Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Electronic Travel Advice

      I am  paranoid about backup of my digital world. My wife and I were on a cruise around Australia and New Zealand when a fellow traveller approached us tearfully asking if we had taken any pictures of her and her small son feeding the kangaroos in Tasmania the day before. She explained that she had lost her camera that contained all the pictures of the 2 week cruise. She had every picture on the same SD card. I did have some pictures of her and her family, but it made me realize that backing up when we get home was not enough! I always took an extra cheap point and shoot camera on every trip, just in case of damage or loss of main camera while on vacation. I also take several SD cards and number them from 1 - 20 so I can swap out every day! If camera is lost or damaged, I only lose the current pictures and can use the backup camera with no loss of time or expense of trying to buy a replacement camera at outrageous travel prices! I print out a sheet of paper with numbers on it corresponding to numbers written on SD cards. I can enter location and photo information on this sheet and insert the SD cards and the log in safe or a safe place while traveling. 

      An added backup and security option is the product we already owned, the iPad. With a camera connection kit (available from Apple and others), you can import the photos from your camera or SD card and have a reliable backup and also a great place to view and share the days memories with fellow travelers.

      Now all I needed was a way to make a copy of the pictures imported to iPad for backup and security. After much research, I came across a product, Airstash+  (http://www.airstash.com/). This small rechargeable battery device about the size of a pack of gum creates a wifi network that shares everything on a SD card with any b/g/n wifi capable device 802.11 using html browsers.  SD and SDHC cards(FAT formatted) up to 32GB  can be used.  SDXC cards are currently supported when formatted in FAT32 format. These cards range from 64GB to 2TB. With the AirStash+, I can copy the files to and from an SD card ...... thus backing up while traveling!

     I recently went on a photo Safari to Tanzania. We were going to be in remote locations in the Serengeti. Power is almost non existant, except in the Safari vehicles. I wanted to be prepared and able to safeguard the photos from this "once in a lifetime" experience.  With no internet access and the necessity to travel light, we did not bring a laptop.  The only backup was my 64 GB iPad 3 and my wife's 1st generation 64 GB iPad. 

     After other fellow travelers started filling up their SD cards, I got a great idea, since we were all willing to share our photos, I imported everyones cards daily and we all could share the pictures from different camera views. We quickly filled up the iPads' internal memory, but with the AirStash+, I could copy the photos FROM the iPads to a blank SD card for a secure copy! (Something Apple does not make possible natively). I was able to charge the Airstash+, iPads and cameras in the Safari vehicles while we were on game drives!

Of the 13 travelers, there were 6 iPads! Since several people could log onto the AirStash+ wireless network created, everyone could view all the photos at same time. The "UHs & AHs" were heard as we saw many details in pictures that were overlooked in the camera viewfinder. Lions lurking in the brush appeared where they may have been overlooked! Makes you think twice about going behind a bush for a "personal time" break!

Several times the 3 vehicles were stopped near each other for animal viewing. The AirStash+ wifi network  would allow sharing  of photos to different vehicles! That was amazing! We all could share that "perfect shot"!

Some additional pictures and videos:
Some Pictures
192 Pictures