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MacBook Air (11-inch)
The Mac/PC preference divides much of the technology world. For me, an operating system agnostic, the platform that I use is way down on the list of things that matter while on the road.
At the time of buying, the MacBook Air was the lightest and thinnest laptops available on the market for the price. The batter may not last as long as a traditional netbook, but it lasts long enough when Wi-Fi and other networking connectivity is turned off. The 128GB SSD drive results in breakneck response speeds, and the aluminum shell keeps the laptop cool.
And that's why I bought it -- because on the road, compactness and battery life means everything. Now the market has shifted in favor of the ultrabook, a Windows-based ultra-thin laptop may be an avenue to explore later down the road. Until then, reliability must prevail.
Apple USB Ethernet Adapter
Hotel rooms rarely offer Wi-Fi. You're often left with a pokey Ethernet port and often a free cable on the desk in your room and expect to reach barely dial-up speeds as you attempt, often in vain, to file your copy.
But the drawback to a MacBook Air is the lack of Ethernet support. You have to own a USB adapter or pay the steep price of uploading your work via a tethered phone. Your hotel room is your office away from the bureau, and when you're working on a shoestring budget you have to work with what you can. This little adapter goes with me everywhere -- just in case.
BlackBerry Bold 9790
My iPhone escapades on a February trip to New York and San Francisco was far from a fruitful endeavor; I ended up spending more than four-times on the cost of data (along with the cost of the iPhone itself) which left me almost $2,000 down in the space of a fortnight.
Email is my primary motivation for keeping my BlackBerry, with data compression and a physical keyboard second and third. It churns through only a fraction of my monthly data tariff, and the mini-keyboard means my MacBook, which would normally be used to write emails, can stay in my bag conserving power. Above all else, phones are for talking with: I've never known call quality to be so good. Many callers thought I was permanently in a tunnel or a bathroom with the amount of echo my iPhone kicked off when I had it.
Plus (see later) for encrypted emails, a BlackBerry is a must. You never know which government's are looking in, and when dealing with occasional matters of political importance, it's better to be safe (and paranoid) than not.