Don't Leave the Laptop Behind When Traveling

Published: 20 Dec 2008

Nick Wingfield wrote an interesting piece on Oct. 27 in the Wall Street Journal entitled, "Time to Leave the Laptop Behind." While Nick made a number of good points about using wireless handhelds, his premise: most people should leave their laptop at home and only take along their wireless handheld when they travel. I believe just the opposite: that the laptop should go along on all trips. I don't recommend anyone try to travel with just a wireless handheld – no matter how good it is – even if it's a wonderful device like the iPhone. Here's why.

Wireless SmartPhone handhelds (BlackBerry, iPhone, Treo, G1 etc.) are great for reviewing information created by others, for responding with a short reply or composing short emails. They are also good for receiving alerts, sending/receiving SMS and listening to music. The keyboard is smaller and more difficult to compose text than a full-sized keyboard on most laptops. And, SmartPhones typically can't run Windows applications. There are viewers (e.g. Documents-to-Go) that can display a number of different PC file structures such as Word, Excel and PDF.

The combination of a laptop and a SmartPhone makes the best sense so you can use the laptop in the hotel in the morning and evening and carry the SmartPhone with you during the day to review email and reference Contacts and your Calendar. I also find that 3x5 index cards help me keep track of people to call, things to do and notes from meetings since these activities are not easily maintained electronically.

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