Media Gadgets for the Frequent Traveler Part 1 of 3: Foundation Items

Media Gadgets for the Frequent Traveler


Are you driving a long distance to reach your prime travel destination? Do you travel frequently? Do you enjoy documenting every moment of your travel adventure? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then tune in to this three-part series on media gadgets! I'll help you get started with some basic foundation items, then I'll tell you how to maximize your TV/movie experience as well as how to document every amazing bit of your trip.


Everybody knows that before you can build upward, you need a solid foundation. This is just as true when it comes to gadgets. It won’t do you any good to invest in the nicest pair of headphones on the market if you don't have anything to connect them to. So what constitutes a solid foundation for your student group's media gadget collection? Three items: a tablet, an external charging device, and additional storage.


A tablet. According to Pew Research Center, almost 50% of Americans already own a tablet. If you are one of the 50% who don't, this will be (by far) the most expensive investment in this series. But it will be worth it! Even though an upcoming trip may motivate you to make the purchase, you'll be able to use your tablet long after you've returned home.


Tablets are intuitive. They work very similarly to a smart phone. They are flexible. Accommodating both work and play, you can use a tablet for anything from games and movies to word processing and spreadsheets. And (of course) they are mobile! Because of their size, tablets can easily go with you anywhere. So whether you're traveling, or waiting for a doctor's appointment, as long as you have your tablet, you'll never be bored.


Here are three things to consider when purchasing a tablet:


• Manufacturer/Operating system. iOS, Android, or Windows are the three primary operating systems for tablets. Amazon and Google also offer their own version of tablets. Deciding which system is best for you will take some research. But here is one tip to help you: consider getting an operating system that matches your smart phone. This will make transitioning between them easy and seamless. It will also allow you to share purchased apps between devices.


• Storage space. This determines how many media files (such as photos, videos, books, movies, etc.) will fit on your tablet. I would recommend a minimum of 16 gigs of storage if you want to make the most out of your purchase. Some tablets even go up to 128 gigs now. But remember: mo' storage, mo' money.


• Size. A smaller tablet is usually lighter and easier to carry with you. Still, a 7" screen on your tablet isn't much bigger than some smart phones. A larger tablet can provide a better experience for watching movies, viewing websites, and word processing. But it usually comes with a heftier price tag as well. You'll have to weigh the options and decide which size will best fit your preferences and lifestyle.


An external battery pack/charger. These come in many forms. Some are made for specific devices and attach seamlessly like a case as they provide extra hours of usage. Others are generalized and more flexible. You plug your device in to charge it just like you would plug it in to a wall outlet. Because these accommodate any device with a USB, they are basically universal. Use it to charge your tablet, phone, camera, or any other accessory that needs a charge. These are perfect for when you'll be away from an outlet for an extended period of time - especially if it's unexpected (like a delayed flight). Just keep in mind that most tablets need at least two amps of output to charge. These can vary in price, but depending on your preferences, you should be able to find one for less than $20.


Extra storage. You're probably familiar with thumb drives. I remember my first thumb drive held 56 megabytes of storage. These days, they can store several gigs of information. But did you know that you can now get a pocket sized external hard drive that communicates with your mobile device via Wi-Fi and can store up to two terabytes of media? That is 2,000 gigs of storage! This is handy to a traveler for so many reasons. You won’t have to slow down your tablet by maxing out its storage capacity. You won’t have to limit the number of songs, movies, or books that you take with you. (With two terabytes of storage, you can take everything!) Also, you can upload all of your photos and videos instantly while on your trip.


With these three gadgets as your foundation, your media options will be endless! Remember to come back and read the next two blogs as I tell you how to optimize your gadgets for the best TV/movie experience while traveling and how to document every aspect of your trip with ease.

Have you read Part 3? Documenting Your Memories