Timing is Everything
Here are some ideas on how to use technology, tools, and common sense to help improve your tech travel and make it less challenging and more rewarding. Who doesn’t love to rack up those airline rewards points? Whether you love it or can’t wait to get off it, there is no escaping the flight to your perfect Caribbean Island. Unless you have a boat or even better, you have a friend with boat. Those of us not so fortunate must venture into the TSA security lines.
I have to give my brother, who just happens to be aircraft mechanic, credit here for always believing that “you have to have good tools”. I finally started to understand what he meant was to buy better quality. When traveling, it is all about quality vs. quantity and reducing your foot print. Size does matter. There are some things on which you can cut corners and maybe even divvy up among your tech travel buddies.
There are even some items you just have to let go and recognize that you can live without. Once you do decide to leave however, you may find yourself in a foreign country with literally only the clothes on your back and the items you have brought with you.
Let’s start with that 10 year old suitcase you pulled out of the attic. Time to let it go. The ultra-light, high tech material that is available now is amazing! So check out some bags on Amazon and order yourself something nice in time for your trip. I try to avoid the rigid, hardbody bags so I can squeeze my carry-on into a tiny overhead bin whenever I must. Express yourself. Go for something with a hot color or design so you can spot your cargo from the far side of a baggage claim if you checked your bag. Plus, all the other travelers will want to know where you got that cool bag.
If you are like me, you can’t last very long without tunes. Head phones are a necessity here. My personal choice is not to pack the big full headphones from the 80’s. A good, lightweight pair of earbuds will work just fine. Take two pair since they’re small, just in case. Also, I always pack one of these mini Bluetooth speakers for that secluded beach where just me and my 1st mate are chilling out and enjoying our time together. Try to have at least a three to four hour play list on your phone ready in case you end up a remote island where you cannot stream music. While we are on the subject phones, most of them in recent years already come equipped with the bare essentials. Years ago, I had a digital camera the size of a pack of cigarettes that I thought was advanced at the time.
Nowadays, phones have 12-megapixel cameras with Ultra HD 4K video. So, unless you are planning to freelance for National Geographic, chances are the built-in technology you already have in your pocket will do a pretty decent job of documenting your adventures. If you really need it, then throw the GoPro in your bag however, I recommend you leave the tripod behind so there is one less thing to hump around. Check your plan with your cellular provider before leave to find out if they offer a short-term roaming plan that you can purchase. Don’t forget your iPhone is also a flashlight when you need it.
The Internet. The whole point of traveling to that awesome Caribbean Island is to unplug. OK, I admit that may be a bit unreasonable for most people. So, a good tablet is worth its weight in air miles here. Get the right tool for job. Most tablets are not designed to read in direct sun light, so consider what your preferences are. Is it a higher priority to have a browser and email or do you want to just read a book? I like the new Kindle Fire from Amazon that is sort of a hybrid that packs a lot of functionality punch in an eight inch package. Tablets like the Surface Pro and the iPad are even starting to cross the line into laptop productivity territory for you workaholics out there.
Most of the islands in the Caribbean straddle the equator where the average temperature rarely dips below 75 degrees. So, unless you plan to attend a formal event, you can get away with packing mostly shorts, tee shirts, flip flops, and a few good swimsuits. There are some great fabrics that are lightweight and wick moisture available at many sports retailers. I try to find shorts with a drawstring so I can even eliminate a belt. Shoes are more personal. For me, I prefer more of a sandal over flops that I can wear on a hike if I want. You can throw a nice silk, button up shirt to wear with some cargo shorts and be welcome at the fancy restaurants at most resorts. A single pair of long Khaki pants with the same shirt will get you into the most formal venues in the Caribbean.
The simplest strategy to good tech travel is to take what you need and use what you take. Stick to three once sizes and avoid any items that look suspicious. I once got pulled from a TSA line because of a pop tart in a foil wrapper and almost missed my flight. On another trip, my Keens got wet on a hike and gave me a good blister to show for it. My wife pulled the perfect size Band-Aid out her bags and saved the day. I love fold-up tooth brushes, reading glasses, and backpacks that save me every extra inch for those long stays. So, go high tech and you will probably go more often and still enjoy many of your creature comforts.