Travel-Log: Dumping the Laptop for an iPad

Can you really dump the laptop for an iPad? Probably not, but I took a shot at travelling with my iPad only this week to see if I could handle it, and the results were “mixed.” 

For the better part of 15 years I have traveled with a laptop. Work or pleasure, I always had my trusty laptop in tow. There was always work to be done on the plane, or after the conference or event. It just became part of my travel bag, right next to the workout clothes, and the clear plastic bag with my toiletries (thoguh notably absent my toothpaste and floss this trip.. ugh!) 

The last few trips though I started carrying my iPad with me as well. I found myself using it for most of the day and only periodically logging in on my laptop. Coupled with my trusty Blackberry(!) I started to wonder if I needed my laptop at all.

So I tried to go without.

This week I went to San Francisco to participate on a web content management vendor panel at the Inbound Marketing Summit. Given my quick turn-around (out on Monday night, back Wednesday night), I thought this was a good trip to try to go laptop-less.

How did it go? Here are a couple of quick observations:

  • After all of these years, it’s hard to give up the laptop, but I survived, easily
  • Airport security was easier without having to take the laptop out of the bag, one less bin
  • Not being able to work on email offline created a small challenge, but I got over it
  • I definitely need a little bag to carry it and a few other small things in, it’s hard walking around with it under your arm the whole time
  • In a tight conference room, I wouldn’t have pulled out my laptop, but this way I could connect without being obtrusive, and it was easier to move around the room
  • I have gotten pretty good at trouble shooting a wireless connection on a laptop, but when my iPad wouldn’t connect to the conference network at first, I was pretty lost (a big thank you to whomever left their Android Access Point open for me to “borrow” that first morning.)
  • Evernote doesn’t work that well in offline mode (at least for me), so I had to use the native notepad app, which isn’t as good
  • Despite typing on the key pad for 2 straight days, I still hit that damn “m” key instead of the space bar far too many times

Netting the experience out, despite a few minutes of trepidation realizing I didn’t have a few files with me, it worked out just fine. Definitely works best for shorter trips though. Any longer, I think I will need to bring the big old brick!


PS, Rather than try to replicate the most innovative show recaps by @Conferencebites and @kabaim I will simply point to those instead.  My three key takeaways?

  1. Mobile is hot
  2. Mobile is really, really hot
  3. Mobile is so hot, why aren’t you already doing mobile?

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