How To Stay Connected

Everybody loves to have stay connected when traveling and have entertainment at their disposal, especially these days that airlines are charging us for everything. There are several options out there to keep connected but the ones I like the most are:

Entertainment 

IPAD MINI
An iPad is the perfect travel companion, (especially if you already bought the Star Wars collection on iTunes like I did), you can store movies, music, check email and Facetime with your loved ones. If buying a new iPad, you should splurge for the 128 GB model or 64gb at a minimum. The only drawbacks an iPad has it’s that is expensive when compared to other options. 

KINDLE FIRE
Another good option is the cheap Kindle Fire, at $50 it’s a steal, and if you pair it with a good bran64 or 128gb micro SD card, you will have a lot of space for entertainment. This device is cheap enough that if it gets lost, you can just buy a new one. The major drawbacks are the inferior screen resolution and cheap speakers, but for $50 you can’t complain. 

KINDLE PAPERWHITE READER
If you are a serious book reader, this Kindle is a must for you (skip the cheap Kindle with no backlight). But remember that when it comes to devices less if better than more, so unless you are planning to read more than two books on your trip, is better to pack just one device like the iPad or the Kindle Fire, will double as an e-book reader and will keep your bag lighter. 

AUDIO SPLITTER
Since it’s always a good idea to travel light, carrying more than one device (aside from cell phones), it’s not recommended. Having this in mind, buying an audio splitter can be handy, just grab one based on the number (2 or up to 5) of people usually traveling with you, this way all your companions can share the device you decided to pack. 

NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES
Most people will recommend you buying the $299 Bose QuietComfort 25 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for traveling, don't get me wrong, these headphones are great, comfortable and work a lot better that you would expect, but they are also big, bulky, and they are $299 USD! I own one of these headphones (well, an older model that I got them from eBay for around $100) but I could almost never justify the space they take in my bag. Therefore I have only used them once outside of my home. But after using a lot of different brands, now I use thXiaomi Piston III headphones, these $25 headphones (avoid the older Xiaomi Piston II as they are not as comfortable as the new version) work pretty good by blocking most of the outside noise and are a great balance between performance, size, and price.

Power

POWER ADAPTER
If you are traveling to Mexico from outside of North America, you are probably going to need a power adapter; this will allow you to connect your electronic devices to the Mexican outlets (the same 110-volt outlet type used in USA, Canada, Mexico & Japan). I have tried several adapters, but the best one hands down are the Monster Power Outlets To Go 200 Global Adapter. This cheap ($10) adapter works almost worldwide and features two global AC outlets and one USB charging port, and although the USB port cannot charge iPads or Tablets, it will charge your iPhone or smartphone. Just remember, this power adapter will make your devices "fit" in the Mexican outlets, but it will not convert the voltage from 110 volts to 220 volts. Most modern smartphones, tablets, and laptops will not have an issue with 110 volts, but always double check before plug in your electronic devices in foreign countries! 

DUAL CAR CHARGER
If you are going to be driving in Mexico, you will probably be using your phone as a GPS device. for these cases, it's always a good If you are going to be driving in Mexico, you will probably be using your phone as a GPS device. For these cases, it's always a good idea to have a car charger. This is one of the items where you don't want to be frugal. If you buy a cheap one (as I have done in the past), you will not be able to charge more than one device at a time, or perhaps it will break inside the car. Last year I felt like splurging and got the SCOSCHE USB Car Charger, this $15 portable dual charger was able to charge my iPhone and my GPS device at the same time with no issues. 

GOOGLE OFFLINE MAPS
Thanks to Google maps, there is no need to carry a GPS device anymore, with some planning and dedication, you can store an offline version of Google Maps on your smartphone to use on your next trip. And although is not very straight and I wouldn’t recommend it for a not tech savvy person, this is a great option if you know how to use it (or want to spend the time learning). You can find here how to set it up and if done correctly, works almost as good as a real GPS device.

Bonus Items to Carry

BANK BATTERY
If you are a tech junkie that wants to be able to charge your devices at any time, I recommend you buying a power bank. Amazon usually has one on sale every other week, just choose one no bigger than 10,000 mAh (because of weight) and try not to spend more than $20, these things are getting cheaper every day. Just as a reference, with 10,000 mAh, you will be able to charge an iPhone fully about three times. The best combination of size, weight, price ($10) and power capacity is the Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350mAh.

GPS DEVICE
If you are going to travel to remote areas, a good GPS device is a good idea. Since cellular network is not as good in Mexico as in other countries yet, if you rely solely on your GPS cell phone you can get lost (unless you use the highly recommended google maps offline feature). There are several good options under $100 USD out there, just make sure the GPS has Mexican Maps included, The GPS I own it’s a 7-year-old Garmin that still works great. If you are in the market for a new GPS device, get a Garmin with lifetime map updates, as I have found the hard way (I’m looking at you TomTom), that Garmin has better Mexican maps than other brands. 

Being connected at all times is an easy way to stay in contact with your loved ones. But don’t forget that you are on vacation, so lay down the devices as much as you can and enjoy Mexico!