Photo storage for your travels – WD My Passport Ultra

Taking photos is one of the pleasures and problems of travel. I love trying to capture every memory in my images; that glorious view, golden sunset, or delicious meal. But from even the shortest trips I probably come home with hundreds or even thousands of photos. These are the photos that I use to illustrate the articles I write on this blog, to share on my social media channels and possibly to use for projects in the future.

They are also the photos of my husband, friends or family that encapsulate the memories of each trip. For both personal and professional reasons I’d hate to lose any of those photos. That’s why on my recent Uniworld cruise I was pleased to try out the Western Digital My Passport Ultra, an external hard drive to store photos and other data.

WD My Passport Ultra

Before I left for my cruise I made sure I tried out the My Passport Ultra, and lucky I did so, as I discovered that in order to use with my Apple Mac I’d need to format it.

On the box, it says that the My Passport Ultra is Compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista and requires reformatting for Mac OS. The small leaflet that came in the box directed me to and when I did a search on that page I came to instructions on how to format the My Passport Ultra for Mac, which took around 10 minutes.

WD My Passport Ultra Photo:

WD My Passport Ultra

The WD My Passport Ultra is pretty neat in size – around 11cm x 8cm so it was no problem to pack it along with all my other leads, adapters and batteries. I liked the slim, white, shiny feel of the hard drive, even though that has no bearing on its ability to store the photos! The version I have will store up to 1 TB of data, that’s 1000 GB of storage, and after my week’s trip I had only used 6 GB with my photos, so no danger of running out of space.

I already have two external hard drives that I use for photo and video backup and I transfer my photos to them after each trip. However since they now have a few year’s worth of photos on them, I’m very reluctant to take these away from home, for fear of losing all my photos. Instead it’s better to have a third hard drive like the WD My Passport Ultra that I can take on trips as a backup and then clear down afterwards.

WD My Passport Ultra Photo:

WD My Passport Ultra

While I was on my cruise I would transfer photos from my iPhone onto my Macbook laptop and from there onto the My Passport Ultra hard drive. That way, if either my laptop or my phone was lost or damaged, I’d still have a copy of the photos. When I got home I uploaded the best photos to my Flickr album – see them here – and moved the photos to the hard drives I keep at home, then cleared the My Passport Ultra for my next trip. It may seem a bit of work but 30 mins every couple of days is far better than the risk of losing my photos.

Of course if you’re just taking photos for your own interest, and don’t travel with a laptop like I do, it’s still a great idea to have an external hard drive like the My Passport Ultra to back up your photos after you get home. There’s also an option to use the hard drive for automatic backup of everything that’s on your laptop, although I’m not using it for this.

Overall I found the My Passport Ultra was easy to use and gave me peace of mind when travelling, knowing that I had a back-up of all my photos.

Do you backup your photos when you travel and if so what method do you use?

Now here are a few photos from my cruise – you can read about my Uniworld Cruise here.

The SS Catherine Uniworld nr Tarascon

The SS Catherine Uniworld nr Tarascon

Olives in the market at Avignon Photo:

Olives in the market at Avignon

Arena at Avignon Photo:

Arena at Avignon

Bridge at Avignon Photo:

Bridge at Avignon

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Read about the WD My Passport Ultra

This article was sponsored by Western Digital and I was provided with a WD My Passport Ultra to try out for this article.

This article is originally published at – Read the original article here

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My luxury carry-on case from Knomo – Bolsover luggage review

If Knomo were your best friend, she’d be one of those cool, stylish people who lives life to the full – always on the move, trying out the latest gadgets, working on some interesting, creative project or other. Perhaps she’d be a photographer, designer or even a blogger, moving effortlessly from an informal business meeting to drinks with friends. Knomo is a girl who doesn’t really care about logos and labels, she just loves things that are beautifully designed and work for her lifestyle. Understated elegance is her trademark, she’s the sort of girl that always looks polished and put together, even though you can’t quite place what brand she’s wearing. Perhaps Knomo is a girl just like you or me, or perhaps with the perfect piece of luggage we can live her lifestyle too.

