(Note: this article is not directly applicable to iOS users, but feel free to get ideas for exploring on iOS)
For the first time ever, i can forgo bringing a laptop on my upcoming trip. What held me back before was the inability of my tablet to be used for moving photos from the camera SD card to another larger storage. I use a Nexus 7 2013 which comes with no SD card slot. I suppose if you are on a short trip, you don’t even need to move the photos at all, especially if you have a large capacity SD card. I will be on a 5 weeks trip, so i had better be prepared.
The solution to my problem consists of an OTG adapter coupled with a USB SD card reader and the app Nexus USB OTG File Manager. This app can read AND write to a FAT32 SD card (does not require rooting but only works on a Nexus device), which is compatible with my Nikon camera.
My Nexus tablet also functions as my GPS navigation device. The size of the device (7 inches) is just right, anything bigger would obstruct the view from the car. A 7 inch tablet can actually be stuffed into the pocket of my pants (though not very comfortable for long durations), so it is useful for those times when i need to make frequent reference to itinerary details. And of course, i also use the tablet for casual internet browsing and messaging.
Another important function that my tablet fulfills is translation. This is available for free with the offline translation mode of the Google Translate app. For languages that use latin-based characters (which covers most of Europe), you will be able to do translation in both ways since keyboard input does not present a problem. Otherwise (East Asian languages for example), you might have to contend with having only one way translation (i.e. from English to the other language), which is still better than nothing. I have actually tried using an OCR app to try to decipher random Japanese characters, but the recognition rate is practically zero.
For the first time ever, i intend to do travel blogging while on a trip. This would be quite strenuous if i had to use the on-screen keyboard to type an article. The OTG adapter comes to my rescue once again. I can plug in a real physical keyboard and a mouse to the tablet at the same time, through a USB hub (pictured above). Now, that’s quite comfy for blogging on the go. I sourced the Acer KU-0906 keyboard from taobao.com for a grand total of RMB 51 (S$11.20). You might be thinking, why not use Bluetooth keyboard/mouse? USB is better than Bluetooth because it will have minimal drain on your tablet battery. Besides, you won’t have an extra set of batteries (for the keyboard/mouse) to worry about.
The total weight of the full setup in the picture above comes in at 970g. That is probably equal or less than the weight of an ultrabook laptop, which cannot be used for GPS navigation nor for on-the-go referencing of information. I’m so happy i don’t have to bear the extra weight of a laptop on future trips anymore.