On Thursday last week, I took a short trip to New York City to meet an important customer.  Because of my older daughter's summer schedule, I try to stay home at least every other week during these months, but sometimes, duty calls.  I took the 6 AM flight out from Chicago to LaGuardia, booked a car to meet me there on limores.net (who use technology very, very well to manage your trip, for about the same cost as a taxi), and was at Ground Zero, near my client's office, well before the meeting.  Afterwards, I grabbed a banh mi sandwich from Baoguette, hailed a taxi, and was back at LaGuardia by 1:15 PM for a 2:45 PM return flight to Chicago.  In other words, the glamorous business traveler's typical day.

What made Thursday different from all my previous travel is that I only brought my iPad and Blackberry Bold along on the trip.  No laptop, no briefcase, no mound-o-unnecessary cables.  Going through airport security and moving about NYC was a breeze, since I only needed to carry one item -- the iPad in its professional-looking leather case.  Since business in New York usually means a suit or at least a blazer, I had turned my jacket into a utility belt.  In one pocket were my car keys, business cards, and Blackberry, while in another were earbuds, the video out cable for the iPad (in case I had needed to project a presentation), and my reading glasses.

During the day, I used the iPad constantly.  In flight, I read a book on Kindle, listened to music, and played Bejeweled Blitz and Words with Friends.  When we were delayed an hour departing out of LaGuardia (what else is new), I turned on the 3G (constantly useful during this trip) and read the New York Times.  Email?  Yep, coming in on my Blackberry too and easiest to read there, but a lot faster to pound out some key responses on the iPad (sorry, RIM friends).  If I had needed a presentation with the customer, I had it ready on Dropbox, and a program called Presenter would have allowed me to project out VGA.  I even used FourSquare to find out if the banh mi place was any good.

I can't tell you how liberating it was to breeze through the airport with one folio in hand, and how I laughed when the car service driver asked "got any luggage?"  Now, if I need to do product demos, I'll need the laptop; for a longer trip, I'll want Skype with video to be able to see my baby daugther; and picture uploading and editing are obviously the realm of the MacBook.  But the next day trip?  I'll be flying through with iPad.  Another #win for Apple.

Two updates: 1) Forgot the new American Airlines app for iPhone/iPad was also a huge help, using an electronic boarding pass and check-in in a single click from the device rather than all the blah blah blah with printed boarding passes.  2) At the end of the day when I arrived home, the iPad battery still had 40% left.

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