We personally use and highly recommend the following items. As we continue our adventures and broaden our horizons we will update the list. We’ve included links to make it easy to purchase and/or see pictures and reviews.
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Cell Phone Car Mount – Since we use our phones as GPS when in new areas, a car mount to safely navigate while driving is essential. The Abco Magnetic Car Mount works with any phone, and is awesome! We’ve been frustrated with vent mounts because they slide around or don’t fit in the vents properly if not horizontally aligned. Vent mounts also tend to be large, which makes them inconvenient to pack. Window mounted holders require glues or suction cups, which don’t hold well and need to be adjusted from vehicle to vehicle. The Abco mount hangs on to any vent regardless of alignment, is easy to put on and remove, is very small and easy to pack, and has a strong magnet that securely holds your phone in place. It is the perfect phone mount.
Car Charger – Have you noticed that your older car chargers can’t keep up with the newer cellphones and tablets? This is because they have 0.5 amp power sources and most newer phones and tablets require 1.0 to 2.0 amps. The Arcadia Car Charger takes a single charging port in your vehicle and turns it into 3 USB ports that each have outputs of 2.0 amps or more. This keeps both of our phones charging fast between stops so we have plenty of juice to take pictures and videos when on foot.
Bluetooth FM Transmitter – Do you drive or rent cars that aren’t Bluetooth capable? If so, you will want this. The VicTsing FM Transmitter connects to your phone via Bluetooth and transmits the audio over FM. Simply tune your car radio to the same station it is transmitting on and listen to Pandora, Google Play Music, locally stored music, audio books, GPS navigation or any other sounds coming from your phone through your car speakers. This device made driving my older vehicles feel like I was driving a new car with all the modern entertainment options.
Jump Starter with Built in Compressor – This Jump Starter has plenty of juice to charge your cell phones, pump up your bicycle tires, and can even power a DC fan all night long. It’s always in the car in case we need a jump. We also use it extensively when truck camping.
Packing Cubes – eBags Packing Cubes (Medium) are helpful in organizing items and maximizing space which is great for backpacking or luggage, particularly since most airlines charge for extra baggage.
Reusable Collapsible Water Flask – As long as it is empty, you can bring a water bottle or pouch through airport security. Save money your whole trip by refilling it everywhere you go. We like the collapsible kind so we can pack them in our bags if need be.
Screen Casting – The Tronsmart T1000 lets you take all of the content available on your phone (videos, pictures, Netflix, youtube) and play it on any TV with an HDMI input. This inexpensive device does this perfectly without the need for a router, as it can use wifi-direct technology allowing the phone and the T1000 to connect directly to each other (unlike other products like the google chromecast). The wifi-direct capability is necessary when away from home and not bringing a router with you. Its small size makes it convenient to bring when traveling, although I think it’s great for everyday use as well. The T1000 is particularly handy when in a country where the TV channels available are broadcasting in a language you don’t speak. Ignore the mediocre reviews as most of the complaints don’t apply if you update the firmware when you get it. Updating the firmware is very easy to do after you connect the device to your wifi network via the on-screen menu.
E-Reader – I like to read poolside, and when outside, a cell phone or tablet isn’t easy to see. The Amazon Kindle is the best device for this. No glare, easy on the eyes, incredible battery life, and even the ability to checkout library books and transfer them to yourself over wifi! If you plan to do lots of reading at night or in darker locations, I would get the Amazon Kindle with Built-in Light.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) – For a few bucks a month, we use a VPN service called Private Internet Access that works on up to 5 devices. A VPN encrypts your data and anonymizes your location. This is useful when on open wifi networks where other users could easily spy on your web connection. With a VPN, your connection is completely safe and anonymous. The VPN also allows us to choose where other websites think we are located, which makes US specific sites work while in another country. The VPN also works when in a country that limits the internet access of its citizens (think China or North Korea) allowing you access to all of the internet. Their services works on iOS, Android and Windows and is super simple to setup.
Web Hosting – After doing quite a bit of research, we settled on HostGator for our web hosting needs. Unlimited storage and bandwidth come standard on all their plans. They are a great combination of cost and performance for the average personal website. Use our coupon code “dangtravelers” and save an additional 25%.
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