Monday, February 16, 2009

Electronics while Traveling throughout Africa

Electronics while Traveling throughout Africa.

At 4:08am on February 16, 2009, Christina Chu said…on the CCS community site

Hey Madeline,

I'm so envious you're going to Dharmasala. That is next on my list. Although my CCS ended in December, I am still traveling africa. I'm in Namibia right now. As for a laptop, I wouldn't bring one, but that is because i'm traveling so long haul... going on now for 4 months. Plus in africa, it could easily be stolen. There are abundant internet cafes.

As for cameras - I would bring a cheaper digital one, unless you're a photography enthusiast. I always worried about having an expensive long lens camera stolen or broken, but that is just me. One memory stick in the camera is enough. You can always buy USB sticks as you go. For quick pictures find a computer with microsoft picture manager and compress the pictures down so that you have a backup copy that can be quickly uploaded to or This is in case you lose your high res pictures on USB sticks.

The only other electronics I brought were a few USB keys and my iphone which was indispensable. If you can afford the bill, you can get mobile internet off an iphone anywhere in Tanzania.

The USB keys are GREAT insurance against power surges/failures -Example: if you are working on a document, be sure to save the document as you're writing it ON THE USB key, not the computer's hard drive. This way, if the power suddenly cuts out you can walk away without losing any data.

In addition, you can use the USB keys in all the Internet cafes; the keys are lightweight and paying just $1/hr (on average) to use the internet at a local cafe helps contribute to the local economy. Take care that the computers you are using have anti-virus protection. Many places don't yet.

East Africa as of summer 2009 has High Speed Internet by ocean fiber optic cable. However I don't know how far it has penetrated. There is wireless depending on where you stay - some hotels have it.

Since you're in india technology access will be substantially easier in major cities as you have hyderabad in the south - tech capital.

I have been living out of one bag - 65 Liter Osprey backpacker for the last couple of months. When i run out of room and i want to keep things, I go to the post office and ship it home. It really is a great experience - using the post office because you really get to learn how things work there -- you'll see.

I brought my iphone - indispensible. If you have a USB charger that is all you need. It is more of a pain to use wall chargers and these take up more space, since i've been going through so many countries, but a USB phone charger wil work on every computer you run into, which is fantastic. Often I will just buy 2 hrs at an internet cafe, and use the internet to blog about everything, transfer, compress and upload pictures, check email and simultaneously recharge my iPhone.

Don't need water purifiers. Just malaria tabs if you are in the region. Pack warm clothes and light weather clothes. Close toed shoes and open. EVERYTHING else, you can buy as you go, unless its prescription like contacts. Of course this is personal because I can live without my entire makeup bag, no problem. The 3rd world is more developed in commerce than we think they are, which is amazing.

Hope to see you in san fran. please drop me an email or comment on my blog sometime, i hope to hear from you.

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