I travel frequently and enjoy the benefits of having good gear like my super sturdy Patagonia wheel bag. I’ve come to appreciate a couple of other items that make travel and my overnight stays in hotels more comfortable. Today, I’m going to outline a couple of the electronic items that I use in my travels (and in future posts I’ll talk about the personal items that are a “must have” for the mind and soul).
First of all, in addition to my carry on luggage I always have a carry-on bag for small stuff. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to have a bag that you can also use when traveling in the city you’re visiting. I have a shoulder bag that was given to me as a gift, but in the past a had a messenger bag, backpack, and an old army satchel. In my carry-on bag and keep a small pouch with a couple of critical pieces of gear:
The Belkin Mini Surge Protector/Dual USB Charger is super useful for those times that you find yourself in the airport and need to work out some sort of power-sharing agreement. This particular power strip has USB ports which also allow charging of other electronic equipment such as cameras or iPhones.
To plug-in to the power strip I keep an extra Apple power cord that I only use for traveling. This is a rather pricey extra, as a second power cord cost about $80 (you can buy cheaper ones for $24-$40 but they do not last much, especially if you travel). I opted to buy an extra one simply because it was much easier to leave my power cord I work and not worry about getting it. (I also have one at work and one at home… not having to move them means its less likely I’ll forget them… which I did often).
Headphones are a little trickier. I’ve been rather happy with in-ear headphones, but I’m considering buying a set of Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones. The $300 price tag makes me hesitant. Regardless, be sure to have an adapter (see left photo) for the headphones so they fit on an airplane’s two prong jack.
Normally I watch movies at home using my Roku. On the road I can either watch a hotel rental for $10, watch on my laptop or connect to a TV (and why not). To do this I usually carry 2 adapters and a cable, one that connects to a LCD projector and one that connects as a Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter. On a couple of occasions I’ve been lucky enough to call the front desk and see if you have an extra adapter HDMI cable, it usually depends on if the IT Department at the hotel is available and has one to share.
Finally, it goes without saying that I carry my iPhone and keep a charger in the bag as well. While I hate having to pay $80 a month from my phone, I’ve grown to love the applications. In addition to the usual alarms and wake up calls, I often download the Lonely Planet Travel guide for the city I’m visiting, use yelp.com to find local places to eat, and the map program to get around.
As a last resort, if I’m on the road and I realize I did not bring my electronic equipment I usually call the concierge or the front desk to ask if one is in the lost and found bin. Being polite can actually get you gear for an overnight stay. There are other items friends travel with on occasion, such as an Apple Airport Express, Ethernet cable, and wireless mouse, but those are not essential.