If you’re planning to travel abroad for your gap year, you’re probably already getting excited and putting a packing list together. Don’t forget to pack these gadgets to make sure you enjoy your trip to the fullest!
1. A USB thumb drive. If you’re not planning on bringing a computer (which, depending on where you travel, is probably a wise decision), a small USB stick with plenty of memory will keep all your documents, photos, and more safe and sound but still easily portable.
2. A good flashlight. Power grids in many non-Western countries are highly sensitive and can cut out in the blink of an eye, especially during inclement weather. In some remote areas, a little rain is enough to cause a brownout or full-on blackout – so you’ll definitely want to be prepared. You may even find yourself going on a nighttime rainforest tours to check out the nocturnal flora and fauna; a flashlight is invaluable during these trips.
3. A camera. You’ll want to make your trip truly memorable by recording the most important moments. If you’re not a professional photographer, don’t bring an SLR; a small point-and-shoot camera will suffice. Make sure your camera case doesn’t display any expensive brand names.
4. A phone. You may or may not want to bring your smartphone. If you do, make sure you turn off data roaming and take extra precautions against theft. However, it can also make sense to purchase a classic “brick” cellphone or use an old flip phone with a new SIM card.
5. A cheap laptop. While this may sound counterintuitive, a small, inexpensive netbook (even secondhand) can be a godsend. Traveling with a netbook is especially useful if all you’re going to need to do is browse the internet and use a word processor. The smaller your investment, the smaller the likelihood of it being stolen. Regardless, make sure you back up all your data every day. As with your camera, make sure the laptop case doesn’t display a brand name or any bright colors that might draw attention to it.
6. Universal adapters. Any device you bring with you will inevitably need to be charged, and different countries have different requirements for chargers. It’s a good idea to invest in an adapter that has a built in surge protector in case of fluctuating electricity – or you’ll run the risk of completely frying your camera, laptop, or phone.
When you begin packing for your gap year abroad, the most important piece of advice to follow is to bring only the essentials. You’ll likely want to purchase souvenirs, so packing light will allow more room for any new purchases. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not lugging a heavy backpack through the rainforest.