The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

General Tips for Travel 101

January 25, 2005 by

With the "Year of the PowerBook," and wireless connectivity everywhere, more and more users are opting for portable Macs and working from wherever they happen to be. This area will discuss information on what hardware, software and services are essential for the road warrior, how to make the choices, and how to do your best work out of the office.

On January 14, 2005 I taught a class, alongside Chuck Joiner of The MUG Center, at Macworld Expo in San Francisco on travel tips. If you'd like to download our Keynote slide show (.pdf, 1.2 mb), just click here: Art of Traveling with Your Mac. Be sure to check out Hardware, Software, and Services links in the menu to your upper left too!

Before you go:

  • Backup! Better yet, clone your entire hard drive using Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner. Also, copy essential files to CD, your iDisk, or a Flash (or pen) drive.
  • Set your email client to leave messages on the server before you leave, for the duration of your trip.
  • If you travel often, make your laptop your main email machine.
  • Get a low-limit credit card to use for Internet access. This will help you keep track of how much you're spending, and if the number gets stolen, at least your debit card won't be in harms way!
  • Check for free WiFi access in your destination city
  • When flying, check to see if you're going to have power available by visiting SeatGuru.com
  • Pack essential CDs such as Disk Warrior and Panther discs
  • Ship items before you go, and on your return! This is especially helpful with the airline weight limits being imposed these days. Those of us who have made the pilgrimage to and from Macworld Expo have learned that this little tip makes life so much easier. We always come back with way more than we left with. Carrying an expandable duffle bag is another good way to combat luggage overflow.
  • Take pictures of box contents with a digital camera so you'll know what you sent ahead.

While you're away:

  • Backup while you're traveling to CD, DVD, external hard drive, or even your iDisk
  • Another backup options is emailing essential files to yourself at an address that you don't normally pick up
  • Check the hotel for Internet access: be it wireless, ethernet, or dial-up. Beware as some hotels charge by the minute after the first hour of dial-up service.
  • Do you really need high-speed access every day? It's free at some hotels, but others charge $9.99 per 24 hrs. If you have an AOL account and just want to check email, consider using dial-up and setting AOL to check mail while you're in the shower to save $$.
  • Learn to share your Internet connection via Internet Sharing
  • Use Network Profiles to save Internet settings for locations you frequent often.
  • When using public WiFi access, be careful not to surf sites requiring authentication (shopping sites requiring passwords, etc.). Unless you're running Firewall software, it's may be easier for evil-doers to hack into your computer and steal passwords.
  • Take pictures of slideshows or conference whiteboards instead of frantically taking notes.
  • If you're working on site at an office, or taking notes at a conference, lock down your PowerBook, both physically (with a security cable) and figuratively by assigning a password in the Security Preferences Pane.