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Electronic Travel Companions: Why You Should Choose a Tablet

I did quite a lot of interstate traveling over the summer last year, and while I picked up many things along the way, the one that stuck with me was a tablet.
I set off with my seemingly reliable smartphone, confident that all I needed was a small, easy-to-carry device. However, its limitations quickly became apparent when I tried to watch my first in-flight movie on the small 5-inch screen. Reading a book also proved an unpleasant experience, as was browsing most websites and typing away on my blog. I found myself missing my laptop back home, and I contemplated buying a new budget-friendly one, just for the trip.
It wasn’t until my eyes randomly caught a passenger using an iPad when I realized how great having a tablet would be. So, when we landed in San Francisco, a BestBuy was the first site I visited. After a long moment of deliberation, I finally settled on the Google Nexus 7, whose lightweight feel and decent specs proved very convincing. And, best of all, it’s $250 price tag fit perfectly well with my budget.
I could proceed with an elaborate story on what my new tablet and I were up to all summer, but instead, I’ll just stay that it completely turned the trip around. In fact, I hardly ever used my phone at all, save for the few times I needed to snap a quick picture, and my camera was out of reach. Nowadays, I never leave my tablet behind, even when I’m only visiting my parents upstate.
If you’re planning a trip and are torn between the convenience of a smartphone and the versatility of a laptop, here are some excellent reasons why you should go for a tablet instead.

1. Portability vs. Productivity

Many travelers choose phones because they’re small computing devices that can slide comfortably in any averagely-sized pocket.
When it comes to productivity, however, even the best smartphones on the shelves are no match for a tablet. In addition to accommodating professional document processing tools and online solutions, they have large-enough displays that enable you to get a wider glimpse of your workspace. Moreover, many tablets support external keyboard docks, mice, pens and other accessories, which means you can comfortably work while traveling.
Sure, the average tablet is more unwieldy than a smartphone, but it comes pretty close to what a laptop can offer, in a far more compact package. A tablet is, therefore, the way to go if you’re planning on getting some work done on your trip.

2. Cellular Connectivity? A tablet has got you covered!

If your sole reason for going with a smartphone is that it has a SIM card slot, you’ll probably be pleased to learn that most tablets on the current market now give a buyer the option to choose between Wi-Fi-only or Wi-Fi + Cellular devices. My concern of having to switch between my phones and tablet regularly was quickly invalidated when I learned that the Nexus 7 I’ve got had a slot where the local network SIM cards can easily fit into.
Tablet variants with cellular capabilities are typically more expensive than regular models, but unless you’re guaranteed Wi-Fi connection all through your trip, it’s a worthy addition.

3. Longer Battery Life

Smartphones have come a long way, but you’ll rarely find one that can last more than a day of regular use. Long flights, bus rides and exploration days often result in a dead phone by evening.
A good tablet will last much longer on a single charge than a smartphone, especially when in flight mode or on Wi-Fi. The advantage gets, even more, clearer when you pit a tablet’s battery life against that of a laptop. You, therefore, won’t have to worry about interrupting your site-seeing routine to look for a power outlet.

4. One Device For All

A tablet is a suitable laptop replacement when traveling, but as I surprisingly found out, it can take the place of multiple other gadgets as well. Buying one means there’s no longer need to pack extra essentials like a flashlight, map, calculator, alarm clock, dictionary and music player.
I, in particular, like to get absorbed in a book when on a bus, plane or train. With a tablet, I never have to bring my Kindle along. I can enjoy a read with only one device. 

5. Kid-friendly

My sister travels with her kids all the time, and as a regular third-party observer, I know there’s no better device to occupy and entertain young curious minds than a tablet.
Tablets are light and thin for their small fingers to hold, and offer large screens for their favorite movies and shows. Some even come with a separate Kids Mode, which has all the content a child needs to remain occupied while on a long trip. With Kids Mode, you can rest easy as your young one fiddles around on your tablet, knowing that all the important stuff is safely out of their reach.

6. Cost-effective

Despite offering the best of both worlds, tablets are much cheaper than laptops and high-end smartphones. This makes them a reasonable last-minute buy when a trip suddenly pops up on your calendar.
Compared to a laptop, buying a tablet doesn’t require much due diligence regarding things like specs and value for the money. With only $200, you can easily get a decent device that will serve you well on your looming trip.
Tablets have a lot to offer the average traveler. While not exactly a necessity, they’re a lot more useful than a phone and much more convenient than a laptop. A good tablet will make traveling enjoyable by granting everything you wish for to keep you and your kids entertained, and your work flowing all through the trip.

Vigilance Chari 
About the Guest Author
Vigilance Chari is a freelance writer covering tech news and gadgets at LaptopNinja. She is an International presenter and published author. When not writing, she spends her time as an enthusiastic professional party planner and part-time painter.

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