For this trip, I decided it would be a good idea to have a portable external hard drive to back up to. (I also keep remote backups via Backblaze, but I wanted to be able to use Time Machine.)
So I bought a 2TB Western Digital My Passport SSD.
And I’m amazed at both its smallness and its speed.
I saw the physical dimensions listed before I bought it, but didn’t pay much attention to them. So I was expecting that it would be maybe the size of my hand, or maybe the size of a deck of cards. In fact, it’s just about the size of a business-card case, about 4" x 2" x 0.4", and it weighs less than 2 ounces. It would be easy to carry in a pocket or to lose in a backpack. :)
It’s also remarkably fast. It has a USB-C port (that’s its only port), so I connected it to my MacBook Air with a Thunderbolt cable (maybe an ordinary USB-C cable would work just as well, not sure), and it ran a complete Time Machine backup from scratch overnight. (I think my usual experience has been that a new TM backup takes a couple of days.)
It does get a little hot after it’s been running for a while. But not too bad.
It’s also pretty. I’ve had varying reactions to WD’s enclosure designs over the years, but I really like this one. And it’s sorta kinda blue—it’s the very dark blue/black color that seems to be the fashionable color for tech stuff these days. (Similar to the color of my 2020 iPhone.)
You can, of course, get much larger-capacity external hard drives for a much lower price. (I generally buy 8TB WD My Book drives for about $150.) But those drives are physically a lot bigger and heavier, and much less portable, and much slower.
…Normally I would just link to WD’s website, but in this case the WD site doesn’t offer the blue color. So I’m linking to Amazon, but if you want one of these in a different color, you can also get it from WD.