When I travel, I tend to read. A lot. And with a trip coming up with several really long flights, I decided to break down and give the Kindle paperwhite a shot instead of lugging around half a dozen books. So, here is my honest review of the Kindle Paperwhite and why it is the perfect e-reader for travel.
Why to consider getting a Kindle for travel
If you are like me and love to read, but also love to travel, weight is the biggest reason for adding a Kindle Paperwhite to your packing list. There is just no comparison to packing 4-6 books (how much I typically read on a vacation that involves flying and pool time) versus the Kindle. And, although I really love reading actual books, I love packing light just a little bit more.
Although there are other e-readers out there, for functionality, price, and accessibility of books, the Kindle is your best option. Just the diversity of books available on Amazon (and the ease of accessing them) alone is reason enough to select a Kindle versus another e-reader.
So, if you do a lot of traveling, and a lot of reading, you should definitely consider the Kindle Paperwhite.
The Kindle Paperwhite features I love
First and foremost, the size and weight. I was absolutely shocked when I opened my Amazon package at how small and lightweight this e-reader is. It weighs practically NOTHING! Not even the weight of ONE book I’d typically pack – even a paperback! So, this is a HUGE benefit if, like me, you want to pack light and/or enjoy doing only carry-on luggage. I’m estimating saving several pounds and easily enough space for two more pairs of shoes (if I were to pack more shoes, which is unlikely!).
Insider tip: I have several of these affordable and pretty cases in different patterns for my Kindle Paperwhite. I don’t have to worry about it being damaged and it’s easy to spot in my carry-on. Even better, there is enough room in them to stash my phone, earbuds, and glasses so I can just have this one item in my hands when I board the plane or head to the pool!
The ability to read in any light is a key feature for me. If I’m on vacation, odds are good I’ll be reading by the pool for at least one day. I own an older Kindle Fire and quit traveling with it because I found myself still packing books so that I’d be able to read outside at the pool or on the beach. There was just too much glare to enable me to enjoy it. The Kindle Paperwhite is just as easy to read outside in the sunshine as it is on the plane. So, two thumbs up for readability.
Speaking of readability, the Kindle Paperwhite does feel more like reading an actual book than its counterpart the Kindle Fire. The white background and print type feel booklike. It’s definitely not the same as holding a real book in your hand, but it is easier on your eyes than a normal computer screen or phone.
The ease of finding books I’d like to read on Amazon is another Kindle Paperwhite feature I really like. I read quickly, and so I typically would pack more books than I thought I would need so I wouldn’t run out. So, it was always a fine balance between enough books and that dreaded weight. With the Kindle Paperwhite, I can download WAY more books than I could ever read on one trip and not add a bit of extra weight. And Amazon definitely has plenty of books to choose from!
Insider tip: If you already have a Kindle Paperwhite or other Kindle e-reader, check out the offers for Kindle Unlimited – they often run 3-month free sales, so you can probably pick it up too!
The Kindle Paperwhite features I don’t love
Lest you think the Kindle Paperwhite is perfect, don’t be fooled. There are a few things I just don’t love about it – although not enough to make me unhappy with my purchase.
Although it is easy to read with the Kindle Paperwhite, it’s not the same as holding a real book in your hand. The visceral experience is just not as good in my view. So, although I will use this often when traveling, I will stick to my beloved library and bookstore books for at-home reading.
In addition to a different feel, I find it challenging to go back and re-read or check sections of the book once I’ve passed them. As I often read thrillers, I do like to be able to flip back and re-read a section of the story that was a precursor or just to remind myself of how certain characters fit into the story. For this type of experience, an actual book is just much simpler.
I find accessing my books in the library to be a bit clunky. And, once I’ve finished a book, I really wish it would just disappear instead of staying in the library. It makes for a very full library very quickly until I get a chance to log onto Amazon and remove them.
The Kindle Paperwhite isn’t cheap. So, it was a bit of an indulgence to purchase it, but I was able to justify it for the number of trips we have in the next few months.
Insider tip: If you aren’t in a rush, Amazon often runs special pricing on Kindles for Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and/or the week before Christmas.
The final thing I don’t love about the Kindle Paperwhite is that it works much better to download the books before you leave home. I discovered on a trial run (just a quick hotel overnight) that I couldn’t access the books that were in my library but hadn’t been downloaded without accessing wireless. And, because the Kindle Paperwhite is an e-reader and not a tablet, I wasn’t able to connect to the hotel wireless as it wouldn’t open up the log-in page for me. Now that I know I have to do this it’s fine, but it IS another step I have to take before leaving on vacation. On my recent long trip, I was able to log in at one of the hotels but not all of them, so it’s definitely better to download before you leave.
My final thoughts on the Kindle Paperwhite for Travel
If you’ve gotten through this Kindle Paperwhite review, hopefully, it’s helped you decide if it’s the right product for you. Now that I’ve been using it for a while, I can’t imagine traveling without it ever again. Unless maybe I’m driving and weight and space aren’t issues. I know I’m a little late to the bandwagon, but I am quite happy with my purchase, and will actually consider picking one up for a gift the next time I need a gift for an avid reader like me!
PIN FOR LATER: