Even if you are only using it to pass the time while you are trapped in plane, train or automobile there is no doubt that the iPad truly is “The Ultimate Travel Companion.” Where once we had a suitcase full of tranlation manuals and guide books, GPS devices and foldout maps that never seem to go back to their original size after you have used them once, now we have a single iPad (in a protective case) and our handy charger (perhaps with a universal adapter for those International locations).
So how does the iPad excel as the perfect partner to your travels? Consider the following:
GPS and Maps – Need to know where you are going? Need to find out how to get to that great little restaurant that you’ve heard so many wonderful reviews for? The iPad is a fantastic way to get location-specific maps plus directions.
Break the Language Barrier – Going somewhere that you don’t speak the language? There are crazy numbers of apps that will do everything from teach you a new language to translation on the fly using the built-in microphone. You will never have to worry about eating something scary off of the menu just because you were too shy to ask what that word really means.
Culture Guide – If you are somewhere really exotic it likely couldn’t hurt to get up to speed on local customs and laws. Whether you download a custom app or just take advantage of Google, the iPad puts an encyclopedia (or two) of knowledge at your fingertips.
Pictures and Video – While it may not be the most portable camera around, the new third generation iPad takes pretty great photos and high definition video making it a great addition to your memory making trip.
Communication – Missing your kids back home? FaceTime anywhere you can grab a WiFi signal will put you back in touch with your loved ones even when you are a million miles away. Your iPad also makes it easy to check your email, share photos and keep up with your social networking no matter where you are in the world.
Entertainment – Do you love to catch up on your reading while you are on holidays? Does your time away from the office give you a chance to finally look up what these Angry Birds are all about? Take advantage of the many games and eReader applications the iPad has to offer and find yourself entertained while you relax.
There are downsides too of course. The iPad is not terribly weather proof without some significant case-protections, so be sure you have the right accessories for the places you are headed. If you don’t have a mobile data plan that will cover you in every location, be sure that there will be enough free WiFi spots to give you the connectivity you need.
A side-benefit is that most apps you can use on your iPad will also work on your iPhone, doubling the usefulness if you are carrying both devices.