Stephen Bugno aka the Bohemian Traveler has 15 years of traveling and working under his belt. He works from the road as a digital nomad, and these days he’s kept busy with his new small group tour operation in Asia.
From stints in the peace corp, to surgeries in Bangkok, he’s trotted the globe for years and years. And he has questions…
And we have answers.
As part of a new series on Too Many Adapters, we’ll be answering some of the most pressing tech questions we receive.
Question: Right now I’m cutting from MS Word and pasting into Google Doc online in order to backup my files. There must be something more efficient and safer for my files, what is it?
This is an easy one for you. Just saving that Microsoft Word document in your Google Drive (or Dropbox) will back it up automatically for you — cut one step better would be to create the document right in Google Drive. It’s easy, free, and like all things Google, very searchable.
If you’re offline quite often (as we know you must be), there is no need to fret. You can enable offline access for Google Drive. Once set up (a couple of clicks), you can create new documents which will automatically be backed up online when you’re next connected to the net.
Question: What are some handy apps for a writer / photographer who is traveling all the time?
Some of our favorites include:
- Google Maps (offline access)
- Evernote or Google Keep for jotting down tidbits as you travel
- Snapseed (which we talk about below) for editing your photos before sharing them to the world.
- TripIt for keeping track of your flights & hotel bookings
Question: I can’t afford an iPhone but really want one. What is the best affordable alternative?
Particularly for a traveler, the iPhone is a pricey gadget. We often talk about the importance of having an unlocked phone for travel, and when it comes to the newest iPhone 5S, it will set you back $649. Yikes.
Instead, save your money and pick up a Nexus 5. Known as the “pure Google phone,” the Nexus 5 is a near slam dunk for a traveler. Great build quality, excellent screen, and as fast as they come.
The camera features built in image stabilization, and while not quite as good as the iPhone 5S, is still decent. The 16GB Nexus 5 is nearly 1/2 the cost of the 5S at $349, or $399 for the 32GB version. Check out our review first, then get one now. It’s a no-brainer.
Question: There are so many apps for editing mobile photography. I’d like to increase the quality of my photos, mainly for Instagram, but hope to avoid using filters since they negatively affect the photo when it’s blown up. What are the best apps for editing mobile photography?
Snapseed is often touted as the best of the best when it comes to photo editing on the go. From the basics like presets and sliders to more advanced spot adjustments, it has something for everyone.
Question: I travel frequently to a lot of different countries. I normally get a local SIM card and data plan in each new country because it’s usually quite inexpensive. I heard about a sim card that works in all counties. Is there such a thing?
Technically, most SIM cards will work in other countries. The question is how much are you going to be charged. Answer: A lot.
There are some companies that offer SIM cards that work in multiple countries at discounted rates. These “roaming” SIM cards can be a decent value for someone on a short trip abroad (a few weeks), particularly when you’re hopping across a few countries and don’t have the time to get a new SIM in each location.
We often see these in MiFi type devices, and we’ve reviewed quite a few of them. In terms of cost (~$10-15/day), though, they’re still quite a bit more expensive compared to buying a local SIM in a country. Check out our guide to buying a local SIM while traveling.
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Question: What are some of the best ways I can safely back up my photos and files while I’m traveling?
You have a few options here:
First off, you can easily back up your smartphone photos automatically with Dropbox‘s “Camera Upload” feature, or Google+’s “Auto Backup” feature. Both will automatically back up your photos when you are back to a WiFi hotspot.
Question: I’ve recently read that VPN’s are important if you travel and work online frequently. Do I really need to use a VPN? Why? Are there good free ones, or do I need to purchase one? Do you have any recommendations (for both a free and paid service)?
Most of the WiFi hotspots you’ll be using in hotels, guesthouses, and airports are unsecured or poorly secured, and this could mean that your personal information could be intercepted. A VPN (virtual private network) will allow you to use a secured internet connection, which is particularly handy for a traveler.
While there are some free options available, we recommend just going ahead and picking out a good, fast, and reliable one instead. You’re much more likely to use it if it works well and doesn’t bug you to upgrade all the time.
Read more about the other reasons you may want to use a VPN in our article “5 Reasons You Should Be Using a VPN While Traveling.”