Traveling with an iPad

I just returned from a 2 week trip to South Africa and thus the reason that it was a bit slow with fresh content. I planned to write some while traveling but connectivity was less developed as expected. No matter what is your favorite travel device, without connectivity they are all worth less as you can find out when reading on.

I like to travel, both for business as well for pleasure and I usually have some trips half planned. During these trips I like to stay connected, when it's a business trip for obvious business reasons and when it's a trip for fun it's to stay in touch and to refine the planning of the trip.

The way I travel not based on a well planned and booked trip, it usually still requires a lot of additional information gathering, planning and reservations on the go. 20 Years ago I would carry heaps of travel guides and schedules, today the internet and of course connectivity is the way to go.

All the trips do have something in common. I like to travel light and when ever it's possible I travel with only carry on luggage. I rather buy something new or get something cleaned on the way then carry too much stuff, because I don't have a very good track record with luggage getting at the destination at the same time as me when flying. My preferred luggage gear has become a small rolling hardcase carry-on for clothes and a briefcase for electronics and paper. Space is tight and everything needs to be optimized for size.

A smart phone does most of the 'stay connected' work, but for careful planning, making some bookings on the go and discussing the plans with my girl friend it's not very convenient and therefor I usually bring a small laptop. However the arrival of the iPad changed this, because the iPad is small has great battery life and is just more convenient to carry.

When traveling to Japan a few months ago I took the iPad with high expectations. I invested in the camera connection kit to make sure I could make a backup of digital photos and off we went. Unfortunately the availability of WiFi was much less than anticipated, connectivity in most hotels was still cable based. The iPad (and my MacBook Air for that matter) lost out on the connectivity. WiFi was usually only available in public areas, but that is not the most convenient place to do careful planning and trip research. Next to 'staying connected' I often already start processing some of the many digital pictures, getting rid of the most obvious junk and when possible blogging and uploading some picture for the people at home. The iPad was alright for this purpose, however the photo processing capabilities are a bit limited.

I concluded that the iPad is still great for traveling, but only if WiFi availability is good and you can live without advanced photo processing. Check the WiFi availability before choosing your device for the trip. On the last trip to South Africa I actually expected WiFi availability to be poor and mostly cable based. I opted to bring a normal laptop. However the reality was very different. I haven't seen a cable or outlet and most accommodation (we stayed mainly in Bed & Breakfasts) didn't have any connectivity at all. The only connectivity was based on WiFi hotspots with prepaid vouchers or other payment schemes. Thus the reason for not updating this blog.

Next trip planned is some snowboarding and my iPad will be the device of choice, because I know there is WiFi and it's not a trip with needs for image processing.

What's your favorite travel companion to stay connected?

2 comments

Salsajazz

An Airport express in bridge mode could do the job when WiFi is not available and cable internet is.

iPad is very useful when you are on a business trip. It is just a handy tool for everything. It is easier to bring and it is powerful. I won't be surprised if one day I can't anymore live without my iPad.

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