Colin’s Travel Tech

Regular readers may notice that this is my first article in a while. Why, you may ask? I’ve been traveling throughout the eastern United States on business. Since June, I’ve spent more than 18 of 30 weeks on the road, in the air, or on a train. In that time, I honed my travel skills and, most importantly to we geeks, my travel kit.

This article aims to describe some of the necessities and nice-to-haves when traveling by car, train, or plane. I’ve got things from headsets to personal battery packs, so hopefully you’ll learn and thing or two and be even more prepared for your next trip.

Mobile Phone
The absolute most important part of traveling is having a device on which you can rely for communication on the go. It’s not just keeping in contact with loved ones which should be on your mind, but having a lifeline in an emergency and everything in between. Your friends or business contacts will almost always need to contact you by phone.

It’s incredibly convenient — if not mandatory in some cases — to have a smartphone with mobile data. Aside from the obvious things like e-mail and web browsing, there are lots of other reasons to have a smartphone: apps. A smartphone combined with a mapping application such as Google Maps can tell you where you are, where you want to go, and ensure that the cabbie’s not taking you for a ride!


I use a Google Nexus One on T-Mobile’s network. I find it to be quick and pleasing to the eye. Its battery lasts approximately 20 hours with light use, or approximately 4 hours of constant use. I play SNES on it and a few other Android games such as Air Control and Trap! and an excellent port of Frozen Bubble. I’ll not go into too much detail of my apps—if you’d like to see a full list, leave a comment and I’ll perhaps write a “my favorite Android apps” article as the resident ThinkComputers Android expert.

One neat smartphone lifehack which I have used on multiple occasions: OpenTable is a restaurant reservations application. It’s very easy to make a reservation for five minutes from the present, walk into the restaurant, and be seated immediately. Last time I did this, I avoided a 90 minute wait for dinner for two at an upscale Italian bistro in DC! This trick is probably doable for other reservation systems, but OpenTable is the one which I’ve used.

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