Throwback Thursday: Why Business Travelers (and Grandmas) Need an iPad

Going through our archives, we came across this great post from April 20, 2012,“Why Business Travelers (and Grandmas) Need an iPad” that we wanted to share with you in case you missed it the first time around. 

The rocket scientist told me that I am too one-dimensional and write too much about “that SAS thing you are always going on about”. Since I will be at SAS Global Forum for days and writing about nothing else, here, straight from BFE, Florida, in a nod to the paternal figure of The Spoiled One is something else.


I will never replace my laptop with an iPad – but that is the topic for another post. That being said, here are several reasons an iPad is a must for business travel for me:

  1. Internet access anywhere. I am currently meeting with people in Tampa and staying at my mom’s house which is not in Tampa. It is not precisely in the middle of nowhere. It is east of there. Mom retired 14 years ago and getting a reliable wireless router has not been high on her to do list. I can read email, surf the web while sitting in the living room or outside on the porch with Mom. I do realize this is a real First World Problem having to have my laptop tethered to an ethernet cable, whine, whine. Still, I am staying here to visit my mom and if I spent all my time working in the room where the cable is, it kind of defeats the purpose.
  2. Cheap Internet access. I am in airports A LOT. At $12.99 a day, I only need to be in an airport twice a month for my data plan to pay for itself. And I am ALWAYS in an airport at least twice a month.
  3. Keeping up with social media. Today I was reading tweets and tweeting while in the car on the way to Tampa. No, this isn’t the latest idiocy, tweeting while driving, I was a passenger. Still, it was very convenient.
  4. Checking and occasionally answering email from clients. The iPad kind of blows for typing, which is a major reason it won’t replace my laptop, but I can check my email while I’m on my way out to dinner and make sure there is nothing that has to be dealt with immediately that requires a phone call or getting back early enough to take care of it. If it is really short and simple I can take care of it on my iPad. If it involves attaching several documents, revising budgets, running a program, not so much but I can at least let the client know that I am working on it.
  5. Reading faxes If you have efax (which I do) you can read faxes received from clients anywhere, even in the car. Someone asked me why I still get faxes. The answer is because people who give me money want to fax me things.
  6. Reading documentation. I have both iBooks and the Kindle app. Where before I might have to choose which four out of nine books I wanted to take on the plane with me, now I can have dozens of books on my iPad. Many O’Reilly books come with a free or very cheap electronic version when you buy the print version. If I am in the middle of reading a book, I can leave the print version at home and copy the pdf from our server on to my iPad. When the book is something like the 1,100 page JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, the savings is great indeed. SPSS manuals came free with the software. I copied a dozen manuals from the CD on to my iPad.
  7. Taking notes on the notes app, like these, so I can write them up later on something I can type ten times as fast on.
  8. Taking notes on Evernote that I can access from all of my devices.

Now, you might say that I could do all of that on my iPhone but you would be wrong. The reason that you see so many pictures of me with sunglasses isn’t for looks. It’s because I have very poor vision. I have industrial strength contacts to see and glasses to read. I also have glasses that I wear a lot when I am traveling, so I can sleep on the plane without my contacts in, but then I can’t read unless I hold the book/ computer within two inches of my face. The font is set to 40 pt on my iPhone, which means I can read about 2 sentences on the iPhone screen. When the iPad came out my kids scoffed,

“It’s nothing but a giant iPhone.”

To which I replied,

“That’s exactly what I need.”

And promptly went out and bought one. I think as the market ages, the number and percentage of people with poor vision is only going to get worse.

As for me, since it was possible for me to get my email read, documentation read, notes written, faxes read on the iPad, I still had time to induce Mom to go out in the evening and hang out in the pool – though she drew the line at drinking the blue martinis. (As you can see, I didn’t.)


P. S. I have been told, by people who tell such things, that bloggers should disclose conflicts of interest every now and then, especially since there are a number of commercial products and services mentioned.

Here is my disclosure:

Nobody gave me diddly-squat for writing this post. 

Whether they should have or not, that is a separate issue.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *