Even the feather-lightest laptops can’t beat the humble iPad for weight and battery life. And if you only plan on doing a little work to keep yourself entertained while you are stuck on a long flight or during vacation nap time, it doesn’t make sense to haul all that extra gear along (especially when an iPad can do double duty as portable kid entertainment with all the iPad apps for kids out there).
What You Need to Turn Your iPad into a Mobile Workstation
DropBox: We love DropBox because of how easy it is to store, share and sync files. Before you go, set up your DropBox on your desktop and drag any of the files you want to access while traveling. We even use it to share files back and forth without relying on email or third-party file sending services.
Docs-to-Go: Our favorite for working on your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Choose Open With in DropBox and select Docs-to-Go. If you are planning on working on the airplane, save the files you need before you go so you can access your files without a wifi connection. Even if you book with an airline that offers wifi on their flights, it’s a good idea to sync anyway since the Murphy’s Law is when you actually need it, it will be down.
gDrive: For all you Google Docs lovers, it’s worth downloading gDrive too! We use both at MOMeo Magazine. Even if you don’t use it, it’s a great back-up for sharing files with others (let me reiterate about Murphy and his habit of messing things up when you actually need them).
WordPress: If one of your travel duties is to update the company blog, get the WordPress app. It doesn’t have all the same functionality as the full version, but it gets the job done. We use it to upload drafts so they are ready to format when you return or when you can borrow access to the full version (say from your husband who lugged his heavy computer with him).
Keyboard: Typing on the touchscreen gets a little annoying after a couple hours on the airplane (although in a pinch it can be done). It’s a good idea to get a BlueTooth keyboard. One of our favorites is the Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard with Tech-Grip case because it doubles as a iPad case and stand.
iPad Stand: An alternative to the all-in-one keyboard listed above is a separate keyboard and stand. Useful for longer work sessions, the iPad stands lets you position you screen farther away from the keyboard (which is a lot better from an ergonomic perspective). Look for one that is lightweight, stable and robust enough that you can throw it in your bag.
POCKET: Sometimes when you travel, all you really want to do is catch up on your reading. Who isn’t guilty of bookmarking page after page of stuff you would someday like to read? All you need to do is bookmark it using Pocket and the app does the rest, syncing between your desktop and mobile versions. The nice thing about Pocket is when you bookmark content, it stores it on your device so you can access it offline.