The minimalist guide to summer travel tech

The minimalist guide to summer travel tech

Summary: As someone who prefers to travel as light as possible, here are some tried-and-true tips on how to make the most out of toting the fewest gadgets and entanglements possible.

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  • Technology offers the potential to make travel a smoother ride with more opportunities for capturing and sharing moments along the way.

    But for some reason, we have all fallen into the tourist traps presented by gadgetry instead. It usually follows a pattern of spending too much money on countless items we don't need that end up becoming a burden along the journey.

    As someone who prefers to travel as light as possible, here are some tried-and-true tips on how to make the most out of toting the fewest gadgets and entanglements possible.

  • Tablet & Keyboard

    Logitech iPad Mini Keyboard

    Many people argue that vacations are a time to shun email and whatnot, but I’m unapologetic in wanting to stay connected — even if it is just to keep my inbox somewhat tidy and send a few messages to friends here and there. However, I absolutely hate having to lug around a laptop. Even a 13-inch MacBook Air demonstrates its weight when crammed into a carry-on tote or suitcase.

    In my experience, a marvelous alternative has been pairing my iPad mini with a keyboard. Logitech has already established a solid reputation in building sturdy and reliable keyboards for the entire iPad family, with the battery life usually going and going for hours at a time before demanding a recharge.

    I’ll admit that even for my small hands, getting used to the sized-down keyboard took some time and adjustment.

    But having the iPad mini loaded with all of my digital books, magazines and movies combined with the ability to be productive (or just to get some letter writing done) pretty much enables me to do anything I want while on the road.

    Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini. Available in black, white, and purple. MSRP: $79.99.

  • Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

    Headphones are a must for any trip, especially on airplanes where you’re trying to drown out the noise of four engines or four crying babies (or all of the above).

    My biggest problem with most earbuds is that the cords always become tangled into a gargantuan mess, either in my bag or around my neck as I (foolishly) attempt to balance my iPad and a meal on the tray on the seatback in front of me. That’s followed by another pet peeve with noise-cancelling headphones being that they are usually bulky and very thirsty for battery juice all the time — a frustration for long flights.

    LG offers a stellar entry that alleviates all of the aforementioned afflictions. Not only does this almost weightless headset offer high-quality audio and fit virtually anywhere (I kept it around my neck most of the time — even through security metal detectors), but it charges via standard Micro USB. That battery charge feels like it lasts forever sometimes — or at least it survived a nine-hour haul from Istanbul to New York immediately followed by another six-hour jaunt to San Francisco.

    LG Tone Ultra HBS800 wireless stereo headset. Available in black and white. MSRP: $119.99.

Topics: Mobility, Apps, Hardware, Smartphones, Travel Tech

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6 comments
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  • Excellent tips!

    Nice stuff, Rachel. The Logitech keyboard for the iPad mini you use is quite good, but it might be worth a look at the ZAGGkeys Cover for the mini. I've used both keyboards and the ZAGG is better for touch typing.
    JamesKendrick
    • Logitech and ZAGG

      Thanks, James! I've tried Zagg keyboards with the iPad 2, and definitely good stuff from them too. For my use anyway, any keyboard with the 9.7-inch iPad hasn't required much typing adjustment. Any keyboard w/ the iPad mini does take some time, but it's worth it for the stress relief on my shoulder :)
      RachelKing
  • Nice tips.

    I would skip the key board for the ipad though. If you are only going to be answering a few emails, then save some weight and leave the key board at home. Also, if you have a very good camera on your phone (iphone, GS5, Lumia etc) then you can certainly leave the camera lens at home. I would also suggest a 1 size smaller backpack than you think you need. You'll be amazed at what you really don't need, when you don't have space for it!
    Low_tech
  • Don't need FlightBoard

    The free TripAssist (also from Expedia) will show you your updated gate info... but it's free. Also, look at GateGuru (also free) for detailed maps of all of the terminals at the airport, so you don't waste time going the wrong direction.
    joe@...
  • I just avoid tech

    For me, I try hard to avoid tech on vacation. Part of my vacation is to get away from the constant connection to work and schedules. I keep my iPhone close but keep it on silent. Only monitoring occasionally. I don't need a keyboard, because I don't plan on any lengthy replies. A smart phone is smaller and still does what most tablets like a iPad Mini does. I'm sure not everyone can get by with just a smartphone. But for me I have ditched the tablet scene and either use a notebook or a smartphone. Tablets are just not on my list of travel necessities.
    JohnnyES-25227553276394558534412264934521
  • Wrong About NC Headphones

    Rachel King is dead wrong about noise canceling headphones eating up batteries. That was true back in the day, it's not true in 2014. I just picked up Sony MDRNC13's which are rated at 100 hours battery life with only 1 AAA battery. Today's noise canceling headphones are much more efficient and last a lot longer.

    I will say however, I am intrigued with the use of bluetooth headphones and I do plan to get one in the future. For long flights though, the noise canceling is a must to kill the low frequency hum of the engines. The ability to get off a 9 hour flight refreshed and energized because of a headset is really a blessing.
    Maha888