How to prepare your tablet for travel

Here’s how to make the most of your tablet on your next trip.

woman using an ipad whilst she sits in a plane

A little preparation can go a long way to really make the most of your tablet while travelling. Turn your tablet into your best travel companion with these tips. 

Back it up

First things first: don’t leave the house without backing up your device. Make sure you set aside some time to sync your device with your computer, or back all your files up to a hard drive. Overnight is a great time to do this, as all you have to do is set it up, go to sleep and when you wake up it will be done.

Make space

Be sure to check how you’re tracking for storage space on your tablet. There’s not much point taking it if there’s no space left for you to add photos, download apps or access email and documents. When you back up your device, ditch anything you don’t desperately need on your travels – you can always re-install it when you’re back home.

Add new apps

One of the best ways to up the ante of improving your tablet’s function is to install relevant apps before you hit the road. Spend a bit of time doing research into which apps your airline has on offer – either for entertainment onboard or for checking in. Also have a look at which other travel apps will make your life easier. Citymapper is a great one to help you get around, Skyscanner’s good to have if you’re booking flights during your trip and Hotel Tonight is helpful for booking last-minute accommodation.

Keeping connected

There are two aspects to this. Firstly you’ll need to decide whether you want to go down the data-roaming path (beware of post-trip bill shock) or whether you want to stick to wifi – a safer option and, given how widely available wifi is now, entirely doable. Also, make sure to sign up for wifi your airline may be offering before you board.

The second part involves considering how you’re going to keep in contact with friends and family back home. With countless communication options available now, take your pick and download them all before you go. Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook and Email are all great ways to let everyone know you’re alive and well. Remember to consider whether you need credit or to recharge as a Skype account with no credit is about as useful as a phone with no battery.

Power up

I realise it may seem obvious, but don’t forget to fully charge your tablet before you pack it. Take charging cables with you, and consider a back up supply, such as a powerbank, if you plan on using your tablet a lot or relying on it.

Let it entertain you

When it comes to traveling, one of the major pros of a tablet is that it can hold all of your entertainment, saving you from lugging around extra kilos of books, magazines and anything else to stop you from going insane while waiting in transit.

TV shows, movies, music, podcasts, digital magazines, eBooks, you name it, and your tablet can hold it. So set aside some time to download a stack of media to keep yourself entertained while you’re away. Don’t forget other apps, such as language-learning ones, games and brainteasers such as Sudoku too.

Let it guide you

There’s no need to lug around a guidebook for every destination to which you’re visiting. Instead, download them to your device, email them to yourself or bookmark web pages for offline use. This also allows you to have a wider range of resources on hand, rather than stalking every tourist and their Lonely Planet guide.

Carry it with you

One thing about travel companions, is that things don’t generally end well when you get separated. The same goes for your tablet. Make sure you keep tabs on it at all times and have a safe place in your day bag to carry it around securely.

I’d highly recommend setting up a security passcode, even if it’s only for the time you’re away, so that if your tablet does fall into the wrong hands, your personal information isn’t instantly accessible. If your tablet has a sim, it’s also worth seeing if you can set up security tracking, which is similar to Find my iPhone, in case the worst happens.

Do you travel with a tablet? How do you set it up before you head off on holidays?


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    A regular travel contributor to YLC, SJ’s plane essentials include noise-cancelling headphones, a solid Spotify playlist, sleeping tablets, an eyemask and a large scarf that doubles as a blanket on cold flights – i.e. every one.





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