Which gadgets to take on vacation

With far too many gadgets used daily, how does one decide which ones stay or go on vacation?
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor on

I'm going on vacation this week and I figured I'd try to lighten my load. First off, I had to do some deep thinking about what I would actually need while away. Since it's a vacation, most people would think that I would just take my phone along, and check e-mail if I have to. Unfortunately, in today's world, coming home from a vacation leaves you with an overflowing inbox, so I'm almost better off checking it sporadically throughout the vacation. It still remains to be seen if I'll actually do that, but regardless, I'll need a way to check e-mail efficiently or read a Word doc or two, if the situation arises.

So, with the above in mind, I'm trying to figure out what definitely has to come with me.

iPhone 4

This one is a must-have for a number of reasons. First, it's my main phone. Second, it's also my main camera and video camera. 3rd … I don't really need any more reasons.


I have a 3G iPad (1st generation), so I can either use the hotel WiFi or I can use the built-in 3G if needed. Also, the iPad doubles as a great movie player for my kids, is a fantastic eBook reader, newspaper, game player, and more. So, that's definitely hitting the travel bag.


I have the first generation aluminum 13" MacBook. I'm debating about taking it only because I'm afraid that there might be a need for me to look at some spreadsheets or Word docs while I'm away. Technically, the iPad could handle that duty (as Matt pointed out in his iPad Offie Apps Showdown article), but the laptop would definitely make it easier to catch-up quick. The downside to bringing the MacBook is that it will put me into more of a work mode.

Also, the MacBook is heavy! Compared to the iPad, that is. I was debating about using the vacation as an opportunity to get a MacBook Air and trickle my MacBook into the family. However, my almost impulse buy was slowed by the decision of whether or not to get the 11" or the 13" MacBook Air. Friends say that the 11" is the way to go, while others tell me that I'll miss the real estate. At this point it's too close to vacation time to gamble, so I'm going to pass on the purchase for this round.

We'll see what ends up making the cut at the last minute. When I think back at some of my more enjoyable vacations, they were MacBook-less, and just had the iPad around for fun or if I had a need to check-in quick. I even went so far as to logout of web-based GMAIL on my iPhone and delete the IMAP profile from the built-in e-mail, so that I wouldn't even be able to accidentally check e-mail.

All signs are pointing towards the MacBook staying home. After all, these days if I really needed some hardcore computer time, chances are just about any hotel has a business center with more than enough computers ready for me. The only issue might be if I want to blog. I'm not sure if the iPad supports it, so I'll have to do some testing before leaving the MacBook home for good.

By the way, this trip is leaving behind the HTC EVO and Samsung Tab. While I like the HTC EVO, the picture and movie quality doesn't compare to the iPhone 4. As for the Samsung Tab, it's a nice device, and I actually prefer the form factor of it to the iPad's, but the iOS just performs better for me.

What gadgets do you take with you when you travel?

Editorial standards


What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know
chat bot

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?

These are my 5 must-have devices for work travel now

These are my 5 must-have devices for work travel now