As an experienced traveller I am amazed how my packing list has changed, with so many electronic devices taking up space in my luggage. During a recent visit to Kaya’s volunteering and internship projects in southern Africa I took my must-have electronic items. For my next adventure I will pack a little differently.
Here are my recommendations for the top 10 electronics to pack when volunteering abroad:
- Network free smart phone, so you can purchase a local SIM card and data bundle to keep you connected
- Digital camera so you can make the most of exciting and once in a lifetime photo opportunities
- USB port so you can store your contact info and share photos
- Kindle so that you can read on the beach, in the evenings, or on long flights or bus trips
- Lightweight laptop or Ipad for you to record your learning experiences, write blogs and more
- Universal adaptor that you can use in different locations
- Battery pack that you can use to charge other devises when power is low / off
- Multi USB connector so you can use more than one device at once e.g. camera uploads and Ipod
- Torch with rechargeable batteries for you to keep safe at night. Roommates will not appreciate you turning the light on at 5 am, as you head out for your morning game count!
- Plug in mosquito repellent, which you will find especially useful in beachside and jungle locations
Don’t forget that you should take care of your belongings in accommodation, on bus trips/trains and in public places. You should check that your personal travel insurance covers your electronic, even if it means paying a little extra. People in many destinations will have a lot less than you; the value of your device may exceed someone’s annual salary. Can you imagine how tempting it would be if you left your electronic devices lying around…
Gone are the days when you can rely on book exchanges in your hostel and, with Wifi connection not always being reliable enough for keeping social media and family updated, the list of must-have items has changed. With so many gadgets to choose from and baggage weight restrictions in place it is important to only pack the essentials, especially if you are doing a long term, multi-centre or gap year trip.
Which electronics are the most important to you when you travel or volunteer abroad?