Unless you are unspeakable wealthy, traveling involves a lot of downtime. You get to the airport the TSA-recommended two hours before your scheduled departure only to find that you breezed through check-in and security in 20 minutes, leaving you with almost two hours to kill before your flight leaves. Once you are on your plane, you sit (what is taking so long?) and sit waiting to take off. Finally, you are in the air and you have hours to yourself (but not really, because you are in coach and you are in the middle of a five-seat row) before you arrive. And when you get to your destination at last, you take the one-hour train or bus ride to the city center where your hotel is.
Downtime is necessary when travelling – it gives you time to plan your next excursion, recharge your batteries (literally and figuratively) and reflect on what you have done so far. An excess, though, can be annoying, so make sure you bring plenty of activities to keep yourself (and your travel companion) sane. Books, crossword puzzles, journal, and an iPod are travel essentials, but if you are lucky enough to have an iPad, then the world (ok, the time that is not within 15 minutes of take-off or landing) is your oyster. Download a movie and some books to it for those long hours of sitting and waiting. eBooks are cheaper than the printed edition, they are lighter and they can’t be lost (your iPad can, however, so keep an eye on it at all times). If you are a voracious reader, this can really save space in your luggage, allowing you to pack light and carry-on. Downsides to ebooks are: you do not have anything physical to own (and show off in your home library), they cannot be used all of the time when flying and they require battery power to work, so for the one-paperback-per-trip traveller, downloading an ebook is probably not necessary.
In addition to ebooks, download a movie or two. Airlines offer an extensive movie selection nowadays, so you probably won’t be draining your iPad’s battery in flight, but a movie can be handy when you get to your destination. Now, I know you did not travel just to watch TV. You can watch those things any old place, but there are select times when having something to watch can be handy. If you are sick and just want to rest for a bit so you can enjoy yourself later, if the weather is so bad you don’t want to leave the hotel or if you are buzzed from your night out and aren’t quite ready for bed-these are all plausible times to watch something without really cutting into your itinerary.
Take the time to log onto the iTunes store before you leave to download some books and a movie. Remember to bring your charger!
If you are bringing an iPad, having some extra activities along never hurt anyone.