Part 5 - Traveling - iPad as my main computer

On Monday we landed in Los Angeles for our two-week vacation with my wife visiting West-Coast, Grand Canyon and other spectacular sites nearby. It's the first trip ever that I didn't take my laptop with me. Normally even though I wouldn't work too much (as I really want to spend this time with my wife), but as my laptop is (was) the center of my digital life (and I am a geek), I'd take it anyway. Now that I'm on my iPad only trial I just took my iPad. And nothing more. And I even planned the whole trip on the iPad. Here's how:


iPad is ideal for traveling... because it's so small

First let me tell you that iPad as such is ideal for traveling. Weights a lot less than my laptop (which is already an ultra-light Macbook Air!), needs less accessories, holds 10 hours on battery without any problem and can be turned on really instantly which is seriously amazing. It's a perfect travel computer as such. And when I want to read something, it converts to an ebook reader in an instant.

Great apps for traveling help you plan the trip

Traveling with an iPad? There are apps for that! Here are the ones I used:

  • TripIt! - thanks to the suggestion by David Pogue of the NYT, this is the "mother of all travel apps". When I ordered our plane ticket, rented car, hotel... whatever, I'd always receive a confirmation email. Forward it to TripIt and it beautifully parses the emails and adds them to the app. Perfect. In my last post I mentioned why I love how the apps work with email.

  • Booking - I've been always using for booking hotels and the iPad app works beautifully, too. I stopped using the web site, only use the app now.

  • FlightRadar24 and Flightrack PRO - both apps are great for following the airplanes, making sure we're not late and having up-to-date info about the flights. The latter syncs with my TripIt account which is really neat :-)

  • Navigon and Google Maps - I use navigation on my iPhone (Navigon in Europe and Copilot Live in the USA) by an extra view of the maps on my iPad helps me plan a trip. Google Maps app on the iPad is still a joy to use.

  • The Weather Channel - great app for watching weather forecast in various places at a time. Indispensable.

  • Evernote - as Evernote is my personal brain, I forward my travel confirmations there as well, just to make sure I can access and search them anytime. It's a backup solution for me, although I prefer the view that TripIt offers me. But I still have the habit of sending stuff to Evernote just in case.

  • Mercury Browser - I use this browser very often especially when ordering flights or cars as many web sites detect the iPad as a mobile phone and send me over to a crippled mobile site and won't even let me to go to their "normal" site. Mercury Browser has an ability to "imitate" I'm not on the iPad and it works.

  • 1Password - I use this to store passwords across all of my devices. Works beautifully and this app is one of the essentials on the iPad for any type of browsing, especially accessing different travel sites with my credentials. Or my banking account.

What's the journey going to be like? Should be fun!

I'm only starting my two-week trip so I'll be posting later how iPad worked, but so far so good. The planning and preparation on the iPad worked beautifully. Now it's time to see how iPad substitutes my main computer on this journey. Fingers crossed!

How do you find traveling with the iPad? Any tips or apps I missed?

Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (ipad,ipadonly)

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May 3, 2012 19:54
Use a great little app: " Tonight". It has deals like 50% off for tonight.
Currently on Crete (Greece) And this little app is saving me 10-15 euro daily without the hastle of calling and asking around. Now traveling for the first time with iPhone using Navigon, booking, maps 3D, Google maps etc. I don't understand how I could have travelled without it before.
May 8, 2012 19:40
This list is great! It’s basically most of my favorite apps I already have and a couple I don’t. There’s a couple favorites that you didn’t list that I’d love to recommend. One is Packing Pro; I used to constantly forget my phone charger or my contact case or something, but ever since I got Packing Pro those days are, thankfully, a thing of the past. I also really love the remote access app I got through my employer, DISH. It lets me watch live TV or shows off my DVRd shows off my box at home with my smartphone or tablet. I absolutely hate waiting for flights, and layovers used to kill me; but no longer!
Lynford Morton
May 10, 2012 20:23
Great list. Thanks for sharing. I just downloaded Mercury Browser and love it already.

I'd only add TripIt to the list. It's great for tracking all your travel plans. The pro version even sends you email and text updates when flights change. The iPad version is beautiful.

And since you didn't want to be self serving, I'll add that Nozbe for iPad keeps me on track with my projects when I'm traveling as well.


Michael Sliwinski
May 11, 2012 19:11
The suggestion of " tonight" was just on time - got a great hotel in Beverly Hills for cheap with it. Yes, Tripit is essential and that's why it's on the top of my list :-) I'll check Packing Pro out then, thanks guys and keep the comments coming!