Subject: Traveling with the Kindle Keyboard with 3G, with cover
(from Jim, not Onalee)
I bought a Kindle about a month before our recent trip to Spain/Portugal. The purpose was to eliminate the weight of several paper travel guides and have easy to access to e-mail.
The Kindle met my objectives very well, and yielded some additional bonuses.
Before the trip I loaded the Rick Steves Spain guide and a couple of MobileReference guides. I discovered Kindle has apps, so I loaded in a sadoku game, a simple word game, a note pad app, and a calculator app. I also bookmarked some mobile travel sights, like Frommers, and I loaded in the .pdf file of the GCT travel guide and used Kindle’s conversion service to convert the trip itinerary into a .pdf file. I made up a Things to See list in WordPerfect, saved it as a .pdf file and stored that on the Kindle. Throw in a few "free reading" items, and I was just about set. I did have an audio book on the Kindle, but didn’t have time to use it. The morning of departure, I downloaded the daily newspaper to read on the plane. Whew!
The Rick Steves book was formatted for the Kindle and it worked well, as did the MobileReferences. Steves’ guides often have simple black and white maps, and that’s great for the Kindle which does not do color and photos very well. Steves also has a side trip to Tangier and a little bit about Bilbao, both of which were part of our tour. The Kindle traveled well in my jacket pocket or day bag, so I could refer to it while on the move. The Kindle worked fine in bright light, unlike the lcd screens on my camera and GPS.
E-mail worked ok. The mini-keyboard is a nuisance, but its better than on-screen keyboards. I used Wi-Fi in one hotel, but in others it wouldn’t connect. That mirrors my experience on past trips. The 3G feature did work, however, and I was able to access mail using 3G. I even checked the status of a threatened Iberia pilot’s strike via Google using 3G on the tour bus traveling through the boonies of Spain. While sitting in the Madrid airport, I downloaded a newspaper for the return flight. The calculator did service for conversions and customs lists. The notepad got zero use. The games were nice to have on the airplane. I had to charge the Kindle once or twice in the eighteen day trip(you just need a plug adapter). Paper maps? Get them at the hotel desk.
That’s it. The Kindle was compact, versatile, high value contributor to our trip enjoyment. I highly recommend it to travelers.