Surviving a conference without your laptop

Travel these days for me means this:

  1. I pack all my stuff, including laptop (for serious work), iPad (for non-serious work, optional), Kindle (for reading) in my somewhat-bulging Belkin travel bag (an old model probably closest to the Larchmont Messenger out of their current range).
  2. I go to the airport and hit security.
  3. I take everything out of my bag for scanning, put it back in, spend prescious mental RAM + ego keeping track of everything.
  4. I get to where I’m going and then spend the rest of the trip making sure I don’t lose any of my devices.
  5. I pack to leave, and triple-check everywhere to make sure I haven’t left anything behind.
  6. Going through security, I once again have to dismantle my stuff to have everything scanned.

The last trip I went on (to attend SAS2012 conference), I decided that I’d had enough lugging devices around: I’d just take my iPad1 (plus my Logitech K760). I figured:

It went surprisingly - incredibly - well. Here’s what I ended up using:

That kept me going for the whole week.

Did I miss my computer? Maybe once over the whole week, when I found an article about Slate for OS X and my fingers itched to spend an evening on completely productivity-free tinkering. But overall, I was impressed with how well the iPad (plus a few apps) stood up to sole use over the course of the event. It’s good enough that in future, I think this might be my default load-out for light travel.


  1. Remember kids, it’s only for consumption! 

  2. Interestingly, one of the talks at the conference was about setting a new standard for scattering data files - and one of the points brought up there was that a tagging/relational system is inherently more flexible than a hierarchical one.