Trusty mobile tools and tips for the road warrior

The essential tips and apps for maximizing your mobility when traveling

Page 2 of 3

Though I can type fine on an a touchscreen, I use the Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth keyboard when I know I'll be taking a lot of notes or perhaps live-tweeting a session; when you type a lot, there's nothing like having a real keyboard. Plus, the Ultrathin detaches easily from the iPad, so when I want just the iPad, I can have just the iPad -- that's not the case with keyboards embedded in iPad folio covers. For example, I use the iPad by itself at the gym while traveling to catch up on tweets, news stories, and articles.

Tips for your hotel stay
When I am in the hotel, I usually set up my Belkin plug to have all my devices connected to one outlet and charged by morning. The smartphones go on the USB plugs, and everything else plugs into the Belkin's power outlets. If you happen to leave your power adapter at home by mistake, ask to borrow one at the hotel front desk -- hotels find so many left behind that they can usually lend you one for your stay. Remember: Your smartphone or tablet isn't much use if it isn't charged.

Always look for a safe in your hotel room. If you travel with as much stuff as I do, you don't want to carry it around at night. If you decide to use the safe, make sure you test locking it and unlocking it before you put your stuff in it the first time: It can be awfully embarrassing if you can't get your stuff out of the safe later. If your hotel doesn't have an in-room safe, it likely has safe boxes at the front desk where it will keep your stuff. Be aware that most hotels don't hold themselves responsible if you use the safe in your room for valuables.

Services, techniques, and apps for when on the road
When I'm on the road, I also change my habits. If I am driving, I always bring a car charger because my smartphone becomes my GPS. It hasn't led me wrong yet (though I had a bad experience a year ago with an Android device that rebooted in the middle of the highway before a turn).

I also use specific services based on where I'm traveling. If I travel outside the United States, I use an app called Onavo Extend that works as a proxy service and compresses all my data as I send and receive it from my device. It has reduced my data consumption on the road by more than 50 percent; when you travel internationally and pay high roaming rates, that's an invaluable app. I also subscribe to a service by Boingo (iPass has a similar offering) that allows me to log onto Wi-Fi sites for a low monthly fee. This helps reduce my reliance on hotels and other pay-as-you go hotspots.

Traveling through airport security checkpoints is always fun. When you do it enough, you know not to bring liquids, but when you carry as many devices as I do, you learn other tricks. I carry my tablets in a small lined bag that fits in my backpack. When I get to security, I take out the laptop, the bag of tablets (leaving them in the bag), and the mesh bag of cables. This technique has kept me from being pulled out of line for a secondary check numerous times. Apparently, it's hard for the scanner operators to tell apart overlapping wires and electronics. My latest TSA secondary-check preventer is my Yeti microphone (for my podcast) that I take out of the bag as well, just to avoid being stopped and having it swabbed.

| 1 2 3 Page 2