For the last 7 years, I have been somewhat of a road warrior. I’ve traveled to conferences and events. Represented the business I was working for, whether it was speaking at the event or manning a sponsor booth.
In almost all of my travels, it was typically 3-5 days in length during the time of a conference or event. As any good employee, I would try to work as much on the other tasks I was working on while traveling. This meant I would need to bring my computer.
When I first started I had a 14” MacBook Pro. It was a decent machine that was capable of doing all the work I needed. But the battery life on it was horrible. It didn’t last nearly as long as laptops do now.
Enter the Redesigned iPad Pro
I’ll admit. I was super excited when the iPad Pro was redesigned in 2018. I immediately got one (an 11”) and loved it. I found it to be a true road warrior’s machine. When it was paired with the keyboard case, it was great to work on.
I started taking this in addition to my laptop, especially for trips where I was working in one of our offices. As a bonus, a year later, Apple introduced a feature that allowed iPads to act as an added screen.
This was amazing! This gave me two screens while on the road. I could work from one of our offices or work from the hotel and best of all is that I didn’t have to sacrifice mobility. I had two amazing machines that gave me the capability to do my work while traveling.
Hitting the Road Again
Like most people that were used to being road warriors, we all got a couple of years off thanks to COVID/Pandemic. I don’t want this to turn political.
In December 2021, I started to travel some for work again. My first trip was to a WordPress event in NYC for a couple of days. Knowing that I was needing to work for Gravity Forms while I was there, I took both devices like I had done previously.
It worked well for me before, so I figured I’d run with what worked. This time it was a bit different though. Apple Silicon chips had been released, which brought faster devices, better battery life and for me a 16” MacBook Pro.
That trip made me quickly realize that both a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro on the road was no longer the right solution for me. It was too much. I had too much power on the road.
If you have ever had a 16” MacBook, or any computer that large, you know what it’s like to travel with. It’s bulky and heavy. It’s not really made for the road, or at least the type of trips I take.
What Devices Suit Me?
That trip, led me to think about what type of devices I really needed. It made me wonder what devices I really needed to do my work. The biggest “ah ha” moment I had for me was being able to work on an M1 iPad Pro, M1 MacBook Air, 24” M1 iMac and 16” MacBook Pro M1 Max.
I noticed that Apple did something no on expected. I could do all of my work on any of those devices. Tech Specs aside (other than processor differences the only real difference was RAM ranging from 16GB to 32GB), I never ran into an issue where I couldn’t do my work on the device.
And that got me thinking. Could I work on smaller devices? Did Apple fix the problem for me? Did they make it so I could have all-day battery life and devices that allowed me to work on what I needed to accomplish from anywhere I was at?
And that helped me to make the decision. While I can’t dictate what my employer provides me (with a computer), I can determine what I want to work on and use while I travel.
Through all of this, I started to assess the work I do, the work I want to do, and how I would grow through all of it. And while I don’t intend to go down that rabbit hole in this post, I do want to share with you what I think is the perfect setup for the road warrior tech.
A Simpler Setup
I was recently given the opportunity to try out a new M2 MacBook AIR. I’ve only had it for a week and it’s not been on a trip yet, but I can say without a shadow of doubt, it’s the perfect computer for me while traveling.
Here’s why after just a few short days, I feel like it’s the perfect computer.
The biggest is the battery life.
The battery life on this machine is simply amazing. I’ve been able to have multiple hour long video calls on it and still get battery life towards the evening hours or end of the day.
It has a super quick recharge, giving you 50% within 30 minutes when you use a fast charger. Anker makes a great fast charger that will enable the fast-charge capability. What’s great about this is that you can also charge your iPhone, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch or AirPod Pros all at the same time.
Like I said. I love the battery life on these Apple Silicon devices and they are only going to get better.
Weight of Device
I have to call attention to it because at 2.7 pounds, this device is light. And when you are traveling, it’s important to shave off any excess weight in your luggage as you can.
I was initially concerned that the form factor and weight was going to make this device feel cheap, it’s far from it. The M2 MacBook Air is sturdy, feels good in your lap, on a desk/table, pretty much anywhere.
One place I still am working through is figuring out how best to protect it in my bag. As with any new device, I don’t have a case specific for it. So leaving it in my backpack, does make me feel a little uneasy about it. I’ll figure that out though and it will be fine.
Setting Up for the Road
So as I get on the road this next week, the question quickly becomes what device will I take on the road. I think I’m ready to answer it.
It’s going to be the M2 MacBook Air for sure. But I know that I’m going to miss having some sort of a device to watch shows on or less intensive tasks accomplished while on the road.
I think I have a solution to that. I upgraded my iPhone this year to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s bigger screen, bigger battery, allows me to do more tasks on it where I don’t have to pull out another device all the time.
And when I add my personal favorite, the iPad Mini (with cell data) into the mix, I have the perfect setup. I’m able to pick and choose from one of these devices to give me the best of all the worlds combined.
They are also all small, lightweight, easy to pack and I can adapt as I move items around in my bag during travel days. I’ve got a few trips planned over the next couple of weeks, so I will let you know how it all fairs out after I complete a few.