Using a Kindle Touch While Traveling

March 28, 2012

I finally jumped on the Kindle bandwagon! My new Kindle Touch — a holiday gift from the fam — accompanied me on my trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica last month.

While I’m thrilled to integrate this gadget into my reading life, it does have a few drawbacks specific to travel.

So here’s my take on using a Kindle while traveling:

kindle touch


Lightweight. This is AWESOME for backpackers. Books are usually one of the heaviest items in my pack, and it was so great to not carry that weight, especially since I was moving from hostel to hostel as I worked my way from Nicaragua’s Managua to Costa Rica’s San Jose. I’d bring a Kindle on my next trip for this reason alone. So convenient!

Immediate access to books. The ability to get a book whenever I wanted it — or even a sample of a book I was considering purchasing — felt so… easy.

Without the Kindle, I would’ve swapped my last read for whatever I could find in my hostel or waited until my next trip through an airport to buy a new release. I’ll miss that part of reading hard-copy books while traveling, miss the adventure and spontaneity of trying to find a decent read. But being able to download ANY BOOK I WANT almost makes up for it.

Battery life is great. I worried about this because I often travel in places that don’t have electricity. But I rarely had to plug in the device, and I never found myself without battery power when I wanted it.


Navigating a virtual guidebook. I missed the ease of browsing my Lonely Planet guide for hostels or attractions. On the bus, for example, I like to pull out my guide and flip to a dog-eared page. If I don’t speak the language, I might even show that page to the driver so he’d drop me at the right place. But it’s not as fast to flip to a page on a Kindle.

Reading on public transport. It’s uncomfortable and even rude to use an expensive, high-tech gadget on public transportation in a developing country. It just didn’t feel right, ya know? That meant I read less while on buses than I might have otherwise.

Learning curve. I have yet to learn how to do anything on the Kindle beyond the basics; for example, I need to figure out how to bookmark a page if I’m going to convince myself to read on this gadget long term. Like any new tool, it takes a while to learn how to use it, and it can be frustrating until you do.

My consensus

For future trips, I’ll use the Kindle for everything EXCEPT guidebooks. I’ll carry an old-school guide, and read electronically for all the rest.

Have you used the Kindle while traveling? Would you recommend it to others?

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    5 Replies to “Using a Kindle Touch While Traveling”

    • Linda Gartz says:

      I have a Nook color, which I bought a year ago because I could get access to internet and email without the price of an Ipad. I still prefer to read paper books—but love the Nook for travel. I read in previous posts about downloading Android to get more ipad type function. I’ll look into it. I agree its the way to go when traveling (though you can’t download books from B&N out of US -so plan a little and download before leaving. I also prefer a dog-eared guidebook and understand your discomfort reading a high tech device in a poor country.

    • Paula says:

      I have the Kindle Fire and I love it! Having immediate access to books is great, but I have to careful to not go crazy and buy a bunch of books at once. It’s easy to forget that your actually spending money and go overboard! lol

      If the Touch is like the Fire, all you have to do to bookmark a page it tap the top right corner.

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