Backpacking in Cape Town and your technology. These days you will Facebook your swim in the shark cage off Cape Town in “real time”. Mum and Dad will see on Instagram your hike up the Table Mountain before you even hit the table top. Great Aunty Marge will see your unmade dorm bed at Ashanti – the best backpacking in Cape Town experience, before you have even shaken off that mild thudding ache behind your eyes from too many Cap Classiques purchased in Stellenbosch the day before. Or you might just tweet how cool bananas your “flash packing” room is at Ashanti Guest House around the corner to your followers within seconds of ripping your secret money belt off your travel weary body. You might even need to FaceTime or Skype your Mumma or your posse back home. You may need to even text your desire to never leave Cape Town to all and sundry back home.
All this will mean you will want have a working smart phone with you. Possibly even a tablet or a laptop.
Previously I would have told you that you were mad if you took backpacking with you, your very expensive smart phone or your tablet or laptop; even with your travel insurance. It use to be that if you lost your device it was a bugger to replace and you would have the Devil’s own time to get back your contacts etc. Technology is so comparatively cheap now and with clouds you can keep your data “up there” that you can take technology with you.
These days I have a travel phone handset. It’s not my normal phone but its still a smart phone. It can tweet, Facebook, email, etc. It cost $100 and I do not care if it gets nicked other the mild annoyance of having to go buy another. I have a tablet that I don’t mind killing that I can FaceTime or Skype on, again its not my regular one but a repair job. I have also found my iPod that can be connected to the net via the phone if needs be. In my mind the only reason to take your laptop, which is extra weight and takes up space, is if you need it for work or if you are photography freak that wants to up load photos from a camera every night. If you need a time to time computer, Ashanti has desk top computers available for guests.
You can use your phone or tablet data connection package overseas if you have ensured that you have global roaming when backpacking in Cape Town. Check out the charges!!! I am still bitter about the surprise a few data connections did a few years back in Napoli. I am going to guess that you should buy instead a local pre paid sim card on arrival. Woolworths in Johannesburg airport has them. I handed my passport over to a lovely man called Diamond and he walked me through the process uploaded some credit on the phone and hey ho I was on the phone calling The Husband at back home. I did this last year on my pilgrimage to visit “The Best Niece” on the planet, which of course was the time that my darling sister had already organised a phone and a pre paid sim card for me! Wasn’t I silly? In Australia there are even travel sim cards sold at Australia post and the like. I have found this to be a more expensive option on the one occasion I did this option while backpacking in Cape Town. However do check it out.
Before you leave home. Make sure that your phone hand set will allow another sim card to be used in it and that it is “unlocked” for use with a pre paid sim or other for use overseas.
Also remember to take your phone charger. Nothing like nursing your phone which doesn’t have a compatible charger in this country with its remaining phone charge.
What I can tell you is take a power board from home. One of those surge boards that have usb ports. This way you only need one adapter for all your many devices. Best idea I ever had.
I think I will tweet this blog now 😉
Contributor: Allison Finley-Bissett