I travel a lot. LOT. Usually well over 150,000 airline miles a year…and usually to places that don’t have a Best Buy or Walmart near by…so I have gotten pretty good at packing stuff. I am also a “carry-on” guy for a couple of reasons, too. #1, I really like rolling on & rolling off and not waiting for my luggage. #2, I fly enough to know that my bags don’t always come with me. Some friends asked me to put together a list of things and show them all that I take with me, so here it is…
Here is a pic of my travel setup.
I will go 3 weeks at a time with this (actually typing this on the plane returning from Saipan after almost 3 weeks). Of course, that is not 3 weeks of clothes, but it is 3 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, undergarments, socks, 2 pairs of shorts, flip flops, running shoes, and toiletries (find drop off laundry places when you travel, too). It is also my computer bag (top) and that is where this blog focuses.
I am an instructional technologist, meaning I get to do a lot of cool educational technology things. It also means that I have to carry a lot technology stuff. Technology stuff is heavy. So, I got a pretty good bag to carry it all in, plus with room for a change of clothes & toiletries when I am on puddle jumpers that make me check my luggage that is normally carry-on or gate check. My favorite bag for this is the North Face Surge II.
It has a padded laptop sleeve with integrated tablet sleeve. Fits my 15” Macbook Pro and iPad with no problem. There is also a LARGE middle section where I keep my technology cube, computer speaker, a plastic file folder (to hold travel receipts) and a magazine if flying out of the U.S. (so I read something at take off and landing). It will easily accommodate my toiletry kit and a change of clothes with no problem. The front section is great. Zippered pockets to hold my travel documents, pen holders, key holder, and room for my sunglasses, camera, stuff I like to grab quickly. The front is awesome, too. Two zippered pockets: one I put in Cliff Bars & Special K protein bars for the flights with no (or crappy food), layovers/delays in airports with no restaurants, etc. The other one is my computer charger and iPhone/iPad charger…easy to grab and put away. One side of the pack has a bottle holder and the other side a zippered pocket where I carry a ultralight jacket for cold airports & planes, as well as weather situations.
So while this reads as a review of the North Face Surge II, my point is find a pack that will hold your stuff, is comfortable to carry, and works for you. I reviewed a bunch of packs online, but actually went to an REI store and tried a bunch on and checked them out in person. I went in to buy something else I liked online and walked out with the North Face Surge II from REI.
So here it is…opened up in all its glory on my hotel bed. Pens, a flashlight (always carry at least one…I carry 3), Eagle Creek padded packing cube, REI toiletry kit (I use as a medical kit), Computer speaker, camera, headphones, energy bars, & tissues.
Here is another one with the bag & jacket laid out on the bed.
The piece of equipment I take with me EVERYWHERE is the RoadTools Podium Pad.
Is just two pieces of plastic that keep my computer elevated enough to type comfortable, keep it from heating up on a bed or couch, and I don’t worry about spilled coffees or sodas on tables. Oddly enough, with all my gadgets, this is what people seem to think is really cool. I use it in the office, as well as on the road.
See how thin it is! I guess it is pretty cool. Was $12 bucks, too…and that is cool 😀
Oh…buy a can opener/bottle opener and take it with you everywhere. I have been stuck places with the options of really, really, really crappy restaurant food or canned food, but had no can opener.
Even worse is buying bottled beer and not having an opener (of course didn’t stop me from drinking the beer, but the opening process delayed it enough to really annoy me.
Back to real stuff. The Eagle Creek packing cube is pretty awesome.
Okay…med kit. Very important if you travel a lot, especially without access to a Walgreens. I carry a variety of over the counter meds like pain meds, cold & flu, sinus, allergy, diarrhea, etc. A mini medicine cabinet. I also carry a prescription medication for travelers diarrhea. In almost of 20 years of biz-related travel and more than my fair share of street food in sketchy places, I have only needed it for myself once. I also carry antibiotic cream, Band-Aids, gauze, medical tape, etc for any scrapes or cuts (I am outdoorsy, too). Here it is from REI.
Lastly is my travel wallet that has RFID protection built in (scammers can’t scan me and get my card & passport info). Here it is from REI…says it is a woman’s wallet. Argh, but I didn’t care. Is too good to let a label stop me from using it. I do have a TON of travel related cards…and is packed in my backpack most of the time.
More importantly than that, it holds all my travel info, rewards cards, passport, money, etc. Fits nicely in one of the zippered internal pockets in the backpack, too. This one is from PacSafe.
That’s pretty much it! This setup gets me through professional developments, meetings, hotel work sessions, etc on an every day basis and also on major long hauls. Yes, is a North Face, REI, & Eagle Creek ad in a way…but all good stuff. The only thing missing for me is a USB battery for long flights to keep my iPad going…and my very thoughtful daughter got me one for my birthday! (don’t have it yet, so no pic, but here it is: EasyAcc® Ultra Slim Dual USB Portable Power Bank)