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Last week I took a business trip to Asia and of course I took my iPad WiFi+3G 64GB with me. Since this was a business trip and my job involves doing software demonstrations, I also took my MacBook Pro. I planed to use the iPad primarily for travel and in-flight entertainment. 


Entertainment on the long flights

The week before I left on my trip I decided not to watch any of my favorite TV shows that week. Instead I wanted to save them to watch on the long haul flights. So I TiVo'd them as usual on my TiVo HD and then using Toast 10 Titanium Pro I transferred them to my iMac and then converted them from the .tivo files into .MP4 files to be loaded onto the iPad. This worked great and I had several hours of entertainment to last me all the way to Singapore. Although I had games on the iPad, I wasn't in the mood to play any. Instead I just watched TV show after TV show or slept (ok, tried to sleep). I can't really comment on battery life because I had power at my seat on each flight. So there was never a need to run on battery. Since I'm not into books I didn't download any and even if I wanted to, the iBookstore is very lacking in titles at the moment. Every book that I have searched for that I would consider buying isn't available yet. So even if I wanted an eBook I would have to do it via the Kindle App.


Which Case Did I Go With?

Although I bought the Apple iPad Case first, I wasn't thrilled with it. So I was still searching for the ultimate iPad case. The one that I bought for this trip was the Convertible Book Jacket by InCase. I don't know that I would call it the ultimate case yet.  It's a little thicker than I like, but I like it over the Apple case because it has more viewing angles and it's much easier to get the iPad in and out of.


Internet Connectivity in Asia

My trip took me to Singapore and Mumbai India. Although Singpore has a very good 3G network, I was not willing to sign up for an AT&T international roaming plan. At least not at the rates AT&T charges.

So I kept the iPad in "Airplane Mode" the whole time. Even though Airplane Mode disables both the 3G, Bluetooth and WiFi transmitters you can go back into the Preferences and turn WiFi and Bluetooth back on. So while I was in my hotel rooms I used WiFi any time that I wanted to get on the internet via my iPad, MacBook Pro or iPhone. Although many hotels offer in room WiFi, I actually prefer to use the in room Ethernet connection if there is one, so that I can use my Airport Express base station. This way I only pay for ONE connection and can surf from any one of the 3 devices. Even if I had paid for the International Roaming Plan, I would have been screwed in Mumbai. I quickly found out that Mumbai doesn't have a 3G network yet. They just have EDGE. So I would have paid to roam and not had the benefit of 3G speeds. However, no problem again using the Ethernet connection in my room with the AirPort Express.


Power and Charging

I brought the iPad 10W Wall Charger along and since I already owned the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit I had the necessary adapters for both Singapore and Mumbai to plug right into the wall. This way I wouldn't have to depend on the USB ports on my MacBook Pro for charging and could leave the iPad charging in my room while I was out with the laptop.


Entertainment for the Trip Home

Since I had pretty much watched all of the previous week's TV shows on the way over, I wanted a few shows to watch on the way back. The easiest thing to do was to buy the episodes that I missed last week via iTunes right on the iPad itself. Although iTunes sells both HD and Standard Def versions of my favorite shows, I see NO ADVANTAGE in buying the HD versions for the iPad. They are bigger and therefore take up more space and longer to download and visually I can't see much if any difference when viewing them on the iPad itself. So I bought the cheaper Standard Def versions instead and all was well.


The Bottom Line

The iPad more than exceeded my expectations as a great travel companion. The big beautiful display was a joy to use on the plane. Having tons of content also makes those 14-21 hour flights go by just a little easier.

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13 Responses to Traveling Internationally with the iPad

  1. Calvin says:


    “This way I wouldn’t have to depend on the USB ports on my MacBook Pro for charging and could leave the iPad charging in my room while I was out with the laptop.”

    Generally when I travel, I never leave my electronic devices unattended. Am I being over cautious? I noticed you said you left your iPad charging in your room while out with the MacBook.

  2. Terry White says:

    I don’t worry about it as much once the room has been cleaned and I’ve put the “do not disturb” sign up.

  3. Brian says:

    Does the airport express need to be configured once you attach it to the hotel’s wired network and if so, can it be configured via the iPad?

    • Terry White says:

      It has to be configured ONCE and from that point you should be able to plug it into any hotel going forward. There is no AirPort Utility for the iPad. So you’d have to use your computer to configure it the first time.

  4. Brian says:

    Good to know. I traveled to Tokyo last year with my iPod touch and I had a hard time finding free wireless. My hotel room only offered wired internet. Next time I might just have to give the airport express a try.


  5. Donna says:

    About configuring Airport Express: I had mine tested (and re-configured,I assume) at an Apple store recently because I thought it was nor working. It tested out A-OK. Does that mean I could use it anywhere in the world now without any re-configuring, assuming I have the correct international plug adapter?

    • Terry White says:

      yes as long as it’s using a standard DHCP or Bridge configuration. I take my AE all over the world and use it in any hotel I’m staying in without issue.

  6. Mike Lao says:

    The AE is a great device for traveling! I always bring mine when I travel. Using a 16GB iPad now but I might just get the 32GB 3G one when I go to the states next month!

  7. Gale Kane says:

    Your 17 May article is very helpful. The APE is great suggestion. Now I am trying to figure out an appropriate airplane adapter. Apple says the Mag Safe won’t do. I’m looking at a 15h flight and could use an adapter.

    • Terry White says:

      I have not seen any airline adapters for the iPad. So if your flight doesn’t have a standard outlet, your only option is to go with an external battery like those available from

  8. TC says:

    Hi Terry,

    You said “So I kept the iPad in “Airplane Mode” the whole time. Even though Airplane Mode disables both the 3G, Bluetooth and WiFi transmitters you can go back into the Preferences and turn WiFi and Bluetooth back on.

    Do the iPad remain in “Airplane Mode” all the time (so no AT&T change) while you can now use WiFi & Bluetooth? Also, the charge you mentioned is for Hotel to provide WiFi or Ethernet line?

  9. Ryokan says:

    I read that if you walk into an Apple store or the local provider for the iPad G3 service in the country you are visiting you can pickup a micro sim card. Replace the AT&T micro-sim card then play local cellular rates with a pay as you go plan. Do an Internet search for more details. That will save you from the AT&T gouging.

    I do like the post. Well done. Nice blog to.