Tools And Tricks For The Mobile Apple User

Traveling never gets easier. Whether you’re a frequent driver around your own city or a jet setter, being constantly mobile can certainly take its toll on your psyche, your health and, worst of all for those of us addicted to getting things done, our productivity. While many airports and coffee shops offer free WiFi, connectivity alone isn’t always enough.

I fly about once every 4-6 weeks and leave the house to work 1-3 days per week. Most of my time is spent with my laptop plugged in to an external monitor (giving me two, as I don’t use an external keyboard or mouse) with power plugged in as well. I’ve found that buying just a few things, and paying close attention to the condition of my equipment, can go a long way.

Extra cords
I ALWAYS carry around a spare charger and iPhone dock connector, along with mini DisplayPort to VGA and DVI connectors. These leave my bag only to be used while mobile, as I’ve found that the likelihood of me forgetting something goes way up if I take it out of my bag. I was very hesitant to “waste” money on extra stuff, but the $150ish was well worth it.

USB car charger
Belkin offers a little USB car charger that plugs into my car’s lighter socket, allowing me to charge my phone whenever I’m in the car. Because I often make calls while driving, this ensures I’ll always have a charged phone no matter how long I’m away from a power source. It also works with cameras, Flips or Zi8s or iPods. Very handy and very small.

Screen Cleaner
iKlear offers wet and dry travel singles perfect for cleaning screens or sunglasses. An errant sneeze, smudge from someone’s damn fingers or greasy keys makes laptop screens both hard to read and gross to look at, but iKlear’s products making taking care of that a snap.

Charge your laptop at every opportunity
If it’s not a huge hassle, plug your laptop in while using it. If your bag is going to sit a while, consider charging your laptop while it sits there. If you’re not using it, shut the screen. While battery management is nowhere near as ridiculous as it used to be, every minute counts when you’re on the road. I’ll never understand why some people don’t bother with this.

Tether, MiFi or…hope?
I’m pretty cheap, so I haven’t taken the plunge into the MiFi or tethering market, but from what I see looking around many coffee shops and airport lounges, I’m quickly becoming one of the few to not hop on board. I often see people using MiFi units when WiFi is available, and I can only assume they are either super paranoid or use it for super-secure VPN access. But for around $50/month, it’s almost worth it.

Do you travel a lot? What tools or tricks do you employ?