Essential Tech Checklist for Vacation Planning

With the start of summer underway, we’re sure many people have vacation plans in the coming weeks. We’re all for taking a breather from projects and tech in order to truly relax. However, if you’re really getting out of town, that usually requires waiting and spending at least a couple hours stuck in some mode of transportation, so I wouldn’t ditch the tech entirely. Here’s a checklist so you can decide which tech to bring and which to leave at home based on how much work you’re planning to get done during vacation downtime.

Let’s start with the obvious things. As nice as it is to turn your phone off for the day, you are going to need it at the very least for emergency calls while you’re on vacation. Some other staples to consider:

  • Laptop or netbook:
  • For most people, you can get the majority of your work done anytime, anywhere as long as you have a laptop on you.

  • Tablet/iPad:
  • If you’re going to bring a laptop, then there is no reason for you to bring a tablet along as well. You’ve got to choose one or the other, and granted the two aren’t interchangeable but I’m guessing you don’t need both while you’re on vacation. I suggest if you plan to get any significant amount of work done that requires a physical keyboard, just go with a laptop. However, if you want a smaller device just to access email and do light work, then a tablet is the ideal travel companion.

  • E-reader:
  • For those who don’t already have an iPad or tablet equipped with books, an e-reader is actually one of the most ideal pieces of tech I would bring on vacation versus bringing a bunch of paperback books. I’d suggest readers to check out the new Nook reader, the Simple Touch reader that comes in black and white, but works as a touch screen. The nice thing about most e-readers like the Nook is you still have access to certain apps and your email if needed.

    iPod: If you’re not planning on working at all and want to shut yourself off from email completely, you’re still going to want your own entertainment such as movies, music and photos – in that case bring an iPod.

  • Headphones:
  • For the people who really don’t want to bring anything, I’d still suggest your own set of headphones for the road, especially if you’re traveling by air. I prefer them to the one’s airlines offer.

    Below is a list of apps that could come in handy during traveling. Here are my top picks:

    For the Road

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    INRIX Traffic App: For when things go wrong on the road, INRIX plots accidents and police action on a map based on your location. Great for monitoring traffic and preparing the best you can for unexpected circumstances. This app is free for iPhones.

    Traffic Buddy: For Android users, Traffic Buddy is a very helpful app for the road that streams the latest traffic cam images. You can also save your favorite routes and the app covers 32 states – great for road trips.

    Itinerary Monitors

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    Flight Track: iOS, BlackBerry and Android compatible, Flight Track is one of the best apps for detailed flight departures down to the exact time the flight left the gate. You can also monitor multiple flights on one screen.

    Flight Update: Also has live flight updates but even gives you baggage updates and alternatives to consider if you’ve missed your flight. Another app that is handy when things don’t go according to plan.