in iOS, Opinion

This week my wife and I are off on a trip in Lviv. I lived in Ukraine in the past but never got over to Lviv and heard that it was unlike the rest of Ukraine. Our plans are to see friends, travel and take photos. But I do have to work on my assignment while I’m off work and so my iPad Pro is with me. As such I thought I’d share some insights into why iOS only is great for travel and how I manage it.

Planning and booking a trip

There are so many great tools for organising and booking your trip now that you really are spoiled for choice. Personally, I really like using Apple notes as the files are saved offline and I can easily share them with my wife. In the past we used Evernote before Apple notes got good and when she was still using an Android phone. Evernote has it’s advantages for saving information but you do really need a premium account.
For flights we often use sky scanner to check for flight deals but we also have a discount card for Wizzair and Easyjet so we usually double check their flights, especially within Europe. A couple of quick flight tips that I’ve been told

  • 3 months before on a Wednesday is the best day to book flights (if you book earlier then that date is obviously important so it can be more expensive, much later and you’re desperate so they can charge more too. Wednesday is the day more tickets are released)
  • when you browse for flights, do it in incognito and prevent cookies from being saved so that if you come back, the price doesn’t go up.

For accommodation we try a few services such as looking for different hostels, airBnB but most of the time we’ve used Booking.com to book our stay. Their quality changes a lot and it’s definitely worth checking out the price that they advertise on their website incase it is cheaper.

Oh and don’t forget these two little tips for keeping your tickets close at hand.

Packing gear


We like to travel with only a carry on bag wherever possible. Several years ago I picked up a Minaal carry on and it is still serving me well. It’s not without its issues (it can be a bit tricky to get into the back pocket, it doesn’t necessarily carry as much as some bags etc) but it is a great solid bag and it is still going strong where lesser bags would have fallen apart.
There are several items which I always keep in my bag so that I don’t have to think about packing them. This includes my travel bands (I suffer from travel sickness and these seem to help a bit, though someone recently put me on to sucking dried ginger which is really great and works very well). I also keep a travel adapter and a lightning cable and iphone charger in the bag at all times. That way I know there is always a backup.
The next step is my packing list. I made a simple one which I keep in apple notes but I’m working on a good workflow to replace it. I like to have at least a backup item of each piece of clothing even if I’m going for one night. Just incase something goes wrong and I need a spare pair of socks or a replacement shirt.
I have some other essential travel items to pack including

  • iPad Pro 10.5 (of course)
  • my fuji x100t (though recently I’ve used my iPhone more for this on general travel)
  • the Mu world traveller duo
  • lightning to SD card (to download photos)
  • My Anchor backup battery (it‘s about 6 years old so I don’t know the model)
  • a short usb to micro USB cable (to charge the backup battery)
  • when possible my nintendo switch (especially for flights)
  • Airpods
  • Earpods (just incase people get fussy over bluetooth on flights or whatever. Plus they drain less battery power).
  • Apple Watch charging cable

That’s a lot of little things but the vast majority of things I carry are clothes which is good.

Traveling with iOS

The main annoyance I had when traveling with a MacBook Pro wasn’t the weight of the device, but the charging cable for it. It would take up so much space and required either an adaptor or a different countries charging connector if I was going to the UK. With iOS I can get away with taking just a lightning cable and an iPad charger (which I have done in the past)

Now I usually take my Mu traveler kit with two lightning cables as I can have everything charging at once.
In the past I used to come across a couple of issues that would cause me to regret not bringing my MacBook with me but in the last couple of years since I’ve been using my iPad almost exclusively I don’t come across those issues (partially because some of those tasks can’t be done while I travel).

I also firmly believe that traveling is one of those instances when an iPad really comes into its own. The battery life (far greater than a phone or laptop) the ability to do basic content creation or consumption is fantastic. I will often grab a book on Kindle just before flying to read on the flight. As I get travel sick, especially in coaches or cars, I also try to save up on podcasts so that I’ve got a few to listen to on the flight.

Working out and about

I’m often doing some writing or preparing for lessons while I’m abroad. Sometimes I’m even teaching classes and as such being able to access all my work tools on the go is great. As I speak I’m in a coffee shop in Lviv because our apartment’s internet isn’t working. I’m able to do everything I could normally and have been working on my assignment with all my notes and PDFs easily accessible.

Photos

I have a bit of a passion for street photography (and photography in general). While there are still some major limit in “professional” photo editing on the iPad, I prefer the iPad for editing my photos. The major limits I refer to are for organising photo shoots and then exporting photos in the right format for web/print etc. I have some workflows but I don’t have the full fine grain control as I do on lightroom. Having said all that, this week I came across Denny’s tips on organising photos in Affinity photo and this actually looks like a perfect solution to my issues. It’s not as fast to edit a batch of photos as lightroom but the exporting feature is a real bonus.
I’ve recently given up on instagram so I guess that means it’s micro.blog for sharing photos for me. I need to find a minute or five to set that up properly though. Surprisingly that’s not the easiest thing for me.

General travel

A couple of final notes about when actually traveling, I tend to use Yelp to find interesting locations to visit as well as saving ideas to Apple notes so that I’m ready to look around. I usually download the map of the location I’m traveling to on Google Maps and save interesting locations, restarurants and pubs onto the map so I can find them on the go.
I like to know the basic phrases of the places I’m going to so a quick essential phrases course in Duolingo, a quick google search for common verb conjugations and a language app from the App store (if there is one). Plus downloading the language in the Google translate app as a fall back.

A final note, in the EU traveling is great as thanks to the EU data roaming law, I can make calls and use my phone data the same as in Poland. But outside the EU (oh hi Ukraine) that’s not the case. Data charges can rack up quickly. I usually keep my Data off so I’m a bit disconnected (even in the EU).

It’s great to travel with iOS Only

This isn’t a conclusive list, I’m sure there are other aspects to my travel workflow but I feel this is a pretty good summary.

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