I’ve done quite a bit of travelling overseas for what I would consider an extended stay, though not necessarily in any one location for a long period of time. During a 7 week trip in Fiji, I stayed in more than 6 locations, some multiple times. I had brought my laptop computer with me for the journey, in part to carry some music, in part to store photos. Sure, occasionally it was used to write an email before actually putting the email on a USB stick and heading to the internet café, but this was the exception. The laptop was able to store all of my photos, as well as those of my traveling companions, but it was certainly bulky and a lot of extra weight for as much as it got used. All of my emailing could have been handled at a café. Is there a way to travel long term without the need to lug around a laptop?
On a more recent journey I made, I had the luxury of bringing an Apple iPod™ with me. I found numerous benefits to having this device with me, and it’s likely that they aren’t exclusive to the iPod™. First to note on any high capacity mp3 player you might travel with is the amount of music you can carry with you. I’m all for getting into the culture of wherever it is you may be traveling, but having some music from home can go a long way in keeping you from getting homesick. Gone are the days of carrying around a portable CD player along with perhaps ten or even twenty albums. Mp3 players take up less room and weight than all of the above and can fit far more music onto them. Not to mention, they are easily recharged with a wall adapter or nearby computer with a USB port.
I suppose the music feature is a tad too obvious though. What really makes these devices great is the ability to use the storage space for other things as well. With the iPod™, anytime I load up the accompanying software, I have the option to “enable disk use.” Doing so will let me put anything I could think of on there, from a text file of my grocery list to photos and videos and more. Any type of file you have, you can store on there. Possibly, it can even help transcribe MP3 to text.
For that reason, I’d recommend getting the most storage space you can afford. If found that when shooting photos with even a 6 megapixel camera, and possibly a bit of video, it’s easy to start chewing up several gigabytes worth of space. Now that my camera shoots at 10.1 megapixels and saves RAW images, it takes even more. Having plenty of storage space will allow you to save these images to your music player without having to worry about sizing them down first, or sorting out the photos you don’t want to keep until later. Transferring the photos over is as easy as visiting your local internet café and copying the photos from one device to the other. Since you are not using any internet bandwidth to do this, the cost should be the same as if you were just using a computer for word processing.
The other great use for this enabled disk space is the ability to use “portable applications.” Essentially, portable applications are programs that can be run without having to be installed first. They run directly from whatever device their files sit on. I like to carry around a copy of Firefox ™, complete with all my personal bookmarks and extensions from home. Not only do I have the convenience of my personal web browser with me, but I also gain a bit of privacy by not having any information stored to the computer I am using. Other portable applications are available from email clients to photo editors. Gone are the days of needing to carry around a 6 pound laptop plus accessories and a special case. The music players of today can meet all of your storage needs and let you listen to your tunes at the same time.