If you want to backpack the world and keep your backpack small and under 30 pounds there are several things you have to leave at home. For me, an easy choice was my beloved MacBook. While my laptop is fabulous, it's heavy, bulky, not exactly water proof, and I know I would be upset if it was stolen, lost, or broken.
Even though I don't have a laptop, I, of course, want to stay in touch with the Internet, send emails, keep up with the news, etc. But, I really don't want to do all of this while paying for an Internet cafe or using a computer in the lobby of a hotel.
Insert the iPod touch. My iPod is most definitely one of my favorite travel items and after doing some app adding I have definitely customized this sucker for travel.
With regular internet connection it's easy to stay in touch with what's happening in the world.
-New York Times (mostly free. There is a pay wall for any articles that are not top stories)
-The Economist (not free at all but subscribing to the online only version is relatively cheap)
I see that my news sources maybe are slanted in one specific political direction. But honestly, I just can't bring myself to even search for an app that's for a news source that aligns itself with Sarah Palin (**shudder**). But maybe I should add The Wall Street Journal to balance things out? Not to mention support my friend Mary who is a WSJ reporter in Berlin. (Check out her articles here!)
A book or two
Chris and I also use our iPods as digital libraries. We have copies of guidebooks, novels, and non-fiction always with us in our pockets. While I still have traded, borrowed, and bought books I love having the electronic guidebook with me. Nothing marks you as a vunerable tourist more than staring into a Lonely Planet on the side of the street.
The other stuff
- daily yoga app so I can get my stretch on (free. See the pattern now?)
- global convert-- this app is awesome. It not only can work between pounds to kilos (damn you metric system!), it converts currency and updates the exchange rate every time you connect to the Internet! (Fahhh-ree-heee)
- social media apps so I can keep a tab on my people and maybe do a little stalking of those Halloween costumes you'll all be sporting this weekend (ok, who's going to be the sexy cop this year?)
- free magazines like Elle and More (yes, I do realize that I'm not in their target "older woman" demographic but it was free, damnit!)
Anda suka belajar banyak bahasa? (translation from Indonesian: "do you like studying many languages?")
Whenever I arrive in a new country I like to come prepared with a few key phrases and a basic understanding of numbers. World Nomads, one of the world's largest travel insurance providers, has a series of apps for almost every major language from Arabic to Swahili to Vietnamese.
These FREE (whoop whoop!) apps provide basic translation of helpful sentences, numbers, and some even provide audio to help with pronunciation.
On the not so free side, one of the most helpful learning apps I've ever used is Anki. Anki is a online flash card program that already has thousands of card decks loaded. It's a free download for your computer but a hefty $25.00 app. While that's a huge amount of money the Anki app has help Chris and I more than any other language guide out there.