Tech for travelling: Because you can only carry so much

Whether you're off on a massive holiday or popping out of town on a short business trip, you need our expert advice to find out what tech to take with you

To ensure you get some of the best technology coverage in the world, Crave travels quite a bit -- which means we regularly get to test stuff out on the road. But after all this testing, what do we think is the best all-round travel kit out there?

Crumpler Warm Shower laptop and camera bag
Before we delve into the world of travel-friendly tech, let's start with the bag you'll need to carry all this gear around in. Our gadget bag of choice has to be the Crumpler Warm Shower laptop and photo bag (pictured top).

We love the cosily named Warm Shower because it has all the compartments we need to store our laptop, dSLR and other gadgets safely, and most importantly it's comfortable to wear.

Our only niggle with it is that there could be a few more external pockets for storing bits and pieces that you need quick access to. You can pick up a Crumpler Warm Shower from several online retailers, including itchyfeet.com for around £100.

Click through for our top travel selections. 

Nokia N82
If you're trotting off to distant lands, being able to keep in touch with your pals, colleagues and loved ones is not only good for bragging, it's sometimes essential. Although definitely not the most attractive handset out there, we think the Nokia N82 makes a great travel buddy.

The N82 offers quad-band connectivity, so it'll work almost everywhere in the world. A high-quality 5-megapixel snapper with xenon flash will let you take the odd snapshot if you're in a rush. Plus it's got 3G, so you can browse the Net on it -- watch out for those pricey data roaming charges, though.

But the N82's best feature when it comes to helping you along on your quest is its GPS functionality, which works beautifully. It's available to buy for free on a monthly contract with several networks, or for around £400 from the Nokia online shop.

Toshiba Portege R500 ultra-portable laptop
We would be lost without a laptop, but rather than carry about a massive beast such as the HP Pavilion HDX9000 , we're rather partial to the Toshiba R500 when it comes to travelling -- especially since it only weighs 779g.

The R500's lightness and thinness makes it perfect for popping into a bag -- and unlike the Macbook Air, the R500 has three USB ports, a built-in DVD drive and built-in Ethernet port.

We recently took it out to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we used it to blog on the move. We found the keypad easy to type on and got at least 3 hours of battery power out of it every day, which suited us fine.

Our only concern is that the chassis is a little on the thin side and does flex a little, but as long as you're carrying it around in a protective case or bag, such as the Crumpler Warm Shower, it shouldn't present any problems.

The R500 comes in two flavours, a hard-disk version and a solid-state version. The latter is lighter but costs slightly more and only holds 64GB of data. Both versions come in at about £1,000 and can be purchased from several online retailers.

Vodafone USB modem 7.2
We couldn't live without our laptops, but neither could we survive without the Internet, which is why we like to carry a USB data dongle with us at all times. Recently we've been testing out the Vodafone USB modem 7.2 , which boasts speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.

During our tests we didn't manage to reach those speeds -- it's more of a theoretical maximum -- but it was certainly fast enough to keep in touch with HQ at all times. USB data dongles come on a monthly contract, like phones, so make sure it's the right package for you -- and be warned that data roaming can be extortionate, so check with your network before using it abroad.

You can pick up a data dongle for as little as £10 a month. Make sure to shop around before settling on any deal, and make sure to ask how much data allowance you get every month and how much it will cost to use it abroad. Alternatively, if the thought of toting dongles around sounds annoying, there are several laptops with built-in data cards, such as the Panasonic Toughbook CF-W7 . They let you plug a SIM card straight into them, cutting out the need for an external device.

Canon EOS 400D dSLR camera
If you want to remember your adventures with some seriously good pictures, you need to get yourself a dSLR -- accept no replacements. But rather than carry around a huge mammoth of a camera, you can go for something like the Canon EOS 400D.

We like the 400D because it's capable of producing great images but it's not heavy or big, so it'll fit in a backpack without much hassle. It's also a relatively easy camera to understand, but it has a plethora of advanced settings should you need them.

You can pick a Canon 400D up from several online retailers from £400 to £500, which is at the lower spend end by dSLR standards. Alternatively, if you want something much smaller and more robust, the almost indestructible Olympus mju 790 SW is worth having a look at -- we were seriously impressed with how tough it is.

Samsung VP-HMX10C/XEU HD camcorder
Samsung might not be a name you naturally associate with camcorders, but its latest one, the VP-HMX10 , is rather good. We like to shoot all our footage in hi-def, which it offers, but we also need something light and easy to carry about.

The HMX10 boasts a touchscreen, an LED photo light and it lets you record to microSDHC cards. Alternatively, there's a model that has 8GB of on-board memory, so you can record without the need to use a card.

What impressed us most about using the HMX10 was the picture quality, which was lovely and sharp. You can buy the VP-HMX10C/XEU for about £400 and the 8GB model for about £500 from several online retailers, including Amazon.

Apple iPod touch 32GB
If you're going to listen to music on the go, we thoroughly recommend the iPod touch 32GB . It's light, there are no moving parts, so it won't go all funny during a bumpy donkey ride, and it boasts a very good battery life.

We barely noticed it was in our pocket half the time and the sound quality is very good. But the touch's true star feature is its huge screen, which makes viewing videos on it a very enjoyable experience -- great for when you're stuck in a tent with a Welsh gale blowing outside.

Add to all of that Wi-Fi and a great Web browser and it becomes a valuable tool for accessing the Net at hotspots, particularly if you need to check flight details or train times. You can pick an iPod touch 32GB up for £329 from the Apple store.

Sennheiser PXC 350 headphones
You're almost ready to head off on your travels, but there's one more thing you'll need, and it'll make the journey all the more enjoyable -- a good pair of headphones. We've chosen the Sennheiser PXC 350 headphones for their terrific sound quality.

Another reason we like using the Sennheiser PXC 350s is that they offer superb sound cancellation, which as any seasoned traveller will know is very handy when you're on a noisy aeroplane or train.

It's another bit of kit we can't live without when we're travelling around and something we treasure deeply. You can pick a pair of Sennheiser PXC 350s up for about £230 from several online retailers, including Amazon. -Andrew Lim

 

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