Traveling (Part 1)

by Brian Katz on June 24, 2013 · 0 comments

It’s been a long month for me. This has been my 4th week traveling in a row with very brief stops at home to see the family. Needless to say, my blogging has suffered the most. So rather than trying to write a grand blog I thought I would put together some notes about traveling, leaving some of the other blog ideas I have floating in my head for another day.

imageTraveling is always interesting but not always fun. We hear complaints about going through security all the time, bad flights, bad hotel rooms and the list goes on and on. It gets more interesting when you are involved with mobile and carry multiple devices with you. You start worrying about things like will your battery last, did I leave my device in the seatback pocket (sometimes they do get returned), are there enough outlets out there and just simple things like how can I get around easier.

So let’s start with how I prep for a trip. My goal is always to take as few devices as possible but as I need to test new devices and new ways of working with them it’s not always easy. My current kit of devices that goes with me everywhere is my iPad 4 with Logitech Ultrathin keyboard (more on that in a second), my iPhone and my Macbook Air 11”. I can truly get through a week without my Macbook Air and have actually done it many times but I find that for some of the things, which I need to do for work, it is easier on a more traditional laptop. I find most of the VDI screens that we use to be more painful than anything else on a tablet. I then pack my second phone (it varies, but while in Amsterdam I am using an unlocked Nexus 4 device). One of my most important devices is my Belkin 3 outlet surge suppressor that also includes 2 USB ports. It’s awesome and, when in an airport, people will love you when you expand one outlet to 3 (5 with USB). Then you need all the charging cables and connectors. I recommend that you have either a mesh bag or a Grid It. I use both. The mesh bag takes any long cables plus the spare batteries for my phones while the Grid It neatly organizes my adapters.

So let’s talk a little more about devices. I upgraded to the iPad 4 and also have an iPad mini and iPhone 5. One of the benefits of all these are that they use the same apple lightning adapter on their charge/sync cable. I never worry about having the wrong cable and I usually carry one for each device. I also recommend, if you have the iPad, that you upgrade to the 12W plug, it will charge your iPad about 45 minutes faster and when used with an iPhone means it charges super quick. I carry the Logitech ultrathin keyboard. Although I type just fine on a screen, when I know I will be taking a lot of notes or perhaps live tweeting a session, there’s nothing like having a real keyboard. I am not a huge folio fan due to the fact that there are times I just want to bring the iPad without a keyboard, and the Logitech detaches easily. This is how I workout on the road, the iPad goes to the gym and lets me catch up on tweets, news stories and articles that I have fallen behind on.

When I am in the hotel I usually set up my Belkin plug and can have all my devices in one outlet and charged up by morning. The phones go on the USB plugs and everything else plugs into the regular outlets. I also carry along 2 different types of battery chargers for my phones. When traveling, you never know when you will be near an outlet. I have a battery pack that attaches to my iPhone and doubles the battery. Since it isn’t a case but attaches, I only have it hooked up when I need it. I also carry a 10,000 mAh battery that can charge any of my phones over 5 times or else almost fully double the battery of the iPad. I usually end up loaning it to someone I am with who didn’t think about power at the time they were packing.

Once I am on the road, I also change my habits. If I am driving, I always bring a car charger as my phone becomes my GPS…hasn’t led me wrong yet (although it did earn a bad review for an Android device a year ago, rebooted in the middle of the highway before a turn…not fun). I also use certain services based upon where I am traveling. If I travel outside the United States I use an app called Onavo Extend. This is an app that works as a proxy service and compresses all my data as I send and receive it from my device. It has reduced my data consumption on the road by over 50% which, when you travel internationally, is invaluable. It has saved me plenty of money. I also subscribe to a service by Boingo (iPass has something similar) which allows me to log onto WiFi sites for a low monthly fee. This helps reduce my reliance on hotels and others to get a great WiFi signal for my tablets and phones.

Traveling through TSA security checkpoints is always fun. When you do it enough you know not to bring liquids etc, but when you carry as many devices as I do, you learn other tricks. I carry my tablets in a small lined bag that fits in my backpack. When I get to security, I take out the laptop, bag of tablets (leave them in the bag) and the mesh bag of cables. This alone has stopped me from being pulled out of line for a secondary check numerous times. Overlapping wires and electronics are hard to tell apart apparently and can be a big stumbling block. My latest TSA secondary check stopper is my Yeti microphone (I now have a podcast) that will start to come out of the bag as well, just to avoid being stopped and then having it swabbed.

Traveling doesn’t have to be painful as long as you do some simple prep. One of these days I will get around to part 2, where I talk about being in the hotel and getting around strange cities with the use of your mobile devices.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: