Family Travel Tech: Travel gear for the digital family
Technology has evolved so that devices are smaller, faster and a lot less intrusive. Gone are the days of the bulky camera bag and the 10 minute wait time to get that perfect shot. Having tech that is easy to use and efficient really allows for great content creation to be made. When traveling with your family, you really want to make sure you chose the right tech for the job.
As traveling content creators, one of the main issues found is the portability of the tech and how invasive it is to the traveling experience. Traveling is an experience-based activity and if the tech is affecting the experience it will be difficult to document authentic and engaging travel experiences. Size, ease of use, power consumption, and price are some characteristics that affect choices when buying travel tech for your family.
Here is a list of the family travel tech that we like to take on our adventures.
Most poeple have phones, and they use it on a daily basis. But a phone while traveling is a valuable family travel tool. It allow you to have access to many useful tools while on a trip. Some of travel tools that our family uses are are Google Maps, Google, WhatsApp, Instagram and Camera.
I know that a lot of Apple enthusiasts aren’t going to like this one, and I really wasn’t keen on trading in my iPhone for the Google Pixel , but I can tell you, it’s one of the best things I’ve done. Picture this. You’re taking a video of your kids having a blast at the beach when all of a sudden you get the notice that your storage is full. You scramble to connect back up to iCloud and realize that the 5G storage that Apple gives you is full. You have two options; either pay to get a larger storage capacity or start deleting.
Not so with the Google Pixel lineup. Google provides unlimited storage for pictures and videos taken on the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Yes, you heard me correctly. Unlimited, high-quality photos and videos of your next vacation without having to downgrade quality or delete any pictures. Perfect, right?
The Pixel 3 makes a great travel companion for families that really love taking pictures and video on-the-go. Google puts pride in their camera technology and has proven that they can provide consumers with one of the best smart phone cameras in the market.
DJI Osmo Pocket
I’m not going to lie. After getting my Canon DSLR camera a few years ago for Christmas, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make a switch over to a compact camera. In fact, I was totally against it. But I was getting a bit tired of having to carry around my Canon and making sure that it was always safe – especially when traveling with the kids. Queue in DJI’s Osmo Pocket – the latest and greatest in compact camera technology and a new addition to our family travel tech list.
The Osmo Pocket is not meant to replace a full DSLR or even a GoPro – it’s in a different category altogether. As one of the smallest 3-axis stabilized handheld cameras it is a great travel companion for content creators. It’s relatively inexpensive ($350 USD) and if you are making high-quality, 4K YouTube videos or fast-paced home videos of your family, the Osmo will definitely do the job.
I saw a huge difference in our video quality with the Osmo Pocket in comparison to the video that was taken with our phone. The built-in gimbal gives videos the stability needed to provide that professional look. In addition, the Osmo offers face-tracking. Our kids are always moving and bouncing off the walls and the Osmo was able to track all their movements while keeping the video stable.
The best part about it? It is so small. I mean really, really small! Small enough to carry in your purse, hip pack, or even pant pocket. When traveling, it is sometimes really hard to hold bulkier cameras while trying to take a high-quality video. There may be too many people, not enough space, or even a kid who is hanging off your arm. With the Osmo Pocket, you can alleviate all that frustration and have your video set up in seconds.
DJI Mavic Air
Is a travel video even real if you don’t have an amazing aerial shot of the view? Drones are the latest and greatest travel tech devices used in digital video content. They are fun to use and make for some seriously cool shots. My son loved it, he looked forward to fly time. DJI’s Mavic Air fits the bill in what a great drone should be and is included in our family travel gear.
The Mavic Air’s size to quality ratio is fantastic. For its size, it delivers a serious punch when it comes to video and photo quality. The Mavic Air folds up and fits in the palm of your hands which makes it easy to pack in a carry-on, luggage or backpack. It can record 4K video and take HDR photos, along with other cool features that make it a great buy.
When traveling with the DJI Mavic Air consider buying additional batteries as each battery only lasts about fifteen minutes. Although flying drones when traveling can get complicated, particularly with flying restrictions, if done correctly you can get some great footage and have lots of fun.
When traveling with a drone it is very important to be informed regarding drone flying laws and local customs.
Laptop / Tablet
As a traveling wanderer it is important that you have the right tool for the job no matter where you are in the world, with that said, you’re definitely going to want something that’s compact, powerful and versatile. When we travel we include a labtop and maybe a tablet on our family travel gear list.