Ready to disembark MSC Splendida with my Knomo case

Ready to disembark MSC Splendida with my Knomo case

Of course I’m just having a bit of fun imagining the Knomo lifestyle, since Knomo is not a real person but a purveyor of luxury luggage, handbags and other finery that might just work in your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a classy bag with room for your tablet, laptop and mobile, that won’t shout “technology geek”, look no further. Or perhaps a case for that iPhone 6 that’s already on your Christmas list? Or even the perfect soft leather messenger bag that will keep the man in your life organised and looking good (Knomo’s not just for girls you know).

I made a short video below so you can see how I got on with my Knomo Bolsover case on my cruise

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To test out whether Knomo could cope with my aspirations for effortless style as well as accommodating all the technology that goes with a blogger’s lifestyle, I took the Bolsover trolley bag along as hand luggage on my MSC Mediterrranean Cruise. On the flight out to Barcelona to meet the ship we had one suitcase between us as well as a small carry-on case which was the perfect scenario for my Bolsover. In Placa Catalunya we stopped for a photo opportunity, enjoying the sunshine and the life in the square that is Barcelona’s beating heart.

Arrived at Placa Catalunya in Barcelona with my Knomo case

Arrived at Placa Catalunya in Barcelona with my Knomo case

Isn’t she pretty?

I must say that this gorgeous bag made me feel quite the jet setting girl about town. The luxurious red carry-on is piped in leather-effect trim and covered with a soft waterproof fabric that’s quilted in a diamond pattern. I love that rich, red colour, the shade of tomato ketchup or should I say a glass of good claret? It feels luxurious, elegant and expensive (but of course no more than I deserve!) There’s a sturdy metal telescopic handle that allows you to pull the case along easily in the aiport but slots down and zips away neatly when you want to use the bag as a weekender to drop into the back of the car, as well as a tactile but robust carrying handle at the top of the bag. I’m instantly impressed by the amount of shiny chrome zips and endless pockets – a girl can never have too many pockets in my opinion.

Lets take a look inside

Zipping open the main compartment of the case reveals four little side pockets to tuck way your underwear, jewellery or other small items with some straps to keep everything firmly in place. In the lid are two more larger pockets to pack your shoes and a half depth zip pocket to keep a book or kindle. Already I’ve counted seven pockets but that’s before I discover the extra zipped compartment that becomes your office storage area built into the lid.

You can tuck a 17 inch laptop in here, with some more sleeves and pockets for all those pens, chargers and other odds and ends, with a zip pocket for your tablet. That’s another six pockets and there’s more! On the outside lid there’s another full width zip pocket where I’d put a magazine to read on the flight and a cute little zip pocket set into the leather trim that’s the perfect size for your mobile. Two more pockets, what more could I ask for ?

Perhaps a way of finding my Knomo case again if I ever lose it? They’ve thought of that too. Inside the top compartment you’ll find a unique ID which you can register on the Knomo website. Now if you and your case are ever parted and it’s found by some honest citizen, Knomo will return your bag to you free of charge.

My Knomo case in my stateroom on MSC Splendida

My Knomo case in my stateroom on MSC Splendida

Who is the Bolsover case ideal for?

With all these compartments and zipped sections, this case is ideal for the elegant business traveller who’s away for a few days, or a leisure traveller like myself who always travels with a laptop and other techological paraphernalia. I have to find space in my luggage for a laptop, mini-ipad that I use for novels and online travel guides, a video camera, normal camera and all the associated batteries, cables and chargers (that’s where all those pockets come in handy). The Bolsover is a great weekend bag for those who like to pack in an organised way with a place for everything. This really is a case that you could hand to the porter at the smartest luxury hotel with pride and pretend that it’s packed with your designer wardrobe (Silly me! Who’s pretending? I know you only buy the best!)

What’s not to like?

If there is anything to watch out for with the Bolsover I’d say that if you are a truly minimalist and lightweight traveller, this may not be the case for you. The height of the case is slightly shorter than the maximum allowance for most airlines, which could be a waste of potential extra packing space if you are trying to maximise your allowance without paying for checked luggage. At nearly 3.4kg the case isn’t the lightest around and if you are packing all your technology it will end up being on the heavy side and an effort to get into the overhead locker on the plane, not to mention being a bit too heavy for those airlines that have a carry-on bag weight allowance.

