The Post-Laptop Business Traveller?

I was recently attending a conference in San Francisco put on by the National Speakers Association. As an exhibitor, I’m used to trucking along a full booth’s worth of crap. I’m also very used to also carrying my MacBook Pro so I can do some client work during my downtime.

Most of the work I do for clients involves writing copy, scheduling eblasts, managing websites etc. Very exciting stuff. And something I’ve always used my laptop for.

But having recently picked up an new iPad Mini, I began to wonder if maybe dragging that laptop around was a bit of overkill? Did I really need a full laptop for a weekend business trip?

It reminded me of a similar experience I had about 13 years ago, when I decided to not get a landline in my apartment and only use a cell phone. At the time I had friends question my sanity. But my reasoning was sound. During the day I had a phone at my office and at night I was rarely at home (ah the sweet bachelor life).

In the end it worked out well.  Fast forward 13 years, a marriage, three kids and house later, we’re a two cell phone family with no landline.

I’ve had an iPad for a couple of years. And I actually returned the first one I bought because I thought it was useless for work.

But with the emergence of cloud services like Dropbox, and Office software like Smart Office 2, I’ve found the iPad to be a very capable portable partner.

So off I went to San Francisco armed with an iPad Mini, Apple bluetooth keyboard and PadPivot stand.

On the plane I was able to edit some client video using iMovie.

When I got to the conference, I was able to set up at the bar area of the hotel and use the WordPress app, connect to Dropbox over the WiFi and create and edit documents just like I would on the laptop.

Now it wasn’t all simple. I missed having Dreamweaver to edit code and I did have to get my wife to email me a document I’d forgotten to upload to the cloud. But for the most part, this setup worked perfectly.

And the best part was my carry on luggage was a simple leather satchel that weighed close to nothing. And with that I can say my laptop will not get around as often as it once did.

Have you travelled with an iPad as your sole computer? If so, let me know how it worked out for you.  What apps are must-haves for business folks on the move?

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