First, before leaving home, I downloaded several books to read on the airplane. That alone saved space and weight in my carry-on bag. Then, once I was on the road, I wrote short observations in the "Notes" App about the pluses and minuses of choosing to travel with the iPad instead of the laptop.
- No need to take the iPad out of my bag or turn it on in order to pass through the airport security line;
- It weighs less than even a MacBook Air;
- It worked smoothly with the wi-fi available at the airport and in the airline club;
- It was a conversation starter both at the airport and on the plane -- people wanted to know what it was and/or whether I liked using it (the last question came mostly from men squinting at their Blackberries or iPhones and reading e-mail);
- I could multitask and listen to music while reading my electronic books without needing to be connected to another device;
- The battery lasts a lot longer than a laptop battery;
- I had downloaded the GoodReader App and was easily able to review docs in various formats on the iPad.
- Many hotels do not have wi-fi in their rooms. At the hotel where I stayed, even the wi-fi in the lobby was weak. So, I still needed to use my iPhone to pick up e-mail and download data;
- If I had needed to write anything of length, it would have been difficult. I was not traveling with a Bluetooth enabled keyboard and do not like writing long pieces using the iPad virtual keyboard.
Overall, I did not miss my laptop although I would not leave it behind on any longer trips or on trips during which I would need to write a lot. The question outstanding: would I take both the iPad and laptop with me? It remains to be seen.