There are millions of people who set off each year in search of something different. They throw a backpack on their shoulders are disappear into the unknown with a guidebook for company. But while they are away they will run into problems. Maybe they have money troubles and need to call home. Someone stole their credit card and they are left eating Ramen noodles. They can't fit a book into their backpack so they have to do without. 12 hours on a bus ride is not nice without something to read. These are all problems someone would have to deal with years ago.
These days it doesn't need to happen. You should be able to go anywhere in the world and have everything covered. Not 100%, but running into problems you can't solve in a few hours is uncommon if you plan properly. There's cool gadgets these days that will stop most of these problems from ever occurring. They are small and fit snuggly into the smallest of backpacks. Gadgets are a travelers best friend. But they only help you if you decide to take them. Leave them at home and they can't get you out of a jam. Are you wondering what to take?
A small laptop or tablet
Lots of backpackers seem to hate the idea of taking a laptop on their travels, but it makes life much easier. I'm not saying you need to pack a 17″ one in your backpack, but a tiny little laptop or an iPad would do the job perfectly. You have constant contact with your family. Despite what you might think, the rest of the world can have some decent Wi-Fi connections available. All those dollars you spend on Internet cafes to use their computers would more than pay for a small laptop or tablet.
Talk to people easily
I'm talking about Skype. If you don't know what it is then you are in for a big surprise. It's like a backpackers best friend. Not only can you speak to someone face-to-face, but it doesn't cost you anything if you call another Skype account. Tell your mom what time you want to call her and she can make sure she has the computer turned on. This will save you bucket loads of cash on international phone calls and all that money could go towards your computer.
Always take backups
Remember that time you thought you had lost everything on your hard drive? Well it's even worse when you're traveling. Imagine spending months taking amazing photos of all your new friends only for them to be wiped off the face of the earth. It's happened before and it will happen again. Take a portable flash drive with you and never risk your hard drive being wiped or your computer stolen. Once you have taken great pictures and videos you should save them straight away. Upload them to cloud storage to guarantee their safety which you can get for free.
What about your mail?
You need a mailman to fly out to wherever you are and deliver your mail every day. They won't do it because they don't get paid enough, so you need to find another way. You can have all your mail forwarded to mom's house, but then she has to do a lot of work to get it to you. It's much easier to hire a company to do it for you. They will upload your mail and email it to you. Just sit back and read it while they shred the evidence. Safe and convenient, you can't get better than that, but it will involve a small monthly fee.
Daniel Acton is a senior writer at www.frankingmachine.net. He is fond of sharing tips about side-effects caused by technology on the environment. Follow him on Twitter: @dannyacton.