I went to the monthly meeting of the Bay Area Travel Writers this afternoon. It’s an interesting, friendly group made up mostly of writers but a few photographers. The main event was a 2 hour presentation by John Jerney about useful sites on the Internet. It was a whirlwind of webtools, proving that you really could run an entire business from a web browser if you wanted to. Travel writers and photogs have a great dilemma when it comes to mobile technology: To take a laptop with on the road and be burdened down by the size/weight of that, or to rely on “the Internet cloud” to store all your data for you and be at the mercy of Internet cafes, hotel access, etc. John showed how a travel writer could use a suite of online tools (mostly Google based) to plan a trip, research destinations along the way, write about the trip while on the road, and maintain all the normal business contacts, all without having to carry any of your own data with you.
Photographers are a bit of a special case because we inherently deal with more data than writers do, and it would be really impossible to do any meaningful photo work without carrying a laptop along the way. We didn’t take a laptop on our trips to Vietnam or Jamaica, but I’m pretty sure we’ll take a laptop on the next trip.