I'm writing this from around seven miles high in the sky, where I can't help but marvel at the technology that's allowing my laptop a reasonably speedy Interent connection (never mind the technology that's keeping me--hopefully--from plummeting to earth).
I don't fly that often, but I've done it enough to have learned some tips for successful traveling with technology:
1. Don't pack a big laptop
If you're shopping for a new portable and can't decide between the 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch models, picture yourself in a coach seat. With the seat in front of you tilted all the way back. You're a sardine. And a big laptop will make it very, very difficult to angle the screen for comfortable viewing, to say nothing of typing.
That's why I refuse to travel with anything larger than a 13.3-inch laptop. That's what I'm using now, and it just barely fits my confines.
2. Remember the most important rule of traveling with tech
Now that most airplanes offer Wi-Fi, you may be tempted to do a little in-flight housekeeping: install a new driver, update Windows, or maybe even load a new piece of software.
Don't. As I noted in "The one thing you should never do while traveling," making any changes to your PC can result in glitches, lockups, or worse--and that's the last thing you need during a trip. Indeed, tech support at 33,000 feet can be awfully hard to come by. Whatever update you're thinking about doing, it can wait.
3. Share your connection
I just paid $20 for three hours of Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi. Ugh. The real bummer is that I can't share that connection with, say, my tablet or phone, or with my spouse if she was traveling with me.
Thankfully, I can turn my laptop into a wireless hotspot with Virtual Router Plus, a free utility that's great for sharing connections like these. (But this may violate tip #2, as I found that running this program interfered with my VPN connections. So user beware.)
4. Use the air-sickness bag to hold your smartphone
If the only movie you want to watch in-flight is loaded on your smartphone, you have two options: You can hold it upright for two hours, craning your neck uncomfortably all the while, or you can hack your barf bag into a smartphone mount.
This clever Instructable leverages the flexible metal piece(s) used to close up a used bag (ew). Depending on the design of the bag, you may need to borrow (read: steal) a couple extras. But after a little strategic bending, you'll be able to mount your phone on the seatback in front of you for a more comfortable viewing angle.
Have you found any other ways to improve the tech experience while flying? Share them in the comments!
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