My Knomo case in my stateroom on  MSC Splendida

My Knomo case in my stateroom on MSC Splendida

Here’s what I love

I love the way that the Knomo bags are all so stylish and elegant, yet they are also perfectly designed to fit your tablet, mobile, laptop of any other technology that you need to take with you for business or leisure. It may look like an elegant clutch but there’s room for your mobile, keys, credit cards and notebook. It may look like a sporty cross body bag for the girl on the go but you can still find room for your tablet and camera. I like the fact that you can keep all these things with you without revealing to the world that there’s an expensive laptop or camera inside. Smart but not shouty.

Check out the other items I love that match my Bolsover case

Left: Huntley Weekend Bag £149 Right: Maple cross-body bag £79 from Knomo

Left: Huntley Weekend Bag £149 Right: Maple cross-body bag £79 from Knomo

The Vital Statistics

Heather tried the Bolsover carry-on wheeled trolley in scarlet from Knomo. The bag has a zipped compartment that fits a 17 inch laptop at the front of the bag and is made with a quilted nylon exterior and leather style trim. The bag measures 45cm H x 29cm D x 19.5cm D and weighs 3.42kg. The Bolsover wheeled trolley costs £249 and can be ordered from the Knomo Website. Other matching items in the Fitzrovia Collection include the Maple cross-body bag £79, The Huntley weekend bag £149 and the Great Portland Shoulder Tote £119.

Thanks to Knomo who provided Heather with her Bolsover carry-on for this review.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at – Read the original article here

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What equipment do you need for hiking in Europe?

If you’re a fairweather walker who is embarking on a longer or more strenuous trip than normal, it can be difficult to decide what additional equipment you’ll need for a hiking trip in the UK or Europe. Not all trails are the same and what you might need for a 3 day walk on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path that I’ll be doing next weekend could be different than what you need for a 12 day Alpine trek like the Tour de Mont Blanc that I’ve also experienced. Weather, terrain and your budget will all be a factor in what you take, so here are some tips on picking the right gear for your hiking holiday.

Hiking in the Alps with my friend Julia Photo:

Hiking in the Alps with my friend Julia

Weather considerations

In most parts of Europe, at most times of year, you can expect the odd shower, so a lightweight waterproof jacket will generally be essential. Even warmer regions of Europe can be surprisingly cool at night and your jacket will ward off evening chills. However it’s worth checking the general temperature and likelihood of rain before you make any new purchases. For instance if you’re hiking in Mallorca as I will be in September, it probably wouldn’t be worth purchasing a new waterproof, or if you do it’s better to go for an inexpensive and lightweight one, whereas for a hike in the Alps it would be worth investing in a good Gore-Tex jacket.

Budget considerations

I’m a believer in keeping costs down by using what you have or borrowing items for occasional use, but investing in a few good pieces of equipment when you really need them. Consider what you really need and how much you are likely to use it after your hiking holiday, then look at what you already have in your wardrobe or can easily borrow and make your purchases accordingly.

Walking on the coastal path in Cornwall Photo:

Walking on the coastal path in Cornwall

What’s the terrain?

Some hiking trips will be on more demanding terrain than others. When I walk in Cornwall or Pembrokeshire in the UK, it’s generally on flattish terrain, so I may not worry too much about walking poles which would be essential on a mountain trek. Also, if you are up in the mountains, away for days from any major towns or villages you’ll want to take everything you need as it could make all the difference to your comfort and safety.

Choosing your walking boots

Let’s start at the bottom with boots and socks that you’ll need for your hiking holiday. For anything more than a country walk on flat terrain, where trainers may be fine, I would recommend investing in a good pair of boots or well supported walking shoes. There are many hybrid styles of boots available these days and if the terrain is not too demanding or the climate hot you may prefer to go for walking shoes or mid height boots. However for longer trails on demanding terrain I would definitely choose a boot with good ankle support, to avoid twists and ankle injuries. If you are buying new boots you always need to try on as many pairs as you can in a local outdoor equipment retailer such as Cotswold Outdoor, before making your final choice and buy only what feels comfortable from the moment you put it on, even if it is a bit more expensive than others. Some well padded hiking socks will also be a good investment and I always have plenty of plasters, especially the specialist blister plasters in my bag, just in case. Read my article on how to choose walking boots for your hiking holiday.

