The guaranteed way to get something useful for studying abroad
Merry Christmas from my friends and I to you and yours
So I actually stuck by my idea and have kept this going as an annual post. In case you missed my explanation in the 2011 Christmas List, it’s basically a compilation of things I used, thought might be useful, or wish I had bought before I went abroad all together in one easy-to-email to friends and relatives list. While I thought some things would remain on the list from year to year, this year’s is 100% fresh. For the third year in a row, here’s The Study Abroad Student’s Christmas List for 2012.
Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2MP Digital SLR Camera
I still plan on getting the Nikon D3100 as my first dSLR, but to be fair (and non-repetitive), this year I’m recommending the EOS Rebel T3 from Canon. The new flagship of the EOS Rebel line, Canon EOS Rebel T2i brings professional features into an easy to use, lightweight digital SLR. Featuring an 18.0-megapixel CMOS image sensor and increased light sensitivity for low light photography, it also has an advanced HD Movie mode and Movie Crop function. Advanced Live View, a new wide-area screen, plus features like Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone make it easy to shoot high quality photos and movies in any environment. With a high-resolution 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor to top it off, it’s the best photo and video quality in a dSLR for less than $1,000.
Panasonic Lumix ZS20 Digital Camera
An overall upgrade from the Lumix ZS8, the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 still brings one of the most desirable features – the 20x zoom lens. Its lens starts off at an ultrawide-angle 24mm and zooms in to 480mm, an incredible range for a lens in a body that’s only 1.1 inches thick. The lens is paired with Panasonic’s Power O.I.S. optical image stabilization, and is able to handle the camera’s extra zoom range. The ZS20 also offers including improved low-light photo quality and extremely fast shooting performance for this category of camera. One of the coolest features for study abroad students is the Built-In GPS which records the name of the country, state, township or city that you are visiting to your photo or video.
Olloclip 3-in-1 Lens for iPhone
While the iPhone’s 8MP lens means it can essentially replace your basic point and shoot camera, take your pictures to the next level with the Olloclip 3-in-1 Lens solution. Compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, the Olloclip is a quick-connect lens system that includes fisheye, wide-angle, and macro lenses in a tiny and convenient package. The fisheye lens captures a nearly 180 degree field-of-view, the wide-angle lens doubles the field of view of the iPhone camera, and finally, the macro lens lets you focus the iPhone within 12-15mm of your subject. Just slide the small lens over the iPhone’s rear camera, and adjust it to one of the three modes.
Apple iPad Mini
Previously when it came to Apple products, I had always favored the iPod Touch to the iPad mostly for space and weight reasons. That all changed this year with the unveiling of the new iPad Mini, which although it may not have a Retina Display, is better for study abroad students in almost every other way. All of the iPad’s best features, i.e. the beautiful screen, fast and fluid performance, FaceTime and iSight cameras, and 10-hour battery life, all come together again in a device comfortable enough to be held in one hand. And while it may be a bit pricier than the Kindle or Nook, it has one thing that neither of those devices does – access to the whole Apple App Store and iTunes.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has a vibrant High-Def display, incredibly fast downloading and streaming, Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers, and enough power under the hood to keep it all going. When it comes to movies, TV, songs, magazines, books, and apps, with over 22 million titles Kindle has you covered. A bonus for study abroad students, now you can even buy or rent your textbooks through Kindle Textbook Rental. A front-facing HD camera for taking photos or making video calls using Skype or Facebook is built right in, making communication abroad much easier. And to top it off, there’s integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and more, with free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content.
Apple World Travel Adapter Kit
Like I always say, you never want to be without a way to charge your electronic devices abroad. The World Travel Adapter Kit from Apple includes a USB power adapter, a USB cable a 30-pin to USB cable, and a set of six AC plugs with prongs that fit different electrical outlets around the world (and directly support outlets in North America, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong). For study abroad students, this is the perfect kit to ensure power connectivity in just about every country you travel to. The Kit is designed to work with iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple MagSafe Power Adapters (for MacBook), Portable Power Adapters, and AirPort Express.
Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack
It may not look like it, but the Osprey Farpoint 55 is actually a 2-in-1 backpack including a panel-loading main bag and a detachable day pack. The main bag offers a panel-loading opening with lockable zippers, an interior pocket and internal compression straps – invaluable when trying to fit it inside of an overhead bin. The detachable daypack includes multiple pockets, and an internal sleeve which can be used to hold either a hydration reservoir or your computer. If you’re really roughing it, the removable sleeping pad straps and gear attachment points offer additional carrying options. Just like the Osprey Porter 46, the Farpoint 55 has padded carry handles at the top and the side, making it easy to grab and go.
Samsonite Aspire Sport Spinner 29 Luggage
I’ve stood in too many airport check-in lines watching people go over-weight, break a wheel or zipper, or rip off a handle by accident. While other brands may try to compete, I recommend sticking with one of the most reliable brands in the industry – Samsonite. The Samsonite Aspire Sport Spinner is one of their best values and doesn’t compromise on quality features. The smooth rolling wheels make for effortless mobility,the rubberized corner protectors guard against wear and tear, and the interior includes Wetpak and mesh pockets for increased organization. It expands for added packing capacity, the compression straps keep content tight, and the two zippered exterior pockets are great for last minute items.
Dakine Wheeled Duffle 90L
Compared to a rigid suitcase, it’s much easier to stuff a duffel bag to the brim and that’s probably why they’re becoming more and more popular every year. This wheeled duffel from Dakine has 90 liters os storage space, a large U-shaped opening for easy access to the main compartment, zippered end pockets (great for extra pairs of shoes), a solid retractable handle, smooth-rolling replaceable urethane wheels, and locking zipper cars. Everything about this duffel says durability, even the fabric is heavy-duty. There’s nothing too fancy about this bag, which is perfect for those students who are looking to do some rough and rugged traveling.
Platypus SoftBottle Waterbottle
Clean water is essential, especially when traveling. Now you can always have it on-hand with your own Platypus SoftBottle,the cleanest, greenest, and most flexible hydration bottle out there. It fits in a drink holder, a round pocket, a flat pocket, or any hand. It weighs 80% less than hard hydration bottles, and when empty it rolls up and and can be stored wherever you have a little extra space. The HyperFlow cap has a bite valve that delivers a superfast flow rate, and also has a twist-lock travel valve that shuts down the system during transport, meaning no leaks. Each one even comes with their Clean-Taste Guarantee.
Sea To Summit DryLite Towel
You may not want to have to rent a towel at every hostel you stay in, but bringing one along on your travels can take up a lot of precious space in your backpack. The DryLite Towel from Sea To Summit is both what you need and what you want in a travel towel – it’s soft and thirsty, but compact and quick drying. Made of a super soft microfiber, all Sea to Summit towels are extremely comfortable. The same microfiber that gives the towel it’s soft feel is also responsible for it’s super absorbancy, soaking up water in a way natural fibers can’t. A quick dry time prevents the build up of mold and prolonged dampness. Sea To Summitt offers their towels in 5 different sizes and a variety of colors.
Duracell Instant USB Charger
So you want to be able to charge your electronics on the go, but either didn’t bring your adapter kit with you or aren’t near a power source. That’s no longer a problem as Duracell puts that power in the palm of your hand with their Instant USB Charger. It’s essentially just a USB port connected to a lithium ion battery, and luckily that’s all you need. It has a clean-cut design with only an on/off switch and a simple light that indicates when it’s charged or charging. Although small , it can deliver up to 3 hours of back-up cell phone power, and 50 hours of music playback. With a size not much bigger or heavier than a credit card, it’s easy to bring in your bag for backup power whenever you need it.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!
My name is Nate Nault, and I'm the creator of The Study Abroad Blog. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and my goal is to help students make the most of it. Feel free to connect with me here or on just about any social network in existence.