Rail Warrior Tech Tools

I’m sometimes asked about what tech stuff I carry with me on tour? What are the go-to must have items that I never leave home without

The heart of it all is my trusty iPad Pro. When paired with the Smart Keyboard Folio it makes typing larger amounts of text viable and protects to some degree against the inevitable scuffs and scratches. I used to carry a laptop around (macbook since you ask) but got tired of the weight pretty quickly. It’s not so much the actual laptop that gets you down as the charger and cables that go with it.

The iPad manages everything I need for work and the blog. I don’t use any of the Microsoft Office apps; they’re expensive and frankly overpowered for day to day use. One of the things that regularly drives me crazy is people using MsOffice for documents when they don’t really understand how to use it properly. It’s been true of every company that I’ve worked with! Poorly formatted and paginated documents are a nightmare for everybody except the original author, but companies never seem to learn and so it goes on. Instead of MsOffice I use the standard Apple app (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) which all read and write MsOffice docs but are far simpler to use and look better.

The iPad also holds my Social Network, Evernote, Dropbox, and VPN apps. Finally, the iPad stores my selection of movies and TV shows, updated before each trip along with any relevant short films or presentations that I have prepared for my clients on the Tour – You can pass the iPad around easily on a train or bus for people to view content.

Along with the iPad in the picture above you’ll see the Apple AirPods (good for making phone calls as well as listening) and an HDMI cable and iPad dongle. This last connects the iPad to any TV in a hotel room, office or sometimes on the bus and means that I can share film clips or presentations easily.

The white electrical plug is a USB Plug Travel Adaptor that connects to any power socket in the world and allows four USB items to be charged simultaneously. I love this thing, but sadly I’m now on my fourth one having left the last three plugged in at various hotels around the world! Next to the plug is my mini Bluetooth speaker – Loud enough to fill a hotel room without generating complaints from the neighbours.

Finally, there’s the Kindle, the single greatest invention of the century. I no longer have to lug books around and then when I’ve finished them decide whether I like them enough to carry all the way home. Strangely, some people get really cross about Kindles. “No, I prefer ‘real’ books” is something I’ve heard surprisingly often. “Well good for you” I reply. “So do I, but not when I’m travelling”. Kindles don’t replace books (I have shelves groaning under the weight of my favourites at home) they simply make life easier when travelling.

The final item is not shown because it was used to take the picture above. My iPhone is invaluable for too many reasons to list here. It’s my communications hub for phone calls, texts, WhatsApp Skype, FaceTime and where I keep my travel music and library of audiobooks.

That’s it on the tech. The really great thing is that all of these devices are powered and charged by USB meaning that I don’t have to carry multiple power socket adaptors around, and at a pinch, they can be connected to the USB on a hotel TV or PC.

4 Replies to “Rail Warrior Tech Tools”

  1. Another item you might consider is an Apple Watch – I find mine invaluable, for a variety of things – health/exercise, music, phone, camera etc – also easy to keep up with different time zones when travelling abroad

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    1. I’m on the Fitbit path at the moment, since the Apple Watch doesn’t currently do sleep tracking. I’m also bothered by the requirement to recharge every day (or so I’ve heard). It’s kind of a watch-this-space for me at the moment. As soon as those issues are sorted out, which I feel should be for the price charged, I’ll make the jump

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  2. Thank you for that, Tim. I fully concur with your choice. The only thing I would add would be a good digital camera – as a geographer, landscapes are very important to me.
    Best wishes for your Siberian adventure.

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    1. Hi Michael. Thanks for the feedback. You’r probably right about the camera, but I find the iPhone is so good these days that it is quite enough for me. Once you start on the whole quality camera thing it’s a real rabbit hole into which you (and your bank balance) can disappear rapidly! 😀

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