Which tablet for travel IS best?

Tablets are incredibly convenient during travel. You can use it for light work such as responding to emails or IMs, or you can simply use it as a distraction for reading, drawing or watching movies. No matter how you’re traveling, a tablet can make the journey that much more entertaining.

If you’re looking for the best tablet for traveling, the 4th Generation iPad Air is the top choice. The iPad Air is the perfect combination of portability, capability, power and battery life. 

What to know before you buy a tablet for travel

A tablet is the midway point between a laptop and a smartphone

Tablets are great for traveling because they combine the power of a laptop with the portability of a large smartphone. In places like planes or buses, you may not want to pull out a heavy laptop with a keyboard, or you may want a bigger screen than your regular phone. Tablets are sized like a newspaper or a magazine, making them highly convenient and powerful. 

Tablets can multipurpose

Most people use tablets for reading books, watching movies or responding to their emails. But you can also use tablets these days for more niche and professional purposes, like editing a movie, drawing artwork or playing video games. The graphics and processing capabilities of tablets have advanced to the point that they are mini-supercomputers. 

Tablets are highly customizable 

Depending on the tablet you choose, you can customize it to your liking. That may mean upgrading the storage for more file space, changing the color or selecting a different screen size. The most popular and powerful customizations will likely drive up the price and capabilities of the tablet.

What to look for in a quality tablet for travel

Display resolution and size

When it comes to tablets, it’s all about screen size and resolution. How crystal clear do you want your graphics to be, and how much display real estate do you want? The clearer and larger the picture, the more expensive the tablet. It may be particularly worth it if you enjoy movies or video games.


Travel tablets should be lightweight and low profile. Ideally, it should take up the same amount of space as a thin textbook or a magazine. A bulky tablet may as well be replaced by a laptop, so look for something that you don’t mind carrying or holding for extended periods.


How many videos, photos or music do you plan on storing on your tablet? Depending on the answer, you may want to opt for more or less storage. These days there’s plenty of space on even the entry-level tablets. But another thing to consider is an online subscription that gives you cloud storage. 


Traveling poses several risks and in terms of your tablet, there’s always the risk of having it stolen and accessed without permission. Modern tablets, fortunately, carry a variety of security features, from encryption, fingerprint security and facial recognition. Consider the level of security of you need for protecting your data and personal information. 


Besides the tablet, some accessories may enhance your experience with a certain tablet. Covers can give your tablet extra protection, keyboards can allow you to type more conveniently and styluses can let you draw or write like you would on a pad. Bluetooth support for certain devices will also allow you to connect wireless headphones and other accessories.

How much you can expect to spend on a tablet for travel

The most affordable travel tablet is the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet for $90. The most expensive tablets can start at around $1,000. 

Tablet for travel FAQ

What does the tablet come with?

A. It depends on the tablet you buy. Typically it comes with a charging cable, a power adapter and the tablet itself. Some may even come with special promotions for online services, such as Apple’s new TV+ streaming service.

Can I connect my tablet to a TV?

A. Again, it depends on the tablet, but usually, the answer is yes. You can either connect it using cables, or via streaming on the same Wi-Fi network. 

What ARE the best tabletS for travel to buy?

Top tablet for travel

2020 Apple iPad Air

2020 Apple iPad Air

What you need to know: In terms of power, speed, portability and overall design, nothing comes close to Apple’s iPad Air for traveling.

What you’ll love: Not only does it feature beautifully constructed hardware and software, it also plays into the entire Apple ecosystem, so all of your apps and data from your iPhone or Macbook carries over.

What you should consider: The iPad is also the most expensive tablet on our list, at almost $600. You may even pay more for the cellular versions or a storage upgrade.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top tablet for travel for the money

Fire HD 8 tablet

Fire HD 8 tablet

What you need to know: The Fire HD is a solid budget choice for someone looking for a functioning tablet. You can even get the Lockscreen Ad-supported type to save even more money.

What you’ll love: The Kindle Fire HD has 12 hours of battery life, plenty for even the longest bus or plane trips. 

What you should consider: The Kindle Fire severely lacks performance and features compared to Apple and Samsung’s offerings.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

What you need to know: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 provides a competent balance between performance and price point and a competitive alternative to Apple’s flagship tablet.

What you’ll love: Dolby Atmos Surround Sound and a four-speaker system give your tablet a theatre-level sound quality compared to other tablets.

What you should consider: Compared to Apple’s tablet, the Galaxy Tab still lags in terms of performance. There is some noticeable latency in even the most basic functions, like navigating the menu.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Leo Herrera-Lim writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.