Technology, applications, and miscellaneous gear. These are the remaining items that I bring for a successful trip.
Traveling with a cellphone can be difficult and costly when it comes to connectivity and high costs. Google Fi resolves this issue by providing connectivity in 120+ countries, in which all of North and South America are covered. With a 20$ a month connectivity plan and reimbursable data plans of 10$ per GB, I can travel stress free of surcharges or SIM card procuring. The device can also function as a hotspot, allowing me to transmit data whenever I find an appropriate signal. Check out my Google Fi – International Cellphone post for more information.
You can save money by just using your smartphone or a simple point-and-shoot camera, but for true detail photography a DSLR is best. This is my second Nikon and I still do not know enough about it, though my skills have improved. These cameras and the lenses can be heavy, so I compromised by only bringing one lens (18-140mm). This camera also has built in WiFi to allow you to transfer photos to your phone and even remotely control/preview from your phone.
While it is not necessary, having a tripod has been the main reason I have been able to capture the photos I have taken. This tripod is lightweight and small, making it perfect for the motorcycle. It has taken a few hits but its extremely durable. You can be creative with it and use it to support the bike during a tire change or act as a mounting point for a tarp.
I went a little excessive with this and didn’t approach the weight and usability for this trip. The tablet is very heavy, whereas some laptops are smaller and lighter with the same processing power. Touch screen broke three months in and it is very difficult to type with it resting in your lap. I do recommend a small tablet or laptop for this trip, but be aware of weight and cost.
Originally purchased for its built-in compass, the most useful features of this watch is elevation and sunrise/sunset timetable. This data is needed when looking for a comfortable place to camp and approximately what time it will start getting too dark to ride. Waterproof and durable. Most research showed people complaining about dead batteries and broken straps. I’ve worn it for nearly a year straight without any repair.
I prefer the GoPro sessions due to ease of use and small size. These little black boxes are harder to see from a distance and reduce your chance of robbery when using it. Additionally, push once to record and again to stop is the easiest approach when riding and recording. Waterproof without the need of an outside case, but be warned that when scuba diving it is possible for the pressure of the water to depress the button.
Photos, videos, movies, books, music, documents, and just anything else can take up a lot of space on your other devices. By using this small external hard drive I can ensure I have all of my documents in one spot backed up. Be sure to use google drive or another online storage program to backup your photos just in case the hard drive fails.
Battery packs are heavy, but when using multiple devices it can help you manage charging time. While riding you can let the battery charge, leaving it full at night to recharge all of your devices at the end of the day. Tip: Use really strong velcro to mount the battery inside a pannier.
Below is a list of all the mobile applications I use that help me throughout the world.
iOverlander – Traveling database by other overlanders. Find border details, hostel recommendations, and campsite recommendations.
WhatsApp – Text and Phone service used throughout the world. If you get a local SIM card, some have specials in which WhatsApp use is data free.
Spotify – I am a person who is addicted to music, especially when riding. Spotify has great subscription rates to have access to unlimited amount of music. I was originally afraid of regional restrictions, but did not come across it at all during my North and South America Trip.
Instagram – Simple enough, I use this to research other Instagram accounts and hashtags to find unique destinations and food throughout a country. I also post photos there, I guess.
GoPro Capture – This is the GoPro application that connects to your GoPro devices so that you can preview the current view, download data, and change settings. Its an amazing tool that helps me seamlessly download my footage.
XE Currency – When crossing through multiple currency zones it can be hard to remember the exchange rate. Use this application to help stay up-to-date with the current rate.
HostelWorld – Typically I don’t book the hostel, but show up to see if they have parking and availability. This can help you price out hostel costs for the popular cities.
CouchSurfing – Live with locals for free. A great resource to have a truly unique experience with like minded people.
Google Maps – It is a bit of work, but download the maps offline to save data and know your way.
Maps.Me – Offline mapping with the greatest detail in the most remote locations.
Google Translate – You can download languages offline to make for easy translations. This helps when looking at a menu or desperately to to explain to police officers why you don’t want to go to jail.
Pimsleur – Audio based language immersion training. It can help you learn a language quickly.
TinyScanner – Take photos of documents with your phone as if you had scanned them. Its a great tool to have to ensure you have digital copies of all your important paperwork.
Amazon Kindle – Save space and weight with digital books. I also bought a digital version of my motorcycle manual.