Being on the road is a complete hassle, but without my personal top 10 favorite products, it would be even worse. Here is my list of on the road necessities that I would hate life without.
10. Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones
The noise canceling headphones have been a great addition to my travel pack. With standard ear buds or even ‘normal’ headphones, I can’t hear my music or the movie over crying babies and engine noise. The Quiet Comfort not only impressively cancels out engine noise, it actually helps with the crying babies. If they could only jump off my head and beat the ass of the idiot kicking my seat, it would rank higher. I received them as a gift, but I think they are around $300. Great battery life as well (AAA batteries).
9. Anker 40W 5 Port USB Charger
There are only so many outlets in any given hotel. Combine that with the power cords of all my devices being incredibly short, the 5-port USB charger checks in at number nine on my list. Before I bought this, I would find myself charging my phone in one corner of the room while my iPad gets charged in the other. Texting on my phone while on the charger? Previously, I had to sit on the floor. Due to the short cord. After yanking the short cords out of the wall too many times, purchasing this device was a no-brainer.
Typically in business travel, my colleagues and I like to get together at the end of the work day before dinner to have a cocktail or two. We usually end up in someone’s hotel room so we can discuss the events of the day without distraction. Too many times one of us was forced to buy a bottle opener. Now, one resides permanently in my luggage. Just be careful of any new TSA rules if you only take a carry-on with you.
7. RedHead XTR Moc II Shoes
Probably the most obscure item on my list is one of the most important. We all know that during a trade show there is a lot of walking and standing to do. Being a tight wad as well, that including walking to and from the venue from my hotel (I refuse to take a five minute cab ride even when it’s 100 degrees out). I wore the wrong pair of shoes for Infocomm 2012 and vowed never to let that happen again. While the RedHead shoes certainly aren’t pretty, they feel fantastic. I bought them just before Infocomm 2013 and after walking the show (and of course back and forth to the Super8), I knew they were winners.
6. Asus Transformer T100
The newest addition to my travel arsenal is the Asus Transformer T100. Doubling as a 10” tablet and a small laptop, the battery life is great and with Microsoft Office pre-installed to the Windows 8.1 OS, it makes for a winner to review drawings, write emails and articles or whatever else needs done. While I’m not a fan of Windows 8.1, the experience is passable since this isn’t my full blown Engineering laptop that I sit in front of 10 hours a day. The portability factor is also important as I take it home from the office every night so I’m not lugging that beast of a laptop everywhere.
5. Anker Astro E5 15000mAh External Battery
This saved our collective ass during Infocomm. We opted for the iPhone app to scan people who came to our booth. iPhone + usage = dead battery. The Anker battery, while roughly 18 times the size of an iPhone (actually about double the thickness and 4x the weight), kept the iPhone going for the whole day of scanning. That alone made it a valuable product. I also take it camping in the event of a lack of electricity.
4. Patagonia Half Mass Messenger Bag
Here is where all the crap goes. This was purchased intentionally for lugging my engineering laptop back and forth to the office, but as of late it’s become the carryon luggage of choice. It’s near bullet proof, semi water proof and easy to carry messenger style. It has room for all the essentials and it was actually the only luggage I had for a weeklong trip back at Infocomm 2013. The only issue is that it slides off my shoulder only when wearing my Patagonia Nano Puff jacket!
3. Apple iPad
Man can’t live on work alone. The iPad has the apps and the battery life to keep me occupied on a plane, in the terminal and in the hotel. Not much more to say about it.
2. Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot
This is one of those things that you never knew you needed until you’ve used it. I’m able to use my Galaxy Note as a personal hotspot and it’s great for connecting anywhere where the Wi-Fi is either not free or the connection is lousy.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Galaxy Note 3 is the end all be all of my guide to travel. While large screen phones (I hate the term phablet) have problems in pants pockets, I don’t see myself ever going back to a small one. The Note 3 has everything I wanted in a phone now that I’ve finally gotten over my whining about needing a hardware keyboard. Battery life is great, charging is fast and emails are easy to type.