. A computer with an internet connection is an incredibly valuable tool.
Digital Picture Frame-This is the invention I wish I had the most. Having pictures of your family, friends, and home town is incredibly reassuring. Facebook helps, but I would prefer have something permanent in my home that was always showing me the people I love. I have an aunt who I stayed with a few summers ago, in the guest bedroom she had dozens of pictures on her wall, most were of family, my mom and her sisters, my sister and I growing up, and my grandma. I think having pictures on your wall is an powerful way to think of the people you love, and invite your guests to take a look at what you value, it would not be practical to bring dozens of picture frames, so one changing picture is a perfect alternative.
Smartphone-Map, translator, phone, email, alarm clock, Ben and I bought smartphones when we got to Japan, It was the right choice, we’ve had fantastic adventures, our smartphones made them so much easier. I recommend unlocking a smartphone and bringing it with you to your new country, it will save you a lot of money, make sure you have a USB cable that you can connect to your phone, and then just buy a USB plug in for the country of your choice when you get there.
Credit card-Ben and I were naïve as to how much it would cost to move to Japan. We didn’t budget well, and our parents had to bail us out. Having a credit/debit card connected to a bank account in your home country is a great idea. If there was an emergency our parents would be able to send us money instantaneously. Make sure you bank with the right people though, I never had to pay ATM fees (I was ok as long as I stayed under 6 transactions a month), and my bank gave me good conversion rates. Some banks will charge you just for withdrawing money abroad, and others will rip you off on the conversation. Make sure you tell your bank about any trips, or they might think your card has been stolen.
Here are some things not to pack when you move abroad
Hair dryer- Different countries have different outlets, and different amounts of juice
Cooking supplies- When Ben and I came to Japan all we brought was a pot, a pan, and two knives, we bought what we needed here (Stove), and will sell them when we leave.
Desktop computer, monitor or TV-Big electronics are too difficult, take up too much space, and are too fragile, buy them used, or just use a laptop
Items that are more useful than you might imagine
Straightening Iron-Not only can you style your hair with it, you can Iron your clothes with it, I think it is easier to use than a standard clothes iron, and although we have a real iron now, I still use my straightening iron.
Battery Charger-Batteries are cheaper in America then I have seen anywhere else in the world. Buy yourself a battery charger (in your new country if the voltage is different) and bring a good selection of rechargeable batteries.