Traveling With Data: When Flash Drives Aren't Enough

Traveling With Data: When Flash Drives Aren't Enough

Range Govindan
Jul 17, 2009

The one thing that is very important when you are on the road is your data. By data, we mean photos, music, videos and more of the usual things that we gather on our trips. Depending on how long your trip is, it's not always feasible to bring your laptop. Laptops weigh a lot and they can take up precious space when you are on the road or using airlines.

Flash drives are getting bigger and bigger, but they still haven't got the convenience of a simple USB hard drive. Sure you can buy a couple of flash drives, but it gets harder and harder to organize your data when it's all split up. Ideally, for amateur videographers and photographer, we recommend traveling with a small netbook and a USB hard drive. Anything between 100GB and 500GB will do. You usually don't gather more than that, though it's still surprising because videos tend to take up a lot of space.

Even though there are some standalone backupers for compact flash cards on the market, we prefer using this solution. It's simple, not too expensive and gets the job done. Ideally, it's best to travel with your main laptop, but that gets complicated if your machine is too heavy. There is nothing worse than lugging around a laptop all day for no apparent reason, and not all hotels are as safe as they let you believe. The one thing that you really have to be careful with is a computer in an internet cafe. It might be very convenient to pop in your flash drive and access your data, but it's pretty common for these computers to be riddled with viruses. We recommend having some kind of antivirus program installed on your flash drive so that it can purge any malicious files.

For this purpose, we recommend a tough USB hard drive. A few companies have come out with different models. We really like the Hitachi SimpleTough portable USB drive. It can shrug off falls of up to 10 feet and has the ability of resisting the pressure of a 1-ton truck. It's also water-resistant. Now that's tough and believe us, luggage does get thrown around a bit on airlines. This hard drive comes with an integrated, flexible, foldaway USB cable, making it really easy to plug in and plug away. It's good to mention that the purchase of the hard drive gives you a free online backup service of 2GB. SimpleTough is available in 250 GB, 320 GB, 500 GB, and 640 GB capacities, which cost $100, $110. $140 and $180 respectively. [top image by Mr Brown with a CC license, other images via Hitachi]

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