Ipad For Travel

Summary: Learn the top 10 reasons why to use an Ipad for travel.  Hint: Because the iPad is lighter than a notebook, has a longer battery life than most notebooks, and can be comfortably used on an airplane tray table even with a wireless iPad Bluetooth keyboard…

I returned from a trip to lovely Boulder, Colorado where I visited some friends and attended a “Boulder Open Coffee Club” meeting.  Throughout the trip, I mostly used  my Apple iPad for travel instead of my notebook computer.  While I was on the plane, I wrote this list of top 10 reasons for using an  iPad when you fly instead of your notebook.

1. I can easily use an iPad on the airplane serving tray, with a full sized keyboard, even where a notebook can't fit. Before using the iPad, I'd been traveling with netbooks and notebooks having screens 10″ or smaller  so that I could open them on the tray table.   Often, when a passenger in front of me would recline the seat, I'd still have to type with my notebook pressed near my chest.    The iPad is easier to use on a plane since I can either cradle it in my arm, like a  notepad, or I  can lie the iPad flat on the airplane tray, or I can use a portfolio case to prop it up the iPad like an easel.   When I use the iPad like an easel, there's still enough room on the tray for a full sized cordless keyboard.

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2. The iPad's battery lasts 10 to 12 hours compared to just a few hours on my notebook. The iPad's 10 hour battery is long enough to use the iPad on a long international flight.  The iPad has a long battery life because it has  solid state memory instead of a hard drive,  a power saving display that adjusts automatically to ambient light and it has power-sipping circuitry.   When I travel with my iPad,  I no longer have to search around airports for open electrical outlets.


3. The iPad is lighter to carry around than a notebook. The iPad is 1.8 pounds.  How heavy is your laptop?  Also, it's easier to hide an iPad in your rental car glovebox or hotel room than a notebook.

4. I can leave my iPad inside my carry on luggage for faster check-in at airport security. In April, 2010, the FAA announced that the iPad can stay in your bag through the airport x-ray.  Maybe not a big deal, but consider how much faster security lines would move if each traveler didn't have to remove and replace a notebook when  going through security.   Also, consider that you might be able to just leave your second carry-on bag at home.   I just store the iPad  in the zippered front of my rolling carry on bag and remove it before I place my bag in the overhead.

5. I can dowload books, magazines and newspapers instantly to my iPad. On my most recent flight, a woman in the security queue was pulled aside for a bag search because she had too many books in her backpack.   That's a (true) extreme example, but before I traveled with a reader, I'd sometimes take a few pounds worth of books and still often not be satisfied with my book choices when I arrived at my destination.   When I fly with my iPad,   I typically take one small paperback book for take-offs and landings, but everything else I read on the iPad.    I've also taken many trips with the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle electronic readers which are considerably cheaper than the Apple

iPad.

6. The iPad switches on and off instantly compared to a couple minutes on my notebook. If you travel with a laptop or netbook, you know what a pain it is waiting for your computer to power up or power down, especially when you're rushing to get to a gate or when a flight attendant is glaring at you to “put away all electronic devices.”    Switching on and off my iPad is about as fast as switching on and off any cell phone.

7. I can use my iPad while standing in a queue, and in other places I can't easily use my notebook. I'd never consider powering up my notebook or try to use it while I'm standing in a line because  I simply don't have enough hands.   However,  I can instantly switch on an iPad and use it to read, or use it just  like I would use a leather portfolio.   Using an iPad while standing is a lot like using a very large smart phone.   While standing in various airport lines today, I read couple of dozen articles in the current issues of USA Today and Wall Street Journal.  My iPad made my standing time pass more quickly and productively.

8. I can use my iPad for in-flight movies, music and games. The iPad has enough memory to load a dozen or more movies and thousands of songs.    I still carry an MP3 player for music and audiobooks, but I've been leaving home my portable DVD player for years.

9. I can connect my iPad to  in-flight WiFi. Delta and a few other airlines offer in-flight WiFi and it's certain that other airlines will follow.   While up at 30,000 feet,  I  can use my iPad, in-flight, to answer email, surf the web or do almost anything I'd do with a Internet connected computer on the ground.  Even if a flight doesn't offer WiFi, many Internet applications, such as Google's Gmail, allow me to compose email offline and send later when I reconnect to the Internet on the ground.

10. I can use the iPad's 3G to pay less for Internet in my hotel room. All iPads have WiFi Internet built-in, which is great if you can find free public WiFi hot spots.  Unfortunately, many airports and hotels charge several dollars or more per day for WiFi wireless Internet access.  You can save money by buying an iPad that has both WiFi and Wireless 3G Internet.  The iPad's 3G data plan is pay-as-you go, so you pay for iPad 3G Internet access only when you need it.    For example, instead of paying $10 per day (or more) in a hotel room, you could pay $15 for one month of iPad 3G Internet access.

Resources

Photo Credit

Image captures and photographs by Chuck Eglinton

1. I can easily use an iPad on the airplane serving tray, with a full sized keyboard, that's  not always true with a notebook.  Many airlines are pushing passengers rows closer and closer together.    I've used laptops with 10″ screens so that I could open them on the tray table, but when the passenger in front of me would recline his seat, I'd have to type with my keyboard against my chest.    The iPad is easier to use on a plane since I can either cradle it in my arm, like a  notepad, or I  can lie it flat on the tray, or I can use a portfolio case to prop it up like an easel.   When I use the I pad like an easel, there's still enough room on the tray for a full sized cordless keyboard.
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3 thoughts

  1. Love your comments. Question: I just bought a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad. I use the iPad a lot to work when I travel by plane, and am now wondering if the bluetooth device is not allowed to be used while the airplane is in the air?

    Thanks,
    Lori Williams

    Chuck writes: Yes, bluetooth keyboards are allowed to be used while the airplane is in the air. Thanks for your question.

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