Between going on holiday and business travel, there are certain things I always do when traveling. Packing doesn’t stress me out, I don’t have checklists and pack a few hours before my flight – even on my first international trip when I left South Africa to live in the UK (in 2004), I packed my life on the day.
Today I keep two toiletry bags, one for local flights and one for international. The local one is super super compact because I only fly with hand luggage.
Image credit: Shutterstock
So, given the years I’ve been packing combined with how tech has evolved and how I use it to work for me, I decided to share my top five tech travel hacks. If it helps any of you on your next trip, you’re welcome 😉 This is all based on my habits and how fussy I am, haha.
I take my own TV series
I rarely use the in-flight entertainment on a plane unless there’s a new movie that I wanted to watch and didn’t get around to it. For the most part, I use offline play on Netflix, or download stuff and load it onto my iPad Mini. (Showmax let me down three times too many so I’ve since deleted the app). I know this is minor, but when I’m watching my own stuff, I don’t have to be bothered by announcements that pause my screen (we have stopped serving drinks due to turbulence; we will resume our inflight service shortly; please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts immediately) or reboots to the system.
I use a phone wallet for travel
I don’t buy forex when I travel because I swipe my credit card at most places, or withdraw cash from local ATMs in wherever I am. Because of this, I switch to a phone cover that is a folio style so it holds my cards inside the phone cover (not the ones visible on the outside). It is always on my person and it’s as safe as can be, without having to fumble in my bag for my wallet. It’s super convenient to an extent that I haven’t switched to my normal cover for a few months now.
I use a tech organiser for my stuff
I received a Knomo tech organiser at an iStore event and it has since replaced another bag I had to store all my charging cables, adaptors, plugs, power banks, dongles etc. This bag is always with me in my hand luggage so I can access it at any time. When you’re flying on a slightly older plane, the USB charging ports are a bit slow, so I opt to use the plug point instead. The organiser also holds other little important bits I carry with me; there are slots for everything.
I screenshot all my docs
I have three methods of putting important documents on my phone: screenshots; snapping photos of docs; and using a scanner app. I permanently have passport and visa copies on my phone (Dropbox); so I just add itineraries for business trips; hotels + addresses I’m staying at; travel insurance info, etc for each trip. This comes in handy when I’m filling in forms on the plane prior to landing, along with keeping a pen in my bag. It is also useful if you get a passport control official who wants to know the reason for your travel – I show them the info from my phone.
I never leave without my OneAdaptr
I recently purchased a replacement Twist World Charging Station at Hong Kong Airport, for a product OneAdaptr sent me before it reached its Kickstarter goal in 2015 (read my review here). It’s a single adaptor that works anywhere in the world with a twist mechanism, hence its name, but the important thing is that it has 4x USB ports that are fast charging. I travel with so many things that need to be charged and this cuts down the time, plus amount of plugs for various sockets. This pic is dated but you can see how useful it is. This was before I started wearing a smartwatch. Pro Tip: if you don’t have that many outputs on your plug, just use the USB ports on your hotel TV.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. I’m usually unashamedly taking food photos (@nafisaeats on IG).