Many of my friends know me for traveling very light, but there are a lot of things I take with me on every trip, without the need to check a bag! As much as I travel, I’m also keen to ensure my “peace of mind” while away and cloud storage solutions can help you with this!
Ever lost your passport in a foreign country? Or left your drivers license in the hotel when you were out in the rental car? Forgot to bring your photos to tell the story of your once-in-a-lifetime trip to an exotic destination? Or didn’t have a resume handy when you bumped into an executive of one of the top companies to work for?
In all of those cases, having access to a cloud storage solution will give you access to important information, like copies of your passport or drivers license, photos from your vacation or your resume. You can get to them from your phone or a public computer, anywhere around the world!
Chances are, you already have access to cloud storage: Your Gmail account comes with access to Google Drive, your Microsoft mail account comes with SkyDrive, your iTunes account comes with PhotoStream, your Yahoo account gives you a whooping 1Terrabyte of photo storage and your Amazon account offers music storage! And all of this is available free of charge, so there is no excuse to not use them.
I want to highlight a few of my favorite solutions to get you started:
Before your next trip, I’d recommend to upload copies of important documents to the cloud, for example your passport, drivers license, work permit, visa, a passport photo or medical information (immunization!). Loosing any one of these can turn your trip into a nightmare and having access to a copy will make it much easier to move on! It’s as simple as using your smartphone camera or a scanning app (i.e. Genius Scan is available for Android and iOS). My personal favorite is DropBox – it’s easy to use, has apps for Android and iOS and synchronizes documents across devices, so you don’t forget. You get 5GB of free storage, it’s encrypted – just make sure to enable the password/code protection on your mobile device! Check it out at www.dropbox.com ! Alternatives are Google Drive or Microsoft Skydrive and countless other services.
When it comes to photo storage, there are also many offers available. If you are mainly using your iPhone, the iCloud photo stream is probably all you need. And if you are only take photos on one or two vacations, Dropbox will do just fine. If you take lots of photos at high resolutions, I recommend Flickr by Yahoo: Flickr allows you to store full-size images (not scaled down to web-size) and offers a Terrabyte of storage, pretty much unlimited for most non-professional photographers. There are mobile apps as well as the web site available to manage your photos. Check it out at www.flickr.com ! Alternatives are Picasa by Google (check their IP language to make sure you are comfortable with that) or any of the other cloud storage solutions.
The third area cloud storage can make your travels better is for music: Having access to your favorite tunes while stuck at an airport is always helpful. Your preferred service depends on your source of music: if you are using iTunes to buy and manage your music, iCloud and Match are probably your best bet. You get 5GB (approx. 250 songs) for free and can purchase Match for an unlimited number. If you are an Android fan, Google Play offers a very similar service. With a nod to the huge market share iTunes has, it also allows you to upload all your music (ok, up to 20,000 songs) for free, straight from your iTunes library! You have to be patient though, because this is not a matching service (like Apple), but an actual upload of the file and will take a while. Lastly, Amazon also offers a similar service for all those Kindle fans, also including 250 songs for free and more for a fee. You can find a nice comparison on Wikipedia.
So, make sure to set up those storage solutions before your next trip, travel safely and with peace of mind…