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Minimalist travel and devices

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    Minimalist travel and devices

    Normally I try to keep my gear to the minimum when I travel. This leads to my smartphone being a great tool that can do tons of things. But after a recent trip to Vermont I found my cell coverage was horrible and ended up using a very old dedicated GPS device for directions. Surprisingly it worked well (though I bet roads in rural VT haven't changed in years). So while I hate taking extra things when I travel, I almost wonder if getting a new GPS might not be a bad idea.

    Anyone have thoughts on what devices should be included in a packing list even if you have a smartphone or other device that can perform that same function?
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

    #2
    I usually take a Kindle as well, for a few reasons. First, the battery life is excellent which means the charger and cable can be left at home. Second, the E-Ink screen is preferable (to me) for reading for long periods of time. Third, I can leave all other reading material at home. Fourth, the experimental browser is a good backup in case my smartphone is otherwise indisposed.

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      #3
      I take:
      Blackberry (soon to be replaced)
      Ipod Touch
      Verbatim Folding Bluetooth Keyboard
      Kindle
      Universal Charger for all of the above (except keyboard which runs on batteries).

      The Blackberry has a choice of real GPS or cell GPS. I'm looking into getting a tablet to replace the Kindle and possibly the Touch.
      Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

      Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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        #4
        I travel weekly for work but have the luxury of having 95% done by vehicle. Nevertheless less I still don't want to lug around a bunch of stuff. I carry a Garmin GPS, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle. It all fits nicely in an empire builder along with my work laptop and various work-related items. I feel like I need the Garmin to get me where I'm going and the small screen on the iPhone is a negative for my navigation needs. If you're in the market for a GPS, the nice thing is they've never been cheaper.

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          #5
          Ahh yes... we traveled through Vermont and was disappointed at our cell coverage (iPhones on Verizon). To be honest, we just made sure we had paper road maps for some of the most rural areas, and that worked out just fine.

          That said, this is what we took, between me and my husband:
          • 2 Verizon iPhones
          • 1 AT&T 3G iPad (1st generation)
          • 1 Think Outside Folding Bluetooth Keyboard (no longer made but usually available on eBay for less than $100 and OMG it is THE.BEST! The only way I'd replace this is with a Jorno, if they ever actually release their vaporware)
          • 1 Kindle
          • Kindle charger
          • Dual-USB charger (charge 2 iDevices at once)
          • FlipIt USB Stealth Charger (piggy-back on an extra iDevice on the charger)
          • Retractable USB cords for charging


          -----

          Frank -- are you considering the Kindle Fire? My husband has it on pre-order... initially I thought I wanted one myself, but I'm too vested in iDevices to pick up an Android device now, and I'm not married to the Kindle like he is (I just use the Kindle reading app on my iPad). Now, if Apple came out with a Kindle-sized iPad, I would be waiting in line! Not yet, though.

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            #6
            Lani, the Kindle Fire doesn't have bluetooth for my keyboard.

            BTW, my keyboard replaced the "Outside."
            Amazon.com: Verbatim 97537 Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad2 and Other Tablets (Piano Black): Electronics

            I'm hoping the new Samsung 7.7 gets released. If not, hoping Apple comes up with a 7" ipad.

            Where did you get your retractable USB cords?
            Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

            Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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              #7
              Lani - me too! Never heard of retractable USB cords! Please share the details!
              "Buy the best, cry once" - Pasquale

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                #8
                It will depend on the device but you can find some at seidioonline.com (chargers and cables by device) as well as on amazon.com (search on retractible usb).

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                  #9
                  For my cables--I picked up 1 foot version of them on monoprice.com. I carry 3 of them with me in a clear mini pouch. USB to Micro, USB to Mini, and USB to USB-B
                  Super Ego w/Seat Belt Buckle [Black/Steel/Wasabi], Cadet 13/15 [Cardinal/Steel], Aeronaut 45 [Cardinal/Steel], 13" Ristretto (Old) [Olive/Cayenne], Synapse 19 [Indigo/Iberian], Camera I/O, and a whole bunch of other goodies.

