Traveling Overseas with Apple Tech: Thoughts

Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

The truth is, I took some much needed time away from all things cartooning and work related. We recently completed a family vacation in Italy, spending 11 days touring the best of what Rome, Florence, San Gimignano, Bologna, and Venice have to offer. This trip has been a long, long time coming. Suffice to say, Italy is incredible – photos simply don’t do it justice.

And, of course, to capture those priceless memories from our travels, we brought our Apple gear with us. What follows are some observations and tech tips I gleaned while on our trip. To provide some context, my last trip overseas was in 2009, when Aarti, Sonia and I visited her family in India. For that trip, I brought my (now defunct) 2008 Macbook Pro and a Canon A260 digital camera. Of course, a lot has changed since then.

This time around, we brought:

Aarti’s iPhone 6 (16GB)
my iPhone 5 (16GB)
our iPad Mini Retina (32GB)
my 13″ Retina Macbook Pro (mid-2014 model)

In addition to the gear, we also brought:

2 USB to Lightning cables
1 Power adapter (iPad)
1 Power adapter (Macbook Pro)
3 U.S. to Italy power adapters

Having the iPhones was super convenient for our trip. Traveling between airports, we took advantage of various free charging stations. We flew with United Airlines. Our seats had USB charging stations for each seat, allowing us to keep our iPhone batteries topped up.

The Macbook Pro had one primary purpose: to serve as a storage unit to capture our photos. I’m sure there’s a better way, but this approach worked well for me. Photos were downloaded onto the Macbook Pro each night to keep our iPhones clear for the next day’s adventures. (We don’t use iCloud, because I don’t trust it.)

Initially, our iPhones simply couldn’t stay charged beyond 6 hours. After some investigation into Settings > Battery Usage (iOS8), I found the culprit: The cellular connection. Since we don’t have SIM cards for our phones, I kept the phones on Airplane mode to keep the devices from constantly trying to ping a cell tower. Initially, I thought Airplane mode would prevent me from using Wi-Fi. As it turns out, that’s not the case. You *can* activate and use Wi-Fi with Airplane mode on. To maximize our iPhones’ battery life, I followed nearly all of the tips Osas Obaiza recommended in his blog post.

Once we did this, our iPhones rarely dipped below 70 percent after a day’s worth of taking photos.

Surprisingly, throughout our trip – it was pretty easy to stay connected. The conducted tour we were on offered free Wi-Fi access on the coach. And free Wi-Fi was also available in the three hotels we stayed in. But we were rarely using our iPhones for anything besides capturing the beautiful surroundings around us. And on that note, here are a few select photos from our trip. Ciao!












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