In “Testing: Traveling Abroad without a Laptop“, Nathan Edwards describes the e-gear he took with him on a week-long trip he wanted to make without his trusted laptop computer. He describes his full kit, including a 7” tablet, a big smartphone, a bluetooth keyboard, a camera, and chargers, plug adapters and cables. Oh, and he included a notebook – a paper notebook, of course – as well. He concludes:
I’m a freelance writer, and even though I still wrote on my trip, traveling without a laptop felt like freedom. Conceptually I was able to accomplish most of the same tasks, but without a laptop I felt physically and mentally lighter. I certainly spent a lot less time staring at a screen.
Nathan Edwards writes about his love for the Logitech K810 Bluetooth Keyboard, and as a fellow owner of the thing I concur: that’s one great portable keyboard, especially since it can easily switch between three devices. When writing, a big keyboard is more useful that a big screen, and the K810 is big enough to be comfortable.
Now I read this while being on holiday myself, so let’s compare that with what I used on a 16-day family trip to Slovenia and Croatia. I did bring my DSLR and a total of three lenses, but I had already trimmed off the big flash and several other lenses – I really wanted to limit myself to the small backpack for all the photo gear. Web surfing and emailing in the hotels was done on my 10″ Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. My Galaxy S3 smartphone helped out on the road, where Google Maps proved its worth. WiFi in all hotels was a big help for connectivity, but I also took up my provider’s offer of a sizeable data roaming package that only cost me 20 euro (MobileVikings, if you really need to know the name of my telecom provider).
To be honest, I have to add the Asus eeePC to the list of gear on my trip; I packed it to have a decent keyboard with me, plus enough free hard disk space to backup my photos. But in practice, I never unpacked it – not even once on the whole trip.
So that’s a good lesson learned: modern gear is so powerful that you can easily get by without a laptop while on the road – even if you want to write extensively. I just don’t see myself developing code on the tablet… but perhaps remote computing would have made that possible without too much hassle. After all, that’s what we do more and more at work as well, so why not try that from a tablet?