How I Replaced my Laptop with an iPod to Travel Lighter

Are you lugging a laptop around the world to upload your digital photos and send email?


Even the lightest laptop is eating deeply into your carry-on baggage allowance and for us that means we may have to check a bag, a situation we prefer to avoid. But we kept on carrying our laptop because we needed it to save our photos, surf the Internet, send email, watch movies and–and do all the same things we do at home. Boring!

Our Data Requirements

Let’s analyse the requirements more closely, we need:

  1. a way store all our photographs;
  2. our itinerary and booking information;
  3. to be able to contact family and friends;
  4. access to self-guided walking tour information; and
  5. some entertainment for those rare dull moments on the road.

Travelling with an iPod

An iPod or similar device is the obvious solution for our walking tours unless you want an upper body workout by carrying the laptop. We can also access our itinerary on Tripit (See my review here.) using their iPod application, check email and entertain myself with an iPod but we cannot upload photos. This is the biggest weakness of Apple’s iPod, one I hope they resolve soon. The iPad has a camera connection kit that provides a USB port or SD card reader, if only it worked with the iPod Touch. How about it Apple?

Fortunately, memory card prices have reduced significantly and we managed to buy two 8Gb cards for less than $100. So, we decided to head off to Italy without the laptop.

The combination of an iPod and memory cards met most of our digital needs although the lack of free WiFi in Europe limited email access. However, easy access to Internet cafes, and text messaging from our Italian phone (more on phones next week), kept us in contact with loved ones.

On the up side, we carried our data with us everywhere and could easily check itinerary details on the move. We also had maps and directions to key locations saved as PDF files that helped us find our way quickly to scheduled events or our hotels. Best of all, it reduced my bag’s weight by over 1.5kg (3.3lbs) that would have forced us to check at least one bag.

Add an iGo folding keyboard to the mix and you can even easily write your blog entries or capture your travel journal without wearing out your thumbs. Rolf Potts demonstrated tested the iGo folding keyboard during his recent No Baggage Tour, and it is on my wish list for the next trip.

We did not miss the laptop in Italy, and I have used the iPod exclusively on business trips this year without ever wishing I had a laptop with me. So, goodbye to the laptop and another couple of pounds of weight to carry, I do love to travel light.