Light and Easy is the way to go!

Just recently both the UK and the USA have imposed a ban on laptops being carried into the cabins of Aircraft from a number of countries, particularly from the Middle East. This ban will cause problems for quite a few businesses and people, but with a little proactive thought problems may be overcome. This article is not about the policy decisions but actually more about what you can do as a person or employee that has to travel on business but is only allowed to carry certain devices on the plane

Twelve years ago I wrote an article for Digital Oman about this very topic, you can read the original article here.

In summary the article was to make you think about shedding the notebook completely and only traveling with what you need. If I could do it twelve years ago then certainly it is far more possible today with the advent of so much technology.

So let’s just take a quick look at what can be done today. I have had my gmail account since I wrote the original article, and google have been working furiously over the years to produce a product which is obviously similar to today’s office 365 but perhaps better.  Whilst I have had a 365 account I must say that I still prefer the google office components, Docs, Slides and Sheets. I am sure you are aware that even Apple has its own products (Pages, Keynote and numbers) plus cloud storage, also there is a plethora of open source office productivity products, today we are truly spoilt for choice.  Nowadays Google has a cloud drive, which gives unlimited space, so most of my documents, presentations and sheets are produced in Google products. Years ago I opened a Dropbox account and continue to use it today along with google drive as my main storage areas. Whilst having my documents in the cloud it is important to me to have them backed up in an offline environment, so I have a one terabyte storage device that can either stay at home or is portable enough to travel with me. Mostly it stays at home. Also there are a number of USB drives in my procession but I rarely use them these days for security reasons (mainly clients).

I used to use only windows devices until one day I was tempted over to Apple Mac OS, iOS and since that time I have never looked back; the ease of use, the security and the robustness of the products has made me continue to use them for many a year now. I do still have windows devices, in fact the Microsoft surface which I quite like and find it suitable for many a job.. Mainly though I stick to my Apple products. MacBook Air and Pro are my main devices using the smallest configurations. Also iOS, an iPad Air and iPhone. So at the moment I am using an iPhone 6 Plus (this is being edited on the 6 + whilst traveling on the Baku Metro) so far I have found no reason to change or upgrade. The size of the machine means that I can actually work on it, but not for extended periods. I have my book collection on it so I can read whenever I want. My social media accounts are on it and of course some music. Last but not least the camera on the phone is good enough for me to use whilst traveling coupled to google photos which is an unlimited cloud storage platform for your memories, more than enough for what I need.

When I link it to the Microsoft Universal Keyboard I have all the power I need to write, prepare or edit presentations and of course produce sheets (such as time sheets). Unfortunately nobody has produced a mouse, but then there is really no need these days as everything is touch, works well enough for what I need.

Now there is something in my toolbox that I never had before and that is a LiveScribe 3 electronic pen and notebook. This allows me to write notes and transfer them to my phone, subsequently I can turn the notes into text or a PDF which can then be marked up. At the other end of the pen is a touch stylus for using instead of my fingers all the time.

Wifi is virtually everywhere these days so I have long since ditched dial up modems, if fact I can’t remember the last time I saw one. If you are traveling and you go to a foreign country you are able to get SIM cards complete with Internet plans. Most coffee shops around the world will provide wifi access the most notable being Starbucks. One more thing that makes things easier these days when you travel is that there are virtual offices in most major cities now. I have used Regus in the past and they will rent you space and additional equipment should you need it.

So basically there we have my travel kit, nothing too elaborate or heavy. There are of course the chargers and cables for the Phone, Pen and keyboard and I do carry a set of headphones and an in-car usb charger.

Probably as I have been around technology for many years and consider myself to be tech savvy, this concoction works for me.  It will not work for everyone, however, as in the original article if you think about where you are going and what you need to do then many things are possible with the technology we have today. It also means that there is less stress for you whilst traveling as you have no worries about lugging laptops in your luggage and the risk of loss or damage. Planning is the key as in anything we do!



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