- Battery life
- Airport security
We don’t want to repeat ourselves here, but all the advantages of the ‘new office paradigm’ and iPad’s hardware design apply here, too. It’s simple - iPad is the best computer to travel with - it’s small, weighs 1 lb and the battery lasts for 10 hours. Traveling with such a device is bliss.
The small size makes it easy to access anywhere - in the line for the customs or airport security, in the plane, even if you’re traveling on a low-cost airline where the space between the seats is very limited. Its size makes the iPad a perfect device for traveling.
On a long-haul flight across the Atlantic or the Pacific when the flight is 12-13 hours, including the time to board, eat meals and walks around the cabin, the iPad battery lasts the entire flight. Easily.
According to American TSA regulations, you don’t have to remove your iPad from your bag. In Europe they treat the iPad as a laptop and always ask to see it. Again, the iPad is so small and so handy that it’s not an inconvenience.
Now we’re coming to the fun part. The apps on the iPad make traveling even more enjoyable.
First, the apps we mentioned before.
We use 1Password for storing passwords to travel sites and Evernote to save all the boarding passes and confirmations. We use alternate browsers like Mercury Browser or Google Chrome to browse some travel sites as a‘Mac OSX’ machine (so that we don’t get redirected to the ‘mobile’ site).
Apart from these apps, there are a few fantastic specialty apps that we use for traveling.
Whenever we’re traveling we love to use TripIt. Simply forward all your confirmation emails (flights, car rentals, hotel bookings, everything) to TripIt’s email address and it takes care of the rest. It puts the trip plans in order and even adds the dates and times to your calendar. On the iPad, being able to forward an email to an app is so useful - no copying and pasting, just a quick forward and the app does the rest. (That’s exactly how we forward notes to Evernote and tasks to Nozbe.)
Apart from all that magic, TripIt is a nice app that allows you to see all of your travel arrangements in one place. Very handy and very visual. TripIt works both on the iPhone and the iPad and both apps sync with your TripIt account.
FlightTrackPro and FlightRadar24
When it comes to flying, it feels like magic that you can now track flights in real time.. Apps like FlightTrackPro or FlightRadar24 give a real-time view on all the planes around your current location… and most of all, on all the planes that might interest you.
Michael uses these apps a lot:
“Whenever there is a relative or friend coming to visit me, I enter their flight number and I know exactly where they are. This way, I don’t have to wait around for them at the airport - I can leave home just in time to pick them up.
The same scenario applies to my own flights - I know if my flight is late, why it’s late and how much time I really have. I still can’t believe I have access to all this information that was previously limited to air traffic control towers… and now I can see it all on my iPad. Amazing. And very useful.”
Maps - Apple vs. Google
When Google Maps left the iPad in iOS6 update we were both disappointed. The new Apple maps are not as good as Google Maps were (especially in Europe; they’re lacking lots of information) and they’re missing our favorite feature of Google Maps - street view. At the time of this writing Google Maps is still only an iPhone app and not a universal app. Google has already announced on Google I/O that the new iPad app is coming this summer and it looks very promising. We can’t wait.
Michael also uses Navigon:
“Let’s just say that Apple Maps are usually ‘good enough’. But for traveling in Europe I also use the Navigon navigation app. Although I prefer to use navigation in my iPhone, it’s a very useful app on the iPad to see the route overview and browse the maps quickly. With Navigon, all maps are offline on the iPad.”
Booking.com and Expedia
Booking hotels has never been easier. Again, all of the big players like Booking.com or Expedia have great web sites, but their iPad apps are even better!
There’s no point in visiting their sites anymore. Just open up one of these apps and find your best hotel for the night. There are additional apps like ‘Booking.com tonight’ or ‘Hotel tonight’.
As this market becomes more competitive, additional players will continue to create fantastic iPad apps. Hotel booking will become easier and easier. For now, between Booking.com and Expedia our hotel needs are set.
The Weather Channel
The iPad doesn’t come with a default weather app but we prefer the Weather Channel app. For obvious reasons you will want to know the weather forecast for the places you travel to. This app is not only very accurate but also very beautiful.
We think this arena is just getting started.
Travel is a big business and the players in this industry realize that people will stop traveling with their laptops and start to take their iPads with them. The apps are already great and will get even better, making the iPad the best portable travel computer, bar none.