Even before I was definitely going travelling I wanted an iPad…from the get-go I thought they were pretty much the coolest invention since, well, ever. But I just never had a reason to actually go out and spend my *ahem* hard earned student loan on one. I already had a MacBook Pro and an iPod Touch (yes okay, in case you hadn’t already guessed, I’m a massive Apple fan-girl), so why on earth would I get a device that’s somewhere in the middle of those two?
Well, my reason came somewhere around April of 2011, when I booked my flights for a year-long round the world trip, starting that November. I figured I didnt want to carry my heavy laptop around with me the whole time, but I would need something to get online with, store my photos and make some travel videos (and my iPod is so old that trying to do anything on it apart from listen to music is like torture…it’s that slow!). So the iPad was purchased, and I’ve never looked back.
I got a 64GB WiFi version as there was no need for a 3G one (the roaming charges would be extortionate), and this amount of space has done me well for the last year, managing to store all 5000+ of my photos, plenty of movies, and a whole heap of apps to keep me entertained on the long journeys. And it is just wonderful. So easy to use and intuitive, so even if you’re not a Mac/iOS user already, you’ll know exactly what to do with your iPad as soon as you have it in your hands.
My main use for the iPad was threefold. Firstly I needed it for getting online, keeping in contact with people at home and, or course, blogging, which was made extra simple by the use of a WordPress app. It worked excellently to give me all the freedom that the normal website does to post blogs, photos and make small changes to this site. There are some websites which just aren’t iPad compatible yet, making it a little difficult to do some of the things that you normally would on the web, but that says more about those sites than it does about the iPad itself! And to keep in contact with loved ones you have the brilliant FaceTime or Skype, and with the iPad’s front facing camera for video calls, you’ll never feel close to home.
Secondly I am a photo whore, so I needed somewhere to store my photos and organise them into albums before uploading them to Facebook and various other platforms.I used the iPad camera connector kit to get all my photos and videos from my camera to the iPad itself (there is one USB and one SD card reader) and it worked like a charm. I couldn’t recommend buying this piece of equipment more highly.
And finally, movies. I make movies, so I needed a way to edit all the footage I recorded over the months in each different country and turn it into some awesome travel videos, which I did using the iMovie app. Now this is an app that works great until, well, it doesn’t. It does all the basics, and the iPad makes it easy to access all your footage, photos and music to make even better videos, but obviously it has its limitations, my main gripe being that lack of sound alteration ability. However, for what it is, and for what I needed it for, it was absolutely satisfactory, and it had the ability to share straight to Youtube, which give it major bonus points in my book.
When you’re travelling it’s really important to be able to have a back up of all your data, photos, videos, travel documents, and where better to store all these things than in the cloud. The iCloud to be precise. This works great when you’re on the move, and I was comforted by the fact that all my precious photos would already be stored on my laptop at home if anything was to happen to my iPad. Security in the sky. Excellent.
The final few things i wanted to talk about are the App Store & iTunes, Mail & Notes, and the only two things I dislike about the iPad. So first up…App Store. Works perfectly, allows me to keep up to date with news apps, keep entertained with games and social media apps, and or course there are some brilliant travel apps to help you on your way. iTunes, too, is a great travel companion. Hear a song on the radio and like it? That’s cool, you can just download it straight to your device. No computer necessary. Now Mail…much like on a Mac computer, it works without glitches and allows you to keep in contact with all those loved ones at home. And finally, Notes is a great place to write to do lists and reminders of all those places you’ve been told about and want to visit…who needs paper!?
So onto the negatives. In my opinion there are only two. Firstly the addition of a USB port would just makes things complete for me, so that I could store more documents or be able to transfer things from one place to another. And secondly, on my iPad 2 the quality of the camera really is not that great and I don’t think I used it once to take photos while I was travelling. (NOTE: the camera has had a much needed upgrade in the new iPad so this isn’t too much of an issue anymore).
So to sum up. If you are about to go travelling, or even thinking about going travelling for a long period of time, and you don’t want to lug around your heavy laptop, then the iPad is your man. With a great battery life and even better looks, it will keep you company around the world.