I travel quite a bit for my job, visiting my extended family, and vacations around the world. My tablet always comes with me, and I have advice for making this process easier.
When I’m at my home of office I generally carry my tablet without any kind of case. I’m aware that’s something of a risk, but I don’t like the extra bulk.
That ends when I go out the door, however. I always have some kind of extra protection for this device when I’m on the move, whether it’s across town or across the U.S.
Exactly what form that protection takes depends on how far I’m going. I generally use a slip cover with a pocket when I’m just going to be gone a few hours.
For an extended trip, I prefer a bag of some kind, as that gives me room for all the accessories I need, plus some other non-tablet items, too.
Don’t use a bag designed for laptops — these are ridiculously too big for a tablet. I carry the STM Micro, as it’s a good option that’s been designed for 10-inch tablets like the one I use. There are other good bags out there, just be sure the one you choose is the right size for your device and has a pocket or two for some additional gear.
Whenever you go on any trip that takes longer than a day, you’re going to need a way to charge your tablet, which is why the case you use needs at least one extra pocket.
If you go on the road infrequently you can just carry the charger that came with your device. However, if you travel more than five or six times a year, I strongly recommend you buy a second charger and keep it permanently in your tablet bag.
If you don’t, it’s inevitable that you’re going to forget it at some point and you’ll have to buy a replacement while on your trip. I learned this lesson the hard way, and ended up paying about $30 for a $12 cable in a shop in an airport.
What I’ve listed so far is the absolute minimum you need if you’re going to travel regularly with a tablet. But there are some extra accessories that can make your life easier.
An external battery is a nice thing to have. Most tablets can go a fairly long time on a single charge, but this can be exhausted by a really long trip, like a plane flight from the U.S. to Europe or Asia. When this happens to you, it’s nice to be able to plug in an external battery and give your device some additional hours of use.
Tuck a screen cleaning cloth into the bottom of your bag. You’ll be glad you did.
Those of you who have tablets with built-in microSD card slots or USB ports should get a good-sized card/drive (maybe 32GB or even 64GB) and store a selection of video on it so you can keep yourself entertained.
If you have an Apple iPad, you should really consider the Kingston MobileLite Wireless. This will allow you to store files on USB drives or SD cards. I keep dozens of movies and TV shows as well as ebooks on cards, and I’m never at a loss for something to keep me entertained when I’m 30,000 feet over Kansas.
I also carry a tiny power strip (about 2inches long) for those times I need to share one of the rare plugs in airports. Most of you might consider this overkill, however.
Getting Internet access for your tablet when you’re away from your home or office can be something of a challenge, which is why I did a separate article on it. One of the options discussed is a cellular-wireless hotspot, a handy piece of gear that can get you your email or on the Web anywhere you can connnect to your wireless telecom’s 3G or 4G data network.