The iPad Project: Surviving a Week without My Laptop

On our recent trip to Hawaii to attend my sister’s wedding, my hubby convinced me to leave my laptop at home and just take my iPad and phone to stay in touch with the world.  It sounded interesting.  It sounded a bit scary.

Technology Speaker, TWitter Training, Social Media ExpertThe challenge was, I was conducting a Webinar the day after we got home and then speaking at a conference two days after that and I was concerned that I may need to sneak in a bit of early morning work on these while away and didn’t feel completely confident it could be done on my iPad.  I saw it as an opportunity though; One that would help me finally find a place in my heart for this lovely iPad, which up until now has just been an oversized iTouch or expensive iPod.  Sure I had a few fun apps on it and the Schrecklet loved playing games on it, but I had not moved it into a business tool category yet.

So I mustered up the courage to kiss my laptop good-bye, just for the week, and pack my iPad.

Here are some of my observations and the benefits of traveling with my iPad:

1. Checking in and going through security at Denver’s International Airport was much smoother than when traveling with a laptop.  Not only did I not have my big red laptop case, but TSA didn’t even require that I take the iPad out of my purse. Smooth sailing through security …except for that bottle of nail polish at the bottom of my purse! Curses–I usually catch those small items and stick them in my pocket!  (NOTE: The TSA folks in Honolulu did not have the same smooth-sailing policy and required me to remove the iPad from my purse and lay it in a bin by itself.)

2. When sitting on the plane and the antsy 9-year-old boy in front of me slammed his seat into the reclined position, the iPad did not get lodged into the tray or seatback like my big laptop usually does!  SWEET benefit I had not anticipated!

3. Obviously the small size made it great for throwing in my bag and heading downstairs to grab coffee and do a wee bit of work before the Captain woke up and the added benefit was that I didn’t look like a total idiot bringing my laptop poolside when I should have been relaxing.  The new cool-factor served as kind of a disguise for any workaholic! (Which I’m not!  I know, denial is one of the signs, but really…I’m not!)

4. Aside from music in my iTunes library, I had a collection of great magazines, podcasts, and audiobooks that I had downloaded before we left, and before we even landed in Honolulu, I had read an issue of Wired Magazine, listened to half of Tony Hsieh‘s book “Delivering Happiness,” and one TWIG (this week in Google) podcast! Nothing says geeky vacation like laying on the beach with a few good episodes of This Week in Google with Leo LaPorte, Jeff Jarvis, and Gina Trapani!  (Can’t you hear the ukuleles in the background now?)

I do have to admit that the iPad connectivity was sketchy and I could not get online many times to even check email, so I ended up at the end of the week loving my (HTC) Nexus One phone all the more!  That baby doubled as a great camera, email reader, Facebook app for posting content, a GPS navigator for getting us around the island, and of course a phone occasionally for making a call here and there! (NOTE: I do not have the 3G service on my iPad so I could connect, or try to connect, to the Marriott’s wifi service, a few others I met there were trying with 3G service and could not get a strong enough signal)

There were two apps I had loaded onto my iPad that helped get me through the week though.

1. Thanks to the prompting of my tech-savvy and Mac enthusiast assistant, Marci Dahms, I signed up for LOG ME IN, which allows you to access a desktop (previously set up) so that in an emergency I could pull documents or files off of my PC at home and work on them and send them to a client in need, which did happen.

2. Because I had Docs To Go loaded on my iPad, I could open and edit a Word doc with no problem.  This is also what you would use if you wanted to show a PowerPoint presentation from your iPad. (You would need to add a $69 adapter that connects to the projector.)

So all in all, can you survive on your next business trip with only your iPad? I say of course you can…as long as you bring your smartphone!

Let me know if you have successfully traveled with your iPad sans the laptop.  I still feel that with a little more time, I CAN make another attempt at it.