There’s a great article up at the New York Times about selecting the right gadgets for traveling. NYT Author Sam Grobart recommends several devices, including a laptop, a pair of headphones and various cords and cables. He also suggests travelers chose a certain type of smartphone:
“You need a smartphone, of course. But you need one that has a certain feature: wireless tethering (also called mobile hot spot). That way, your phone can act as a wireless modem for your laptop, avoiding the need for a USB dongle or an external wireless hot spot device like a MiFi. That’s one less thing you have to carry.”
I agree that it’s nice to have a hotspot-capable smartphone in tow (like the iPhone), but I don’t feel it’s necessary, at least while traveling domestically. Secure, public Wi-Fi is easy enough to find in the US, and you certainly don’t want to use smartphone data for Wi-Fi while traveling internationally. Plus, tethering is an added expense.
It’s more convenient to use your phone (Android or iOS device) as a hotspot, but I’d rather seek out Wi-Fi for when I absolutely must use my laptop.