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Indispensable stuff for traveling

By July 28, 2008travel

As you recall, last week when I went to Panama I didn’t bring a computer. I mentioned that I relied heavily on my iPhone, and that I was able to do a lot of work with just that device. But, I pointed out, that the trip was for pleasure so I didn’t really need a computer. If I had been away longer, or if I had been required to do more work on the trip, I would most certainly have brought my laptop.

But, for a short trip that doesn’t involve a lot of work, I can say that an iPhone works just fine. In fact, I would venture to say that the iPod Touch would work fine. My daughter had one and was able to check email and do most of the things that I did on my iPhone. That’s because the iPod Touch has everything the iPhone has except: (1) a phone, and (2) a camera. The iPod Touch has Wi-Fi built in and can be used to surf the web or check email. And it can use all of the Apps that are available to the iPhone.

The next time I take a beach vacation, I’m not bringing my computer. I’ll take my iPhone, and a camera, and one more thing.

The Amazon Kindle is an essential travel gadget if you like to read. Instead of carrying several books and magazines, you can carry just one slim little device. It’s the same size and weight of a DVD case, and yet it holds hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers. In Panama, the wireless feature didn’t work, but that was a small inconvenience. I simply made sure to download everything I wanted to read before I left. True, I didn’t get daily updates for my newspapers, but I could check those online with my iPhone. Perhaps the next version of the Kindle will have built-in Wi-Fi, in which case this problem will be eliminated entirely. I’m sure that Amazon would like to be able to tap into the foreign markets.

Everyone who saw the Kindle asked me about it, and was very interested. Most people had only vaguely heard of it, but everyone was fascinated and said that they were interested in buying one. Amazon is supposedly coming out with two new versions of the Kindle in October, or at least that’s the strong rumor. They are tapping into the textbook market more, having cut deals with universities like Berkeley and Princeton among others. There is no doubt that more people are going to discover the Kindle. Many of those people will be travelers who like to read but don’t want to schlep around a bunch of paperbacks and magazines.

In the past whenever I’ve traveled I always carried at least two books and several magazines, and a newspaper. This time my bookbag held only three things: (1) my camera, (2) my iPhone, and (3) my Kindle. Oh, and a ziplock bag with some healthy snacks. But the most valuable thing by far was the Kindle, especially on my return trip when various misfortunes caused me to endure 6 hours of flight delays.

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  • Dave A. says:


    Care to comment on this from an attorney’s perspective?

    Travelers’ Laptops May Be Detained At Border

    Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

    Also, officials may share copies of the laptop’s contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement…

  • Nathan says:

    Ernie I must agree, I received mine as a gift this summer, I carry it everywhere, I have nothing bad to say about the device, ok, maybe another color would be nice!

    Love your blog, keep up the great writing.


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