Being able to print on the road is really handy. Being able to scan on the road is amazingly useful.
I’ve been to trade shows and brought home 40 or 50 pounds of literature. With the changes in most airline travel policies, that literature could cost $50!
Recently I’ve brought home just a few random pieces of literature.
Everything else I scan and bring home as a PDF or JPG file, either on my computer hard drive or a USB flash drive (or both as backups).
You can also use the scanner and portable printer as an in-room copier, pretty handy if you don’t want to change out of your pajamas to go make a quick copy.
I have two scanners I take, depending on how much scanning I think I’ll do.
On almost every trip I take a Plustek OptiSlim M12 (http://www.plustek.com/product/m12.asp). It is very small about 9” wide and about 2” in diameter. It is powered by the computer via the USB port that it connects with. It can scan 300 dots per inch (dpi). It’s two disadvantages are that its moderately slow (about 45 to 60 seconds per page) and it can only scan one side of one sheet at a time.
When I think I’ll be doing a bunch of scanning I take my Fujitsu S300 duplex scanner (http://www.fujitsu.com/us/services/computing/peripherals/scanners/scansnap/s300.html). It works best using its power brick (doubling its scanning speed). Its big advantage is that it can scan 3 to 6 sheets a minute, scanning both sides of the sheet at once. And it has a sheet feeder, so I can stack 25-30 sheets, start scanning and watch TV. Interestingly I noticed my new Atom powered netbook slows the scanner down because it can’t keep up.
For those rare occasions I need to “scan” something that isn’t loose sheets (e.g. a book), I take a picture of it with my 10 megapixel digital camera. It doesn’t do as well as a real scanner (usually because of lighting), it is good enough.
Why haul that paper home when you can just scan it and bring home the images. And they take less physical storage space!