When you decide to go backpacking, or on extended travel, you’ll probably be inundated with people saying “oh you should buy this…”, “why not get this backpack?”and other such questions. In a way I guess I’m adding to that with this post. However, these really were incredibly valuable purchases we made during our three months in South America. Calling them life savers might be a little bit drastic, but they’re up there!
Before we went travelling I didn’t really think much about how I was going to upload photos as backups, or add them to blog posts. “Oh there will be computers and internet, it’ll be fine, I’ll just use them”, I thought. I soon found out that a full size image takes about an hour to upload. Once we reached Brazil internet cafés were a scarcity as many have access to internet at home and we stayed in Airbnbs rather than hostels with computers.
Then, after a bit of googling, we saw there was a way to upload photos from your SD card straight to iPad. After chatting online to a member of Apple staff asking if they could reserve one in the Rio store (no, they couldn’t), we stumbled across one in a shopping centre in Sao Paulo.
This is a bit of a luxury item, and it’s not essential, but it definitely made it easier to upload images to dropbox (in case we lost our camera), and to blogger for blog posts. If you’re a blogger I’d definitely recommend purchasing this kit!
2) Foreign Sim Card (price varies)
I’ve never bought myself a foreign sim card, but this one proved to be extremely useful during our month in Brazil. We bought a bundle that included some data and saved us from getting lost many a time in the streets of Rio and Sao Paulo. It helped enormously with catching public transport too. I’d underestimated how difficult it can be to catch a bus abroad and then know when to get off, thank you Googlemaps (How did people ever manage with internet?)!
Buying a sim card isn’t always the easiest thing to do as you often need a foreign address, bank account or similar. With some persistence though you’ll be able to get hold of one.
Ours was also useful for contacting our Airbnb hosts to let them know where we were, and when they should expect us. Better than turning up to an empty house and wondering how long you’ll have to wait to be let in!
3) Skype Credit (various)
I lost my purse somewhere in Brazil and had to make a call to cancel cards. Payphone are confusing, hard to find, and expensive. Skype, on the other hand, is cheap and easy. I put £10 on my Skype account and although we made various, often quite lengthy calls (to cancel cards, unblock accounts and speak to Dads on Father’s Day when we forgot to send cards) I’ve still got quite a bit left. Yes it does require internet but although a lot of the internet we used was slow, we didn’t have too many problems. There’s always cafés where you can get a drink and use their speedy internet to make a call too!
What useful purchases have you made while travelling?