Traveling with an iPad

Ten days ago, I left for a European speaking engagement (and a few days of touring) with my wife...and an iPad. Both were excellent traveling companions.

This was the first long trip I have taken with the iPad, so I thought I'd blog briefly about how it enhanced the experience.

First, as I've written on my Desperate Pastor blog, I used the iPad for my speaking scripts.
It provided a smooth and helpful aid to my speaking ministry (read more at

I also used it every morning to check email and Facebook, and read my usual newspapers and blogs (I have the non-3G version of the iPad, so I connected to the Internet only where wireless service was available, which it was in each of our hotels and at the Frankfurt, Germany, airport. Even if I had the 3G iPad, however, I would not have used 3G in Europe, as the extra charges would have been expensive).

I was able to take with me on the trip more than a dozen books, including a Bible and two prayer/devotional aids, in one small, compact, and very lightweight package (a huge advantage of the iPad: it weighs no more with 100 books loaded onto it than with 1!). I was able to finish the book I had been reading at home and begin another immediately (in fact, without the iPad, I might have opted to leave the in-progress book at home, knowing that I would finish it the second or third day, making it just dead weight for the rest of the trip; with the iPad, that wasn't an issue). I was also able, when our plans changed and it turned out we would get to make a short trip to Heidelberg, to download a free copy of Mark Twain's "A Tramp Abroad," which contains a nice chapter on his long-ago visit there.

The iPad Zinio application also
delivered the latest issue of Cincinnati magazine to me while I was in France, providing some entertaining reading on the return trip.

When Internet access was available, it was easy to check the weather forecast for our area--most helpful when our plans for the coming days included walking and other outdoor activity.

Another game-changer for me was the ability to map our day trips and destinations. Each evening, I would download turn-by-turn directions for the next day's travels in the iPad's native map application. These maps and directions were kept in the application's memory even without internet; though we couldn't download new info while on the road, the saved info got us where we wanted to go (although a couple times they were outdated, resulting in some exciting detours). And once we lost the route and directions entirely (I think from holding the finger down on the page for too long), but were still able to use the map.

On the long transatlantic flights, it was wonderful to be able to choose between books, magazines, and games to help pass the time. I was even able to do a little writing in both Pages and Blogpress!

And, when we tired of BBC newscasts on the TV (or German-dubbed episodes of King of Queens), the iPad worked niftily (I just made up that word) as a video player, using YouTube or Netflix.

Oh, and once, while getting instructions from a friend, I used the Penultimate application on the iPad to write down notes--with the tip of my finger. Didn't even have to ask around for a pen and paper!

The iPad's ample battery life proved itself on the trip, too. It only once drew down to less than 20% charge remaining--and that was due to a sitcom bloopers marathon we enjoyed our last night in France.

In my eyes, the iPad is a traveler's boon companion, and one that fits nicely in an airplane seat pocket. Just make sure not to leave it there when you de-plane.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.

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