Reading Pauly’s travel advice recently led me to think “Hey, you travel a lot, too, but kinda in a different fashion. Why not put together a few tips for frequent (or infrequent) business travellers?” So here they come – John’s tips on travelling light but travelling complete.
Most folks who travel often keep a “go bag,” that bag of stuff that is either ready to go at a moment’s notice, or just goes everywhere with them. In some cases, this is a suitcase with two pairs of socks and underwear, a dop kit and a change of clothes. In my case, my daily briefcase is my “go bag,” more for technology and other things that I find myself needing on a regular basis than a change of clothes. I’m not in a line of work where I don’t have any advance notice of my travel, so I can always swing home and pack before I roll out somewhere, and after spending the equivalent of 1/4 of this year away from home (and I’m not in what is typically a “travel” job) I’ve gotten my packing procedure down pretty well.
But back to my backpack. I replaced my briefcase with a backpack when I realized that two straps is just better than one, and I was swapping between bags when I flew anyway, so why not just settle on the backpack as a day-to-day bag? So I did. It’s a Jansport backpack, black, with a handle at the top that has a piece of neon green gaffer’s tape wrapped around the handle. The handle’s intact, but in a field where black is the color of choice, having something to distinguish your bag from every other black bag is important.
The bag that I carry has a laptop compartment where my Macbook lives, and there are plenty of pockets scattered throughout for all my stuff. Here’s a list of the pockets and the things that I won’t leave home without.
Front pocket – This is where I stash the things that I need to access quickly and frequently. Up front lives a Microsoft Arc wireless mouse.I picked this mouse because of the small form factor, and folding it turns it off, which is nice. Up front I also carry a power adaptor for my MacBook. I have three of these – one lives at home, one lives in my Charlotte office, and one lives in my backpack. It was worth the extra cash for me to not have to deal with wires in the two offices where I most frequently hook up the computer.
There’s also a couple of pens, at least one Sharpie, and a Leatherman in the front pockets. Obviously the Leatherman stays behind when I fly, but it’s an invaluable tool in so many ways. I carry the Leatherman Pulse, which is a newer model that includes scissors along with the traditional file, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, knife and multiple screwdrivers. It also has a ruler along the back edge and a bottle/can opener.
Also up front live the headphones for my iPhone, which are more backup headphones than anything, along with a USB cable for the iPhone and the wall charger for my BlueTooth headset. I have the Jawbone Prime headset, which I like quite a bit. The headset itself livesin my car, but I keep the charger in my bag for two reasons – so I remember to take it out of the car when I need to charge the headset, and because the adaptor is a USB cable that plugs into a wall outlet, so I can unplug the Jawbone charger and plug in my iPhone USB cable and charge my phone or headset off the same device. I also typically carry my prescriptions in the front pocket, and when I’m travelling I transfer enough pills to get me through the anticipated length of the trip plus one day and leave most of the pills at home. That way I’ve got my drugs with me, but if I’m stupid enough to leave them in the hotel, I haven’t screwed myself when I get home.
Wow, that’s a bunch of shit and I’ve only gone through one pocket! I’ll be back later with inventory of the rest of the bag, which has a second front pocket, main compartment and then a rear compartment with some storage in addition to the laptop compartment.