Hi all, I have been traveling a lot these days and I wanted to share some thoughts on what makes the best monitor setup for the road, both what you can take with you, and what you can do when you’re in a hotel room or AirBnB to make yourself more productive!
Putting it out there
I’ll just say it now, I am a complete devotee of 2 or more monitors. There, it’s out of the bag, I can’t stand just a single monitor, and especially not if I have more than one thing to refer to, and with email as a primary distraction, and instant messaging for the team as another, where’s a guy or gal going to get some writing done? On a second or third monitor, that’s where!
Option # 1
Use the Hotel/Residence’s big-screen TV! Almost every single place I have ever stayed in the last decade has had one (sometimes two! Hello JW Marriott in Malaysia!) screens that accept HDMI or DVI input sitting in the room, just waiting to be used.
Key items to take with you, a 25′ HDMI cable, or a screen-sharing device such as an Apple TV (for us OS X-desktop folks), a Google Chromecast or anything else that helps you project to the TV.
I personally depend heavily on the 25′ HDMI cable and a couple of right-angle adapters, since I can’t always get more than one device on the room/hotel’s wireless setup reliably, or without additional cost.
Option # 2
Tether your Tablet! There are a number of possible options for tethering your tablet to your laptop, including Air Display 3, iDisplay and many others. I have found these to be nice, but not as reliable as I would have liked. Having a 9.7″ iPad Pro as my second monitor is helpful, but I can’t do much more than watch a video on it, or maybe put my email on it, but at the first sign of lagging, I am done with this option.
Note: This is much better as an option that it used to be, you can use your 12.9″ iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil now!
Option # 3
Buy a suitably-sized screen that’s good for traveling and carry it with you! The options for this have gotten markedly better in the last year or two, with a number of travel monitors that have very cool features coming out, and with a number of them below $200, it really becomes an option for the tech-savvy Road Warrior.