WEB MASTER TUCKER HOTTES: Have tablet, will travel
Over the weekend, I took a trek into New York City to visit a good friend of mine for his 30th birthday. Due to the hassles of parking, and the need to accommodate my dog, I usually wind up taking a sort of odd little journey when I’m visiting New York. First, I swing to my mom’s place in North Jersey, where I deposit the dog (and usually tackle some yard work to cover the pet-sitting service).
After the little detour to take care of the canine, I make the next leg of the trip farther south and east to my aunt’s place with its free street parking and conveniently placed New Jersey Transit bus. From there, it’s a matter of sitting through the tedium of a billion local stops until heading through the Lincoln Tunnel and to NYC’s Port Authority terminal to hop whatever local transit will get me where I’m going.
This particular trip was fraught with traffic, and I knew heading to the subway would eat up too much time. Plus, GPS was being particularly flaky for whatever reason, and I was unsure of which train to grab — and it would take even more time to figure it out (it was a surprise party, so I couldn’t exactly call my buddy for directions). So, reluctantly, I grabbed a cab and we crawled our way through midtown traffic. The ride was cheap enough, so I opted for another cab on the way back as a luxury. The difference between traffic and no traffic for a trip that long is a whopping three dollars — sitting at a dead stop sure eats up the meter.
Fortunately, on my pair of bus rides, I had the foresight to throw my tablet in my bag at the last minute. I also knew battery life would be an issue with both the tablet and my phone (whose battery is ailing at the moment). So, into my already crowded bag went my handy travel battery. It’s about the size of a deck of playing cards, but it’ll fully charge up a phone twice, or give a decent bit of juice to both a phone and tablet. It’s been a life saver more than once, and I’ve even walked around with it, my phone, and charging wires dangling all over the place. Pride has no place when you’ve got a dead battery.
Even though I love my e-ink Kindle, and my laptop is my device of choice on longer trips or at home, I’m increasingly finding the tablet my go-to choice for travel. It’s simply more convenient to cart around one piece of equipment that does most things adequately than fret over juggling several expensive electronics. Plus, space was a premium on this trip and my backpack was already straining at the seams.
Even though it can be a pain and add a little extra time to the trip, I occasionally enjoy the time spent on the bus just tuning out the rest of the world, reading, playing a game, etc. I throw on some headphones, fire up some tunes, find something interesting to do on the tablet, and let myself get transported toward adventure. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to look up and check out the skyline.