Tech devices

Hello, I'm interested in backpacking/hosteling in Europe for several weeks. I'd like a light weight device to skype, blog, take photos, use a GPS, and keep in touch with friends and family. A lap top seems too heavy and cumbersome. Can I use a smart phone for these purposes? Any suggestions?

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa, CA, USA
149 posts

Yes, but a smartphone is a little small for blogging - I'd suggest a Tablet PC or the mini ipad.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

You certainly can use a smartphone for all of those applications, but data usage can by pricey if you aren't careful. Stick to using it only in wifi areas to save those costs. I use the Blogger app to do my blogging when I am out and about (though I also carry a netbook), but only over wifi. A netbook would allow you to use video calling with Skype, and would be great for uploading your pictures for storage. My netbook weighs less than 3 pounds and has a 10" screen.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7209 posts

I really like my Ipod touch. Wifi is widely available now all over Europe, so you can make calls (Skype or Face to Face), check email, take and send photos - plus listen to music or watch videos, get news, get directions and maps, make reservations, use it as a travel alarm, etc. in one tiny package. I supplement the Ipod with a very inexpensive local Sim card in my cheap travel phone I bought in Europe (to replace a Motorola Razr that died a few years ago). A smartphone can accomplish the same tasks, but make sure you don't set yourself up for a nightmare bill because you used data while you were roaming.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Actually a Smartphone CAN work for blogging. If you have trouble typing on the phone, there are small fold up bluetooth keyboards that can be purchased for the iPhone. If not, I'd suggest a small tablet or the mini iPad.

Posted by terry
44 posts

Yeah the mini Ipad would be ideal. Then again there are many great small tablets on market that are not as highly priced as the Ipad. Having said that I have an Ipad, and very very happy with it. Think it be wise to go to a store, and try them out. Yeah I would not want to take a laptop either.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
912 posts

A load of electronic gizmos will become a real security concern in hostels. You can't just plug devices in to charge in a public place for a couple hours and walk away.

Posted by Ed
7976 posts

I don't think Southam's concern applies in rural hostels. Generally there's laptops and tablets scattered all over the beds when folks are out. Everything gets piggybacked on a couple of outlets and people just check to see what's full and deplug and set it to the side to get a turn. Walk into the common room first thing in the morning and it looks like an electronics store. But nobody's gotten up yet. Urban hostels ? Beats me.