When I travel, I generally have two books: A guidebook and a reading book. The former is handy to help orientate myself to new surroundings and is helpful when trying to plan routes or get from one place to another. The latter is great because it’s my best opportunity to read more than normal and it helps to wile away hours travelling on trains, buses, planes, and boats.
Like many people I know, I love reading books and never entertained the idea of electronic versions… until last year. I had decided to try travelling with just hand luggage and, because of the size restrictions, that meant I had to be very selective and take only the items I really needed. That’s when I had to think differently about the type of books I was going to take with me and started looking at electronic alternatives.
There were quite a few to choose from and I wasn’t sure which one to pick because they were all small and lightweight. After spending time comparing them, I decided to go for a Kindle Keyboard because it had free 3G and a mini keyboard. I had no idea if I would ever use the 3G but thought it might come in handy for downloading books if I didn’t have a WiFi connection. As it turns out, I am really pleased with my purchase because it has so many benefits when I travel.
The benefits of taking an e-reader travelling:
It takes up minimal space in my luggage and is very lightweight.
It’s so easy to read wherever I am, whether I’m standing in a queue waiting to board a plane or sitting on a train.
The e-ink display means I can read to my heart’s content without straining my eyes.
Because my kindle has free 3G, I can (and do) use it to download books wherever I am. I tend to forget to buy books before I leave so I have been able to do that on the train to the airport. Not only that but I recently used the kindle’s free 3G technology to check and send emails and update my social media sites when I had all but given up on getting access to the Internet without being in an Internet cafe. It might be slow and have limited functionality but it’s better than nothing – believe me!
When I finish a book, I can begin a new one straightaway because it holds up to 3,500 books and, as previously mentioned, it’s so quick and easy to purchase new books thanks to free 3G and wireless technology. In addition, it’s possible to have any number of guidebooks on it as well as reading books without having to worry about the extra weight and space. This would have been great when I was travelling around the world for a year. There were plenty of times when I had to carry around a book I had finished reading until I could get another.
It’s not just for books. There is the option to download PDF documents, articles, blogs, magazines, and audio books.
The battery life on my kindle is great. It uses up a lot of juice when the WiFi is enabled so it’s important to disable it when you don’t need it.
‘Real’ books vs electronic versions
I have friends who wouldn’t entertain the idea of using an e-reader because they like the smell, touch, and feel of a ‘real’ book in their hands. I was the same and still am to a certain extent. I can’t imagine never buying or reading another ‘real’ book again. However, e-readers are far more practical when travelling so I will continue to use both, depending on the situation.
At the time of writing, the Kindle Keyboard with free 3G was not available via Amazon. It might be because it has been superseded by the Kindle Paperwhite 3G version. There are so many different ways to read books now that you have a lot more choice than just one product. It’s worth taking the time to think about what you might need it to do, such as have wireless technology.
Have your say
What’s your opinion and experience of using e-readers? Let us know by commenting in the section below.