Travel Tech Lessons I Learned In 2022
4th January, 2023 - Blog
Hey everyone, told you it wouldn’t be another two and a half months before I was back! As I mentioned in my last post, I’m back from Singapore. As a tech writer/blogger/“content creator” (I guess), I’ve felt a little like a fraud extolling the virtues of tech for travel when the furthest I’ve been is Scotland or Cornwall in the last couple of years.
That all changed with a chance to go to SIngapore for the Naraka Bladepoint World Championships in Singapore, and in getting used to the shift in time zones I had plenty of time to try, and fail, to sleep. Honestly, the jet lag was the only real negative, but it did give me plenty of opportunities to mess around with the cool tech I’d amassed before the trip.
So, without further ado, here’s the tech I was thankful for when I was the other side of the globe.
Home from home. pic.twitter.com/yVxgVoraYY
— Lloyd Coombes (@lloydcoombes) December 13, 2022
iPhone 13 Pro Max w/ eSIM
I remember years ago when I’d have to buy an additional data plan for my phone to be able to use it abroad, but things are a little different now. I used a service called Holafly to install an electronic SIM (eSIM) into my iPhone 13 Pro Max. Since the iPhone has the option for dual SIMs, I was able to switch off my UK connection once I arrived in SIngapore, and switch on a local one instead.
The entire process took about two minutes, and gave me unlimited data while I was away, and the option to use my usual apps, for about £20 for the entire week. Honestly, I never understood the fuss about eSIM but this trip made me a believer – I think any phone I buy from now on will need to have dual SIM support.
Less keen on the plane Wi-Fi on both Qatar and Emirates, though – not great there. Which brings me to…
The Steam Deck
Let me get this clear – I love the Steam Deck. It’ll feature on my favourite tech of the year post, and being able to take my huge library of PC games on the go is amazing. On the other hand, the Steam Deck isn’t the most ideal travelling companion thanks to its insistence on online check-ins, not working with plane or even Travelodge Wi-Fi, and occasionally wonky OS.
I went into more depth in a recent Dexerto article, but while I wish I’d had my Switch OLED on the plane, I found myself having loads of fun while in my hotel room on decent Wi-FI and with a power source.
Playing some of 2022’s biggest games, like Elden RIng, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and Gotham Knights on the Steam Deck was so much fun, and I’ve recently started connecting to my TV now, too – if I’d taken the dock with me, I’d no doubt have gotten much further in Elden Ring!
I took three sets of headphones to SIngapore. I know, I know, it’s overkill, but it actually worked out pretty well.
For one, my Beats Fit Pro are just the BEST workout buds I’ve ever used, and were ideal in the hotel gym (did you really think I wouldn’t go there at least once?!). I used my AirPods Pro (Second Generation) for the airport, since they’re ideal for keeping in my pocket. The biggest surprise? I used my AirPods Max a LOT. I used them in the hotel room while working until ridiculous o’clock, but I also found them a godsend on the plane.
AirPods Max, with noise cancellation on, connected to Dark Noise to play my very specific mix of rain and thunder sounds meant that if it wasn’t for the lack of legroom and the general discomfort, I’d have forgotten I was on a plane.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about the MacBook Pro that I picked up this year. It’s the best laptop I’ve ever used, and it’s power and efficiency constantly surprise me even now. On the way home, I opened it up in the airport lobby in SIngapore and fired off emails, Slack messages, and did some photo edits and uploads in Lightroom and Twitter respectively, and the battery dipped about 5 or 6 percent in an hour and a bit. That’s huge, especially knowing that my beloved 2019 model would’ve probably lost 40 percent in that time.
I also used it for video calls and meetings, and working on both Dexerto and freelance projects while at the hotel.
I recently reviewed the Troubadour Apex Backpack, and it was perfect for my trip. I used a suitcase for the majority of my stuff, but with a bit of “Tetris” I was able to get the MacBook, iPad, Steam Deck, AirPods Max, various cables for charging, and my travel documents into it without it ever feeling too bulky.
What I should’ve taken with me
So, what did I wish I could’ve taken with me? As I mentioned earlier, I definitely missed the Nintendo Switch. It’s not as powerful as the Steam Deck, but it’s just better suited to confined spaces (playing on a plane where elbow room is at a premium). I felt doubly silly when a big review code came in, too, and I couldn’t make a start straight away.
I took my new iPad Pro with me, too (I picked up the M2 version right before I left), and while I didn’t find much use for it outside of watching downloaded Netflix episodes on the flight home, I think it would’ve made a huge difference if I’d taken the Magic Keyboard attachment with me. A full-sized, 16-inch MacBook Pro is great when you have a whole desk’s worth of space, but on a flight, it would’ve been nice to get a bit of work done where (again) elbow room was limited. Still, the keyboard is pretty heavy, and my backpack was rammed as it was.