The surface line of computers made by Microsoft is my choice of computing device when traveling. The light and elegant design of the surface computers provide typical computing tasks such as light video editing, web design, and blogging. In addition, the convenient ability to use the device in tablet mode is always useful for casual use. I personally like traveling with the Surface Go. It can do anything a larger laptop can do with a convenient size and low power consumption. The deal breaker is its price. The Surface Go is not as expensive as the other models in the Surface lineup, which makes it good for traveling. I wouldn’t want to bring a big, expensive laptop on my adventures, I would be too afraid of losing and breaking it. Who has the time to sit in front of a laptop while on a trip anyway?
Outlet Power Converter
Outlet Power Converter
Poweradd Outlet Power Converter
This is a very important topic and research is essential to keeping your travel tech working properly during those family outings. Most electronic devices are both 110V and 220V compatible, meaning that manufacturers are becoming very economic and ensuring that their products work in all parts of the world. Take a sneak peek at the label of the device, it’s usually a sticker locked at the back of the unit. Here you will find details regarding is volt compatibility. If it mentions 110v-220v then you are safe to use a power adapter without a power converter. However, if the device only shows either 110v or 220v you will require a converter to change the amount of voltage that the device will receive from the outlet. This is important because the last thing you want to do is short out your expensive gear.
Travel Power Adapter
Travel Power Adapter
This is an absolute necessity when traveling, so it is important to do the research. Different regions of the world have a different outlet configuration and will require an outlet adapter to make your plugs fit. The simple solution is to purchase a universal adapter that fits all outlets and all plugs from the different outlet standard of the world. Note that this has nothing to do with electricity, a Power Converter handles that. The adapter allows a prong configuration of a plug to be converted to a different prong configuration. Just remember that it is important to check if the devices you are plugging in can be charged with a 110v or 220v outlet. The last thing you want to do is damage your families tech while traveling.
Power Bar Extension Cord
Power Bar Extension Cord
A small convenient power bar with a little length of an extension is very useful. Many hotels and AirBnB’s don’t have easy access outlets or only have one located near the refrigerator or behind a 3000-pound dresser. Well, we found that having an extension cord is a convenient way to comfortably organize all our family’s travel tech in a safe way while charging.
Anker USB Charger PowerPort 5
With so many tech devices for the entire family, it sometimes becomes difficult to find charging ports and outlets for everyone while on th go. Charging port or charging stations as some people may call them are a convenient way to get all your tech essentials powered up all at once. An important factor to consider is the ratio between the total power output and the number of ports provided. Usually, the total amount of output power is advertised and the consumer is left to wonder if the device will provide a sufficient amount of energy to each of the devices plugged in. Modern power ports such as the Anker PowerPort come with IQ technology which is smart enough to know how much energy to provided each unit that is plugged in. So, for example, the 40W that the Anker provides is shared amongst all 5 ports or at a max of 12W per port. If you are using fewer ports, those ports have the option to reach a faster-charging capability.
A power bank is a must-have for any traveller. This portable device can benefit the whole family on a trip. The last thing you want is your camera, phone, or tablet to run out of power. I personally like a power bank that has an output capability of at least 45W. Most devices don’t need this type of power output, 10W – 14W is more than enough. However, I like to be able to connect my laptops (Surface) or Drone (DJI Air) to the power bank and get a quick charge from it. Many power bank manufacturers offer a variety of capacities measured in mAh (milliAmp/hours). The size that I like is a large 20,000mAh or more is a good amount of power storage. To put this into perspective a Google Pixel is approximately 3,000mAh. So, my phone can be charged at least 6 times with a full power bank. This is good since families travel with lots of tech that require charging at any given time or place.
However, I also like to bring a small power bank with me while I am out for the day. I found that 10,000mAh is plenty for a day out just to keep your phone charged and other small electronics. The larger power bank is used only when I am out for a long period of time or on traveling days.
We have pretty much similar travel tech list. We always have the phones which are these days the essential travel accessory. Two cameras, one is a waterproof point and shoot cam and another is the go pro for under water and action videos. We don’t bring laptops or similar. The largest gadget is probably a Kindle. Also chargers for all these, plus travel surge protector, a night light that is also a USB plug, wired (for plane) and wireless earphones.
I definitely want to get a waterproof point and shoot camera in the near future. Can you suggest a good one? Which one do you have?