If you’re like me and spend time traveling for business, you’re happy to find anything that makes the experience a little easier. This is especially true if you need to stay connected and take your technology along for the ride. I enjoy reading suggestions from other travelers and hope this brief list proves useful for you.
Checkpoint friendly laptop bag: I like the Checkpoint Flyer from Tom Bihn. Design and construction of this bag are great and I enjoy the non-slip shoulder strap and file slip options. Checkpoint friendly backs like this let you sail through airport security by laying your bag flat on the x-ray belt instead of taking your laptop out. It’s quicker, less frustrating and you’re unlikely to forget your laptop on the belt.
Organized Itinerary: If you’re still carrying a folder full of travel docs or trying to keep them in one email folder on your laptop/phone, an app like Worldmate will be very helpful (free and paid versions). You forward reservation emails to Worldmate and the app compiles it all into a trip time-line that is accessible online or on your phone. It captures map locations, phone numbers, etc. and providers you with alerts, weather forecasts and other information you request. You can also manually add items like office locations so it’s all in one place and it’s easy to email your full itinerary to someone else.
Taking notes: I recommend Evernote (free and paid versions). Works online, via an app on your laptop or on your phone, and let’s you sync and record text, image or audio notes. Evernote makes it really easy to rely on your phone for note taking on the road without fretting over how you’ll organize or share it all when you get back to the office. When I need paper, I rely on a Moleskine notebook I always keep nearby.
Reading: I’ve been using a Kindle for a while and enjoy it’s small size, simplicity and week long battery life.
Power Adapter: An all in one AC/car laptop and usb power adapter is essential. This is the only power adapter I bring with me since everything besides my laptop can be charged with a usb cable. The car charging option has come in handy many times and is essential for being able to charge your phone/gps, etc. while in the car without having to bring other power adapters. I use a model from Targus.
Cables: I only carry retractable cables for usb, media, etc. They’re lightweight and don’t get tangled up in my bag.
- usb cable with necessary tips to let me connect/charge everything I bring with me (via the power adapter above)
- VGA cable so I can hook-up my laptop to a TV in the hotel room (to play DVD or streamed movies) or a projector (these cables can be hard to find)
- audio cable to hook-up my ipod/phone to a car or or my laptop or ipod/phone to a TV/stereo
- network cable in case wifi isn’t available
Speakers: I carry a mini amplified speaker to plug into my laptop, phone or ipod to play music or movie audio.
USB powered light: This is helpful if your laptop doesn’t have a built-in light or lighted keyboard. Also helpful if you travel with your spouse and want to read at night in those hotels rooms with limited lighting options.
Preparing for failure: I bring a key chain USB stick with copies of presentations, etc. in case my laptop goes crazy or I have to present on another computer. I also recommend that you setup your laptop with all available recovery options for system recovery on the road (if you’re running Windows, consider building BartPE recovery CD).
How do you like to pack your bag?