Just for fun, this is what I observed on a recent trip to Europe.
Ages up to 30:
What: Smart phone and a hard copy journal. And a pen. You will thank yourself for writing a few thoughts down in hard copy when you’re fifty.
Why: If you are hiking, trekking, extreme sporting, hosteling, the less you have, the more enjoyable your trip will be. And don’t assume total security just because you are sleeping with your equipment. A friend of mine feel asleep in a train station using her camera equipment as a pillow – it was stolen from right under her head. Creepy.
Ages from to 30 − 40:
What: Smart phone, hard copy journal and e-reader or iPad. Experiment with more expensive camera.
Why: If you are traveling by bus, train or car, now you can travel with more expensive items. A trip involving trains, planes and automobiles offer moments when you can make longer notes and observation using any system you like. Lock everything in the trunk of the car, and toss iAnything into the hotel safe.
The beauty of that smart phone is the photo quality is pretty good, so you always have a camera and aren’t necessarily loaded down with heavier equipment (or look so much like a tourist, you will always look like a tourist but sans camera, not so extreme). Obviously all you need to communicate with your life back home is the phone, but the iPad is at least larger and a bit easier to see. Check data plans abroad, but before you sign up, consider that if by vacation, you mean getting away from it all, do you really want to bring it all with you? iPads and phones connect very well to free wi Fi, and most places (Tibet, Laos) offer free wi fi. Experiment with the idea of NOT posting your Facebook update on the spot, wait a few hours, enjoy the moment tech free.
No really, give it a try.
Ages 40 − 60
What: Lap top. And the smart phone. And the e-reader because you don’t like to read on a tiny screen or a full computer. A most excellent camera because after years of phone photos, you now get it.
AND bring that hard copy journal.
Why: Even with all the technology at our disposal, coupled with the best intentions, if you want to remember where you’ve been and the easiest way is to make a couple notes in a hard copy journal.
Not only are you traveling by planes, trains automobiles, you’ve hit the cruise years. The advantage is you no longer need to transport all your luggage and a computer can be left safely (in the safe) behind. A computer is necessary because you are probably experimenting with shooting, as my husband did, raw photos, or video which are ENORMOUS files. He quickly maxed out his IPad and we needed the lap top capacity to upload the photos. If you can, upload photos every day and at either label them with the date or the place. Again, you will thank yourself when you return home. Who knew those adorable villages in Germany would start to look the same?
Ages 70 and over:
Why: Let them haul around the technology, take the photos and create a lovely hard copy album for you a few weeks after the trip. Or is that just my mom?