Book Review: The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers

by Nora Dunn on 10 May 2011 0 comments
Photo: Nora Dunn

It’s no small job to manage technology while traveling; you face challenges like choosing the best machine for your needs, backing up your data, staying connected, and finding the best (free) software to keep it all running smoothly.

I’ve been traveling for four years now, and in that time I’ve cycled through numerous different computers, gadgets, software programs, and backup methods. I’ve trialed through ways to stay connected and other hacks to save money and increase efficiency. (See also: Comparing Online Backup Services)

One of the challenges for travelers is not only protecting your computer and data against hijackers, but also against theft, wear and tear, and even loss. Then there is the added work of finding (inexpensive) ways to phone home, backing up your data (and protecting those backups), and choosing the right tech-gadgets to complement your travel style.

As a full-time traveler with an umbilical cord to my laptop, I am always looking for the best way to manage these facets of my business/social/logistical cyber-life.

That’s why I was keen to read fellow full-time traveler and former (white collar) computer hacker Anil Polat’s The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers. This e-book narrows a lot of learning curves that I’ve personally navigated (the hard way), as well as a few I still hadn’t attempted.

But you don’t have to be a full-time traveler to glean knowledge from this e-book; in fact, much of the content is fully applicable even if the only travel you do is out to the local café.

Book Overview

This 40-page e-book is packed with information to help you harness any electronic device to do just about anything you need it to. It is filled with links to complementary online articles and tutorials, which turn this 40-page handbook into something more like a 400-page behemoth.

And in the name of frugality, almost all of the software recommendations are free.

Sections and Key Takeaways

Here are the various chapters, with a few tips I found particularly useful.

Choosing the Right Laptop

Anil sets out the criteria under which you would want a netbook versus a laptop and suggests money-saving tips for buying the right laptop for your needs.

Backing Up Your Data

Since my laptop is my only computer, I back up my data both physically and in “the cloud,” again protecting against the multi-faceted risks that travel presents. Anil creates a case for why you should do both and makes suggestions for how to do it fairly easily.

Free Software to Do Just About Anything

You’ll find recommendations for office software, photo editing, anti-virus protection, phone services, and translation programs. I was particularly interested to learn that I can make free phone calls to Canada and the US with Google Voice.

Staying Connected From Anywhere

This is about where — and how — to find WiFi connections (and even hack your way into a few connections), how to harness paid connections to their full potential, and how to increase efficiency of your online time by using offline programs.

Security

With Anil’s background in computer security, this is a beefy section covering password security, protecting information and recovering a stolen laptop, encrypting data, using internet cafes safely, and even using websites in countries that censor access.

Tech Tools That Save You Money While Traveling

You can trick your browser into giving you a discount and use proxies to trick websites into giving you discounts. There’s a large subsection on e-book readers and how to access discounted and free e-books.

Hacking Secrets for Savvy Travelers

This section covers things like keeping up with your favorite TV shows, creative ways to access and share internet connections, and harnessing your cell phone in a few different ways.

The last chapter also has a few tips for energy-efficiency that come in handy when access to power points isn’t consistent (as does happen while traveling).

What’s Bad About the Book

As a standalone e-book, there’s not enough detail here to get much of anything accomplished; it’s more of an overview. An internet connection is essential to either access the programs/websites in question (which is reasonable), or to get further information and more detailed tutorial articles on each subject.

In reading this book offline, I had to make notes of the pages for revisiting so I could click on the links to get the full story. Although all this extra information adds value, I found the internet reliance to be a hassle.

What’s Good About It

What’s bad about it is also what’s good about it. If you have unmitigated access to the internet, this e-book is a very detailed and thorough map to research and accomplish a massive series of tasks geared towards harnessing technology to suit your travel needs and preferences.

The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers

  • Cost: $37
  • Bonus: Six months free tech support from the author, and one year of free updates.
  • Guarantee: There doesn’t seem to be a money-back guarantee, but there is an assurance that you’ll save a minimum of $100 in computer, software, and gadget purchases in the first year.

Anybody who spends time on the road and is remotely reliant on the internet will find this e-book quite useful for safely managing technology.

Note: I received a complimentary review copy of The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers for review, and there are affiliate links in this post. I will earn a commission for any purchase made through these links.

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