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by Tim Van Damme

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Traveling with the iPad

When gwenny told me last week we had a vacation to Spain planned (and paid for), 2 things happened:

  • I panicked, as I completely forgot about this and had a lot of work scheduled.
  • But I was also happy, because this was the perfect opportunity to test the iPad as a travel companion. Up until now, I had been using it at home to check up on RSS, watch the latest Lost episodes and give demos to friends.

Usually when I leave on holiday, you can see me carrying a large shoulder bag packed with my laptop, laptop charger, books, magazines, Game Boy, Game Boy charger, headphones, Moleskine, camera and probably a couple of lenses. This easily weighs about 15 kilos. Traveling that way was like a workout, especially if you don’t have a direct flight. This time I went with a small shoulder bag with my iPad, headphone and travel documents in it (camera and one extra lens were stored in my suitcase). Total weight: about a single kilo. Every couple of minutes I checked if I was actually carrying something.

It was a scary move, but one I’d advise to everyone. For 5 days, i used the iPad as a book (iBooks app where I loaded up Craig Hockenberry’s book), a magazine (I made sure Instapaper was synced before we left), a gaming device (Plants vs Zombies, you took my girlfriend away) and notebook (I wrote 3 articles using SimpleNote).

To be honest, having a 3G iPad sounded tempting, although with the current cost of roaming that would’ve been a bad idea, and it’s healthy to be disconnected from the internet from time to time. Confession: I used my iphone to follow up on emails from clients and replies and direct messages on Twitter, together with checking in everywhere with Gowalla and making everyone on Twitter jealous with pictures of where and what we were eating.

Number of times I charged my iPad: Zero. As I’m typing this, there’s 31% left on the battery. Last time I charged it was the day before we left. On less than a single charge, I was able to read an entire book, listened to some music, read 20 long articles, and did some gaming. I also got some sun and drank multiple refrigerated alcoholic beverages while doing all this. This truly is a magical device. iPads are the Swiss army knives of entertainment.

And the camera? Didn’t even use it, could’ve saved 2 kilos of luggage by leaving it home and only using my iPhone for quick snaps.

And Gwenny? She was happy I left my entire office at home for the first time. Probably the best vacation we ever had. Thank you iPad.