It’s easy to travel with too much stuff.
That’s because most of us pack for contingencies. Even if the forecast is clear, we’ve got to have a raincoat. Just in case. And when it comes to our gadgets, we’ve got to have our entire music library, three or four Kindle books, and everything we may need to work on the road.
For many travelers, the number of items – and their weight – can add up quickly. Here are a few ways modern gadgets can help you lighten your load and simplify travel.
1. Never pack books (or a Kindle) again.
If you’re like most travelers headed out for a week or more, you probably take your laptop, smartphone, and e-reader. You might even bring a tablet or, if you’re old school, a bona fide book with real paper pages in it.
But you really don’t need to bring that book. Or even the e-reader. Books get really heavy, and an e-reader is just one more gadget you need to keep up with, protect, and carry around. Instead of bringing the Kindle, just download the Kindle app to your phone and laptop. While reading on these devices might not be the most perfect way to enjoy a book, this is just a trip. You’ll be home soon and can read on your Kindle then.
And if you haven’t made the jump to e-readers yet, use your next trip as an opportunity to give the Kindle app a try.
Got a tablet? Still bringing your iPad and a laptop with you on trips?
Don’t. Bluetooth makes it easy to connect a real keyboard to your iPad or other tablet when lots of your work requires typing. And it means you can quit hauling your laptop and its clunky AC adapter around.
Unless you’re leaving for several months, there are few reasons why you must bring a laptop instead of a tablet with you on trips. Tablets are lighter, and the battery usually lasts longer than a laptop battery. If you’re only gone for a few days, you can probably just leave the charger at home.
3. Live in the cloud.
Do you travel with a briefcase full of files? Send every last page to Dropbox or Google Drive, and you’ll probably shed several pounds from your luggage.
That, and you won’t worry so much about losing important documents to wind, rain, and coffee spills.
4. Keep up with the latest apps.
It sounds like a cliché, but keeping up with the “hottest trends” in mobile technology can actually make business travel a whole lot easier.
Take portable receipt scanners, for instance. These things have been popular for a really long time because everyone either fills out expense reports or collects receipts for tax deductions. But the newest accounting apps let you photograph receipts with your smartphone and record the expenses automatically. This advancement eliminates a cumbersome reporting process and renders a clunky piece of hardware 100% obsolete.
So know what apps help people in your industry, and give them a try. Who knows? You might get to buy a smaller suitcase.
Adam Green is a frequent business traveler who loves packing minimal equipment. You might find him pondering the ins and outs of terminal application software, traveling the world with just his iPad, or reading a 500-page novel on his smartphone.