Choosing your walking boots for hiking in Europe Photo:

My walking boots take a well-earned rest in the Tour de Mont Blanc

A Waterproof Jacket

The next most essential item for hiking is normally your waterproof jacket. Unless you are going to an area that is reliably dry, it’s worth ensuring that you have a good jacket to keep you comfortable and dry in any rain showers. My waterproof jacket cost around £100 and is made of breatheable Gore-Tex but there are good jackets to suit all budgets. Look out for features such as plenty of zip pockets to keep cameras, phones, snacks and lip salve close to hand and for under-arm zips or vents to keep you cool, as well as drawstrings and visors on the hood to keep you extra dry in a downpour. It’s likely that your jacket will be in and out of your rucksack, so it needs to pack up small and light too. For longer treks with high likelihood of rain, you’ll also need waterproof trousers, but I don’t normally take them on shorter treks where I can check the weather beforehand or find a friendly pub to shelter.

Walking on Dartmoor Photo:

My waterproof jacket kept me comfortable in all weathers on Dartmoor

Your rucksack

Another important items to consider is the rucksack you will be carrying all your gear in. Again the size and style will depend very much on the type of hiking holiday. For some types of holiday, where you are doing a circular walk from your accommodation, or where your luggage is transported as part of an organised walking holiday, you can get away with a day sack. On longer treks such as the Tour de Mont Blanc where you are carrying all your walking gear for the whole trip, you will need a 30L to 45L rucksack, but then it’s worth reducing the amount you carry to the bare minimum. Look out for a rucksack with side pockets and easily accessible compartments, so that you don’t have to unpack the whole rucksack on the mountainside to get at the one thing you need. Also consider the waterproof qualities when buying a new day sack or rucksack, or invest in a waterproof cover for longer treks and consider packing clothing into plastic bags inside your rucksack.

My friend Julia with her rucksack on the Tour de Mont Blanc Photo:

My friend Julia with her rucksack on the Tour de Mont Blanc

Wearing lightweight layers

You’ll want to stay dry and comfortable while walking, but your clothing is one area where you don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money as you may already have suitable items in your wardrobe. It’s a good idea to have a pair of lightweight, quick drying walking trousers with zip-off legs to convert them into shorts, if you are walking for more than a couple of days and are likely to encounter showers. Otherwise choose other lightweight, stretchy and quick drying trousers or shorts you already have in your wardrobe, but avoid jeans or any fabric that will take ages to dry once wet. On your top half you can wear any lightweight t-shirt or longer sleeved shirt and I often use a running t-shirt or anything that will wick away sweat. You’ll also need a lightweight fleece or two, as even in hot destinations as the temperature can drop in the evenings. The key is to have clothes that can be layered, are light, quick drying and comfortable. Here’s my article on what I packed for the Tour de Mont Blanc.

Walking on the Tour de Mont Blanc Photo:

A stretchy running t-shirt is fine for most hikes

 Walking poles

Before I walked the Tour de Mont Blanc, I never used walking poles for my walks in the UK, but now I wouldn’t be without them on longer hikes. On longer walks and especially where you are carrying a heavy rucksack, they really support your legs and knees and on uneven or slippery terrain such as coastal paths or mountain treks they will help you keep your balance and avoid twisting a knee or ankle. Once again there are walking poles for every budget, but I would look out for telescopic poles that fold up small and are more practical to transport when travelling. Read my article about walking poles for the Tour de Mont Blanc.

Choosing your walking boots for hiking in Europe Photo:

Walking poles are essential on longer treks like the Tour de Mont Blanc

Whether you’re walking a coastal path in the UK, planning a major mountain trek or doing some hiking as part of your summer holiday, it’s worth spending a little time considering what equipment you’ll need and then making the purchases that will be most useful, according to your budget, for a comfortable and enjoyable walk.

This article was brought to you in partnership with Cotswold Outdoor where you can shop online for Outdoor Clothing and Footwear, Climbing, Camping Equipment and more for the outdoors.

 More useful reading

How my Leki Vario Poles saved my legs on the Tour de Mont Blanc
How to choose the perfect walking boots for the Tour de Mont Blanc and other hiking trails
The mountain clothing you’ll need for treking the Tour de Mont Blanc

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at – Read the original article here

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