Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Toys and Tools for the Road Warrior

A list of devices and apps that help make travelling for your job a little easier to bear.

Kindle Fire Tablet (with Amazon Prime subscription)


I actually prefer the 7 inch to the larger. Reason is that it fits into any bag that I choose to take as carry on and with the magnetic cover folded back it slots perfectly into the seat back of Alaska airline planes so that you can watch your film at eye height and not loose any precious space on your tray. Well - that's in coach in any case.

The model I have - Kindle Fire HDX 7"
But the key distinguishing factor that Amazon tablets have to other tablets are the services that are made available to Amazon Prime subscribers. Specifically, it is capable of storing and watching free rented movies from Amazon Prime in off line mode. This allows you to watch films while waiting to take off as well as during the flight and landing. No having to miss the end of a film you started in flight. No having to pay to watch films on the plane.

As well as this unique feature to Amazon tablets, it's also great for Amazon music and as a Kindle reader of course. Skype and Netflix work great on it and the sound and picture quality is fantastic. If you have a fire stick you can also do some other neat stuff with it in your hotel room which I will talk about next.

Fire TV Stick (from Amazon)


This trick doesn't always work. It relies on the hotel TV allowing you to put devices into the HDMI port of the hotel TV.

Fire TV Stick
But if you can - then it turns your hotel room TV into a Fire TV - complete with Prime Movies and TV - including the things you can only stream. There is a Netflix app that you can install and watch that as well.

The cool thing about this? It comes with a remote (or you can use an app on your phone). And - you can fling from your Fire HDX to the TV. So if you were half way through a movie, you can pick up right where you left off from on the tablet and watch it on the TV.

(When you do this, the Kindle allows you to pause the movie and also displays "X-ray" information about the film.)

Miniature Portable Humidifier

This was a lifesaver when I was in Detroit during the Polar Vortex. The air was so dry! I found it helped me to sleep better and not feel like a lizard.

The model I bought was from the Think Geek website -  Vap0rb USB Ultrasonic Humidifier

I fill the room's ice bucket with water and float this device in it.


White Noise App


Hotel rooms can be noisy. By running an app (on your kindle fire hdx for instance) that plays white noise (e.g. a beach, or rainstorm) it mutes the background noise so your brain doesn't focus on it and allows you to go to sleep. I read somewhere that you actually go into a deeper sleep too.

The one I use is called White Noise

Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker

This one is not for everyone. I like listening to audio books - even in the shower. So with Audible loaded onto my kindle fire HDX or cell phone, I can listen to the book while showering. (I take long showers.)

The model I have is VicTsing® Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Waterproof Outdoor / Shower Speaker, with 5W Speaker/Suction Cup/Mic/Hands-Free Speakerphone

Travel Router


Wireless Portable Router

This device is only for hotel rooms that offer a wired internet connection - which is becoming less and less available I'm finding. But when it is there - you plug this baby in and have your own hotspot that you can connect as many devices that you want into without having to type in credentials into each e.g. hotel room number and last name. You only have to enter it once on any one device and then you are set for all your devices. It is also a firewall so you are less at risk of getting hacked by someone else in the hotel on the same network.



If you travel and don't use tripit - you need to. 'Nuff said.



Gogo monthly pass

I'm typing this on a plane. Putting internet onto planes is a godsend for the road warrior. Allows me to get work done and stay in touch with family and colleagues while in the air. It's expensive. But if you fly a lot I think it's worth the cost.

Verizon Message+


Only works if you are with Verizon (which I switched to because I travel and was tired of dead spots with my previous carrier). This app runs on your laptop (and kindle fire hdx) to receive and send SMS messages that you would usually do on your phone. Particularly useful while flying to be able to receive and respond to your text messages. (See gogo internet.)


Hertz Status - Presidents Circle (comes with Delta Platinum Status)


I love Hertz Status. You don't need to go the desk. You just walk straight to the car they have reserved for you (which they notify you on the phone where it is) or you can go to the presidents circle and pick any of those if they look better than the one you were assigned. And there are some nice cars in that circle!

Airline Status


There is very little good about travel so finding small luxuries helps make it a little more bearable. The worst is travelling coach. Yuck. It's called cattle class for a reason. The difference in comfort and service in first class is marked. Pick one airline and work it. My favourite is Delta. Once you are high enough status you get upgraded to first often.

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