7 Travel tech disasters

2013-01-21 16:11

What's the difference between an okay trip and a real full blown adventure? Well, people would probably have different opinions, but one thing's for certain - a few challenges definitely up the adventure bid. 

And in this day and age, the challenges travellers face most often are probably technology-related. We take a look at seven of the most common travel tech disasters and how to solve, or even better, avoid them. 

Full memory card

Imagine this scene- You're heading back to camp after a rather fruitless day of game viewing in the Kruger Park. Just as you're about to give up looking out and concentrate on the road, you see it: a leopard prettily perched on a dry branch. 

It's the perfect shot, so you haul out your camera hastily, point, focus and shoot, only to have that horrendous "memory card full" notice flash across the screen. The leopard yawns and unceremoniously melts into the underbrush. It's enough to drive even the most zen soul to distraction, no?

Solution: Well, whether you're on a safari or sightseeing in a big city, chances are you'll be confronted with one of those ‘perfect moment' shots. The only way to make sure the full memory card thing doesn't trip you up, is to upload new photos from the onto a computer every evening, to free up memory card space for the next day. 

But, if you're not the disciplined type and prefer to party it up/get enough sleep at night, the best bet would be to carry an empty memory card or two with you to swap when the need arises. However, this will not save the missed opportunity. 

Battery running out

Photo: Shutterstock

It should go without saying, that all laptop, camera and phone batteries should be charged and used sparingly on a trip, as you don't know when your next opportunity to recharge will be. However, all travellers slip up now and then, allowing important batteries to run out. 

Solution: The easiest answer is to carry spare batteries for your devices. However, this could become quite burdensome, not to mention expensive. So, instead, we suggest you decide which devices are most important and carry spares for them (most likely your camera and phone), using the others sparingly (sorry, laptop and electric toothbrush). 

Forgetting your charger/universal adaptor in the hotel

This happens to everyone at some point... and it really sucks!

Solution: Double, triple, quadruple check your room before you leave and DO NOT rely on anyone else to do it. Also get into the habit of logging the hotel's contact details in case you do slip up and forget something important. In that way you can contact them and arrange to have your goods either sent to you or kept safe. 

Lost/stolen equipment

It must be one of the worst feelings in the world - reaching for your camera/phone and finding only a terrible, dark void where it had been. You're hundreds of miles away from home and you can't go without it. It really does suck. 

Solution: Well, the most obvious piece of advice is, yes you guessed it, be vigilant. Keep your valuables close enough to your body at all times, so that you are aware of the slightest tug, bump or fall. However, this is sadly not a sure fire way of knowing your stuff is safe. For peace of mind, include electronic equipment in your travel insurance, even if it does cost a bit extra. 

Also, if you don't want something like this to affect your trip too much, pop that old Nokia 3310 and aim-and-shoot digital camera (and an extra memory card) from five years ago into your bag before you leave. This way you will at least still be able to document your memories and have a means of communication. 

Broken equipment

I remember once accidentally dropping my camera on a trip overseas. It wasn't a from very high up, but it sounded like a hard fall. I immediately gave it a once-over, took a pic or two and, to my absolute relief, it was working fine. I couldn't believe my luck... Until the next morning it mysteriously just gave up the ghost. It was a sickening, sickening feeling. 

Solution: Pretty much the same as above. 

Phone takes a swim in the toilet

Photo: Open Attitude

It happens shockingly often. To shockingly many of us. And it's highly annoying. 

Solution: In this case, prevention is most definitely better than cure. So, avoid this, my NOT putting your phone in your back pocket and also NOT using it while you're on the porcelain throne.

But, if the worst case scenario happens, here's what you should do: 1. Fish it out - if you can find a way to do it without using your hands, opt for that. 2. Switch it off immediately and dry with toilet paper or hand towels. 3. Find some uncooked rice and cover your phone with it for 24 hours (if you're on the road, a zip lock bag could be a good option here), as the staple starch is said to absorb much of the moisture. 

Not being able to access a folder on your computer

Or memory stick or smart phone or any technological device. These things happen, and mostly also at the worst possible time to the worst possible documents - airplane tickets, itineraries, passport copies. 

Solution: The best thing to do with important documents, is not only to back them up electronically, but also online. Save your files onto a cloud-based server, like dropbox or send yourself an email containing all the important attachments. You can also send the same mail to a close family member or friend, who would hopefully keep it safe and pass it on to you if/when the need arises. ‘

Do you have any travel tech disaster stories? Share them with us! Either tell us your story in the comment section below or send a mail to info@gotravel24.com.

Read more on:    travel international

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