Travel can be super-exciting – or it can be fairly mundane if you do it a lot. Whether travelling for business, there’s nothing worse than forgetting those vital trip lifesavers. Opera Software, the Norwegian internet company that brought the world a range of Opera web browsers, has some handy tips to ensure a smooth journey, no matter where you go.
“Opera Software is a global company with offices or team members on just about every continent, so our staff travel a lot and really know how to do it right. We put our heads together to come up with some tips to help other people,” says Phillip Grønvold, product manager for Opera’s mobile browsers. “They say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey – and the journey need not be too uncomfortable, with a few small gadgets, tools and luxuries that can make travel a joy rather than be painful. In the past 12 months I have been on 81 flights, on 10 different airlines.”
Here is what Opera recommends:
- Decent earphones: Whether you are listening to your own tunes or watching the on-board entertainment, these will make a world of difference. While ambient noise blocking earphones are fantastic, they are also more expensive than other models. Earbuds may not be that comfortable for long-haul flights, so make sure you have the right ones for your trip. Whichever your choice is – sit back in comfort and enjoy sound that you like, without them falling off or other hassles.
- Keep your hand-luggage light: Everybody likes to read, but books can weigh a lot. It’s a lot more sensible to invest in a tablet or e-reader for reading. Some do a variety of other things, so one device could give you reading, tunes, work, games and movies all in one place. With such a range of models and prices to choose from, you are bound to find one that suits you.
- Get your phone ready: If travelling overseas and need your own phone number, rather than buying a pre-paid SIM card in the country you are visiting, there are things you can do to make roaming costs less shocking. First of all, install the Opera Mini mobile web browser. It shrinks down the size of webpages by up to 90 per cent before they appear on a phone. That’s a lot of saving. Turning off your voicemail is another. Each text letting you know you have a voice message costs money – sometimes a lot more than you think – so this can be a real help.
Take the time to read the welcome message from your temporary network, which usually has the costs listed in it.
- Keep caffeinated: A cute way around airline coffee, or what they claim to be coffee, could be the nifty innovation in caffeinated soaps from Shower Shock. They have soap, in really dinky sizes, that has caffeine in it, which is absorbed directly into the skin. Perfect for waking up and changing planes or reach your destination – especially if you have taken sleeping aids. Shower Shock products are available in the US and Canada. Elsewhere, you may need grin and bear the airline swill or take your own instant coffee powder. You may want to take your own mug, and there are some really great USB heating ones on the market. Of course, everyone else says “do not consume caffeine”, but these are our tips!
- Keep kids calm: If you have your own children travelling with you, it might be worth considering a handheld gaming device, with earphones. That will probably keep them quiet and stop other passengers, who forget their earplugs, from giving you dirty looks due to unruly children on long flights.
- Charge! It’s all well and good to have a bunch of tech with you, but if it’s not charged you can create a problem – many hours of boredom ahead on a long-haul flight. Of course, making sure you have a multi-adapter and USB charge cables in your hand-luggage is also a good thing. Most airports now have charging facilities, if you have a stopover, but they will use whatever output that country uses.
If you are heading off to a place where regular electricity supply is a challenge, there are lots of alternatives, from wrist bangle (kinetic energy) chargers to solar ones.
- Don’t forget your digital camera: If you are off on an extreme adventure you may want to look at some specialised cases, for one that will allow under-water filming for example.
If you are travelling on business and have a bunch of memory sticks and cables, you may want to invest in a Grid-It gadget organiser – a cool little holder that will take your e-reader and everything else you may need in one easy place.
- Get your cosmetics and other products in 100 ml bottles: Most brands provide cute travel-sized versions. Keep them in an easy to reach bag. Don’t forget a really good moisturiser and chapstick – it gets dry on a flight. You may also consider a travel sized perfume bottle – you can buy ones that allow you to decant your favourite scent into them.
- Stain remover wipes: If you spill food or wine on your clothes, these will clean it up so you don’t arrive looking like a mess, and don’t have access to your normal supply of laundry detergents.
- A money belt: These come in a variety of makes and designs, but fit snugly and discretely under your clothes. Always a good idea when travelling to a new and unfamiliar city, where pickpocketing and bag-snatching may be a problem.
- Language translator app: Going somewhere where your language is not commonly used? There are a plethora of apps for mobile devices that will translate for you. Find the one that suits you best. No need to worry if you can’t speak it, simply show the person you are trying to communicate with the text.
- Duct tape: Not as weird as it sounds! Duct tape has many uses and comes in a variety of sizes and patterns. We like the mini ones. Duct tape has many uses when travelling, from repairing broken suitcases to personalising your travel bags with bright colors (for spotting them quickly on the luggage carousel. Also, in a pinch, duct tape can be used to make band-aids (with some tissue or cotton), a finger splint (with two popsicle sticks), or to remove a splinter.
- Use a check in online: This saves time and hassle at the airport. Also, many airlines and airports now offer a boarding pass that can be sent directly to your phone. This keeps your hands free for all the other stuff that is necessary at an airport. It also increases your chances of getting the seat that you want.