Top 5 Reasons Why an iPad Rocks for Travel

I did it. I got on a plane and flew far away leaving my laptop at home. For eight days I was totally laptopless.

Instead, I had a 3G iPad with a Camera Connection Kit. A week later, I had shot more than 600 photos, posted to Flickr, and managed to refresh the blog. And truth be told, I never felt better.

iPad Editing with Photogene Editing a photo on the iPad using Photogene.

Here are my top 5 reasons why an iPad is more fun for vacation:

  1. Great for Flying. TSA does not consider an iPad a computer. So you don't have to take it out of your backpack when going through airport security. Sweet. Plus, once I'm on the plane, I can actually use the iPad, even in economy seating.
  2. Less Weight. My MacBook Pro weighs over 6 pounds. The iPad is tips the scale at 1.5.
  3. Easier Internet. The hotel wanted $15 a night for an Internet cable. Plus, I'd still have to bring my AirPort Express to create a WiFi network. I said no to both. I used my 3G connectivity with no drama. It costs me $15 a month for 250 MBs of data. I used 170 MBs during the week at the hotel. In other words, one week of Internet for the price of one day.
  4. No Unnecessary Accessories. I used the Camera Connection Kit, power adapter, and two cords. That was it. Their total weight is less than the power adapter for the MacBook Pro.
  5. Great Software. For photo editing, I tapped the power of Photogene and TiltShiftGen. Wonderful. For navigation, Maps works great. Plus, the iPad is so light you can take it anywhere, yet has GPS and Internet connectivity. I never had a problem finding where I wanted to go or how to get there.

So if the main goal of your trip is to have fun, and not work, then I highly recommend the iPad. Together, we had a great time.

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Hi Derrick,
Have you tried Filterstorm yet? Fab photo development program. Has masks, IPTC etc, supports large file exports. Well worth a look.

Hi Sean. Thanks for the tip! I have not tried Filterstorm yet, but I will now :)

I just did the same for three days and it hurt like hell. Flickr's Organizr interface was unusable on the iPad, meaning any groups/tags needed to be added to each photo one at a time which was painfully slow. In addition, Photogene exported each photo as private, meaning I had to change the privacy on each item (which is something like a 5-tap process).

Did I miss some better way to do this?

Hi Aaron... yes, it could have been much easier for you.

For Flickr, I would explore some of the Flickr apps, such as FlickStackr. They work much better for me than using the browser interface.

As for the Photogene export, you can control the permissions on the Flickr side in your account settings. Just set up email address for the various ways you want your images uploaded to Flickr (private vs public for example). Then email images out of your photo apps. The subject line is the title, the text is the caption. You can even establish default tags if you want.

Once you get things set up right, publishing is a piece of cake.

Thanks Derrick, I hadn't thought to use the email feature of Flickr, instead I guess I was expecting that the export to Flickr feature of Photogene would be a bit more functional. I need to expand my thinking sometimes :)


I used my iPad for travel photography this summer. You can read my post here:



Well, Aaron, we all learn as we go. That's why sharing this type of information is so valuable. Many of my tips come from trial and error. I bet, with a few tweaks, you can improve your iPad workflow to a satisfactory level.

And Max, thanks for the link. Sounds like it was a fun trip.

I definitely second the motion to try Filterstorm. It's great. Also flickrstacker is a must for the iPad.

I find the TSA to be hit or miss in the security line. Prior to last week I left the iPad in my bag every time. Last week at the United terminal at LAX the security guy specifically called out the iPad as needing to come out of the bag. Best to be ready for the worst in the TSA line ;)

Thanks for the info Derrick.

This is slightly off topic, but I'm saddened we live in a society where we need to consider the reactions of the Transportation Security Agency in everyday decisions like what computing device to take on a flight.


Great post, always enjoy your site. Quick comment/question: this iPad travel photography system all sounds perfect, yet of course you can't edit RAW on the iPad (yet). How much did you miss it? I was surprised you didn't mention it, although perhaps you didn't because it might've seemed to be stating the obvious.


Well, Steve, I do shoot Raw with this workflow, and the iPad can read those files, as well as Photogene. But the idea here is not to spend hours on location image editing. I save that for home with Aperture and Photoshop.

The idea here is to think different when in a beautiful setting that you have limited time to enjoy. And that I did.

Glad you liked the post!

Hi Derrick,

It was an interesting post you wrote, and a good read.. as I'm a "new" iPad owner myself. I've thought about if I'm able to ditch the laptop (for shorter trips). Then I've come up with some questions/issues about this topic.

Do you have a backup strategy with this setup? Is the storage on an iPad enough for a huge bunch of raw files? How will the workflow be in order to get the raw files off the iPad and into Aperture 3?

Btw. I'll be taking my iPad for its first flight tomorrow, so it will be fun to see how the Norwegian security staff will treat an iPad (as it's not yet available in Norway).