As co-hosts of Midlife Road Trip, we are frequently interviewed about a variety of travel topics. We are almost always asked which items we consider essential when packing for a trip. Our answers have changed over the years primarily because of experience and technology. We thought it would be fun to compare our travel essentials then, and now.
THEN: Laptop – Whether traveling by planes, trains, or automobiles, bringing a laptop was essential for turning travel time into productive time. The laptop allowed us to edit photos, reply to emails, surf the web, listen to music, play games and stay in touch while away from the office.
NOW: Tablet – We never thought we could travel without a laptop until Verizon provided us with a Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet to evaluate. We’ve found that on the road, not only could we do the same things we were doing on our laptop, it weighs less, takes up considerably less space, has a longer lasting battery and can still access 3G and 4G networks if WiFi is not available!
THEN: DSLR Camera & GPS – Since we’re in the business of chronicling our travels, having a good camera and the ability to get where we needed to go without getting lost is essential. So we always brought along a DSLR camera and a portable GPS that we could plug into a cigarette lighter.
NOW: Smartphone – Today we are able to replace our cameras and GPS with our smartphones. The camera in our Nokia Lumia Icon shoots 20 megapixel images and HD video! That’s more than our DSLR.
THEN: Prescription Sunglasses – We used to always bring prescription sunglasses on our trips so that we could protect our eyes, read our scripts and hide the bags under our eyes while we were on camera.
NOW: Cheap Sunglasses – After losing, breaking or forgetting about 3 pair of expensive sunglasses, we’ve started bringing cheap sunglasses. Experience is a great teacher.
THEN: Head Phones – Big, noise-canceling head phones were always great for listening to music, editing video or monitoring audio while videotaping.
NOW: Ear buds – At our age, we like to travel light and cheap so we’ve started using ear buds that still provide great quality at a fraction of the size and price.
THEN: Extension Cord – Many of us charge our cell phones over night. We also use them as an alarm clock. There seems to be a world wide conspiracy to place power outlets too far from the bed to be able to hit the snooze button without having to get out of bed, so we’d always pack an extension cord.
NOW: Power Pack – Now we can charge our phones anywhere with a Motorola Power Pack Slim 4000 (thanks to Verizon).
THEN: Corkscrew – One of our money saving tips is to purchase wine from a local retailer and enjoy it at your hotel rather than at a restaurant. Unfortunately not all hotels have corkscrews for guest and before you can begin savoring your wine, you have to go back out and purchase a corkscrew, thereby negating your savings. After amassing a small collection of corkscrews, we added a corkscrew to our list of essential travel gear.
NOW: Corkscrew – Until someone develops a corkscrew app for a smartphone, we’re leaving a corkscrew on our list. Some things never change.
What’s on your list of travel essentials?