It’s amazing what a few years can do to the travel scene. I remember taking my first big solo trip back in 2006 and the big thing then was how many people had iPods and were travelling with them – I didn’t, because I was poor and scared of my own shadow. Fast forward a few years and I was back in almost the exact same locale and gone were the iPods (does anyone use one anymore anyways?) and in their place were their bigger, sexier cousins – the iPad. It blew my mind!
Seriously, I was walking down the streets of Florence and I think I counted six or seven being used as cameras, reading devices or just being carried under someone’s arm. The biggest reason I was shocked at this wasn’t how many people had them, but that they were bringing them travelling with them and waving them around in the crowds. Weren’t they afraid of them getting snatched away? It really wouldn’t be hard to do – I even thought of doing it a few times:p
But then I realized that people were using them in this way because the iPad really is the ultimate travel companion. It has everything you need right there in a reasonably sized package – which is just what you want when you’re moving around. When I eventually got my own and took it travelling, I may not have been as cavalier with it as I would a newspaper but I didn’t hide it either. It was meant to travel after all.
The last flight I was on I daresay there were no fewer than 50 iPads out at any given time. I’m not sure if this is a reflection of the poor quality of inflight entertainment or people’s obsession with their devices, but for one brand of a tech type to be possessed by about 25% of all travellers – well let’s just say I really wish I had some stock in Apple! I’m not sure if this surge has led to the rule change in wireless devices during take off and landing, but you can bet that the inclusion of inseat TVs and other inflight entertainment will be re examined now that everyone is carrying a tablet everywhere!
My one complaint with my iPad for travelling (aside from my constant paranoia of it being stolen), has to do with the 3G/WiFi option that you have to decide at purchase. For around my home or in my everyday life, the WiFi option suits me best as it’s cheaper and there’s WiFi everywhere. When I’m moving around though, wireless signals aren’t always reliable and swapping out SIM cards is a HUUUGE pain. Like, seriously – how can I use the maps as a guide when I’m travelling if I can’t connect to the system?
Yeah… this is the definition of first world problems, but I’ll be the first to admit I’m not actually upset. I love travelling and I really can’t complain about my iPad. I can’t imagine travelling without it now and by every other traveller I see, I know I’m not the only one!