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                    #10
                    I got a Nook Color last year, before all the new tablets came out. It's a great size, decent price, easy to read (much easier to navigate than my Kindle), has a web browser that shows half a page at a time with WiFi. I was thrilled when it started playing Angry Birds in April. Used free ebooks from the library, before Overdrive came out with an iPad version. I took the Nook to Africa this summer, and it was small enough to fit in any bag. Terrific size, and the battery lasted for a 14-hour flight. Didn't have to worry about it in a hotel room the way I would have for an Ipad. I didn't take a laptop with me, just my iPhone (which didn't have a carrier in Uganda) and the Nook.

                    I did hanker after the iPads everyone was using...and DH surprised me with iPad for my bday. I use the Nook much less now, because it doesn't run my Logos software like the iPad does. But for ultralight travel, the Nook is great for trips when I don't need a keyboard. It seems more durable & less fussy than iPad. (tho Ipad 2 and Nook Color seem roughly the same weight.)

                    Frank, I've had my eye on that foldable keyboard. Miss the days when I could use a Targus foldable with my Palm T3! I have a Bluetooth Apple keyboard, but think the foldable keyboard would be more practical, even if a little less comfy for typing than the Apple.

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                      #11
                      TavaPeak....remember, the Nook does not have bluetooth. The folding keyboard needs bluetooth to work and not necessarily on every device. I couldn't get it to synch with my Blackberry.

                      The folding Keyboard does take a little bit of time getting used to but it's amazing. It even has controls for playing music on the Ipod. Between the Touch and the keyboard I can do just about everything I need. I'd just like a larger screen.

                      I have the Kindle 1 and I'm happy with it. I especially like the fact it takes SD cards. I can download tons of audiobooks to play on the Kindle without taking up any of it's built in HD memory which I use strictly for books. I'm also not fond of reading devices with backlights. It hurts my eyes after awhile.

                      I had trouble with the Nook when I tried it in the store. I couldn't get it to work.

                      RabergNC and misterN....thanks for the info on the retractable cables. I had purchased one from Amazon awhile back and it was garbage. I saw the ones I need on Monoprice for a good "price" and I'm going to order them. Seidioonline had limited offerings.
                      Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

                      Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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                        #12
                        Frank - you are right. Nook Color doesn't have bluetooth. The Verbatim keyboard would be for my iPad 2 or iPhone. (Wish there was a driver for my old Targus keyboard, for any of the above!)

                        Many folks have commented about backlitness. Ironically, I found it hard to read Kindle (or the e-ink Nook) because I needed a reading light for it...which caused glare. So I prefer backlit, and turn the brightness down. ;-) I'm at that mid-40s age of needing a little help from reading glasses and lighting, much as I hate to admit it. Was frustrated when my backup pair of readers was stolen (or lost) from my checked luggage when it was searched in Addis Ababa. Hated to admit that, too.

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                          #13
                          Tavapeak...sorry, I have you beat by about 10 years and an eye doctor's appointment in two weeks because I need new reading glasses. I, also need light, but find one too close does give off glare. I like mine a little off to the side. The other secret is to make the font as big as possible.

                          Off to the store to get some Geritol......just kidding.
                          Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

                          Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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                            #14
                            I think some people who have rooted their Nook Colors have got the Bluetooth to work. It has Bluetooth in the wifi chip, but I think there's some issue in FroYo that prevents it from working. I'm holding out hope that if the NC software is updated to Gingerbread (dare we even hope for Honeycomb--hey, it's a tablet--or ICS?), they will get the Bluetooth working.

                            I have an older Palm-branded Bluetooth keyboard that looks like Frank's, but I can't get it to work with my brand-spankin'-new Samsung Galaxy SII. The software wanted me to put in a password, but there wasn't a password window and I couldn't call up the keyboard on the phone. The Palm keyboard was made for devices with physical keyboards, so I guess that's why. I have my eye on that Jorno--their website says March 2012. Fingers crossed.

                            I love my Nook Color so much--I tried several other eInk readers and never thought I would like reading on a backlit screen so well, but the screen's pixel density makes it comfortable. I could never go back to a D-pad device now. ;-)

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Maria View Post
                              Lani - me too! Never heard of retractable USB cords! Please share the details!
                              You should be able to find them online at various places, but eBay is a great place to find them cheap. Do a search for the phrase "retractable USB cable" at eBay and you will find a ton.

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