Essential Travel Gear You Shouldn’t Leave Without!
I’m going to talk about some gear that I consider the most important for a traveler or business person on the go. Over the years, I’ve been all over the place for work and pleasure, and I’ve worked hard to skinny down my travel kit to the most efficient and value add items that I can. The following items have given me the absolute most bang for my buck, and helped keep me organized, and ready to take advantage of any opportunity that may present itself business or personal. There’s also the added advantage of qualifying as a personal item that you can carry on any plane trip, fitting snugly under any airplane seat that I’ve ever been in so you can be sure that everything is always handy.
It is my hope that these items arm you for your business and pleasure travel as well. The wise man or woman is prepared and organized when they set out. A mind free from worry is a sharper, more focused one, which will make anything that you’re trying to do, from ace the interview to being prepared for a sudden rainstorm while traveling.
So, onward to the list!
The Only Everyday Carry Bag You’ll Ever Need
Making the most of your personal item for flying has always been a challenge for me over the years. I’ve gone back and forth on small backpacks, duffel bags, totes, you name it. It took me some time, but I managed to find the best messenger bag with the most organizational tools and features that I believe puts it far ahead of all the other options.
This bag easily fits a regular or small size laptop, several manila file folders, my portfolio and pens, and tablet in protected compartments. The laptop compartment is also TSA ready, so you can flip it open to show them if need be. There are a ton of pockets inside to store phone, sunglasses, headphones, cameras, there’s a lanyard for your keys, etc. I’m able to easily fit a water bottle or drink in the side pocket, or a travel umbrella.
Speaking of rain, the bag itself is pretty much impervious to any type of weather you’re likely to encounter. If you close it up with the velcro, it becomes just about water proof outside of perhaps dunking it in a lake for a week. I’ve never had any issues with water getting in while trudging through rain or snow with this bag.
The other nice thing about this bag is that there is a solid handle on the top, so it can be lifted and carried this way. Many bags that I’ve used over the years do not have a good solid handle like this, which makes moving the bag around a pain if you just want to lift it off the floor or down from the table. The shoulder strap is comfortable, and you can even adapt it for roller if you have the need.
All said, this is the only bag that I’ve used for some time as it is so well rounded and durable. There are a lot of options out there for travel bags, but this is the best one that I’ve used. You simply can’t go wrong here.
Get a Secure Passport Wallet
New passports and some credit cards can have RFID in them that is vulnerable to skimming by scammers. You’ll want to help defend yourself against this type of theft as you travel as well as keep your passport and credit cards organized and handy. When I travel, I like to make sure that I’ve got my important documents together to help speed myself through customs, and make dealing with checking into hotels far easier. Some stores may also give you a discount on local taxes or duties if you show your passport, which can quickly become tedious as you dig around for it.
I use this passport wallet when I travel and have been very pleased with it.
It fits my passport in a windowed screen for easy showing and access. It stores a pretty decent amount of credit cards and hotel keycards. There is room for cash in a separate compartment, which is nice for travel as you can put local currency in one place, and your home currency in another. It’s small enough to store nicely in one of the zippered pockets in your messenger bag. It would be a tight fit in your back pocket, but best travel practice means you shouldn’t put your wallet there anyway as it would be easier to get pick-pocketed.
This wallet also gives me additional piece of mind as it should help blog opportunistic RFID skimming. I haven’t had any trouble with credit card data being stolen or passport issues since traveling with this item. While nothing is fool proof with regards to crime and identity theft, making yourself a tougher target is always helpful.
This wallet serves its purpose very well and makes keeping track of my cards, passport and money so much easier that I can’t recommend it enough for getting organized for travel.
Don’t Forget to Bring a Portfolio
Most people only think about bringing their nice portfolio with them when it’s time for a job interview. I think this is a mistake as a good leather bound portfolio is a great way to keep your documents in order and adds a level of professionalism to an encounter. I’ve always brought out my portfolio while checking into hotels to make sure that I’ve got all of my documents well organized and handy. Being able to jot down notes helps out in I don’t know how many situations that I’ve found myself in. It’s a great way to have someone draw out how to get to a place that you want to go as well, which has saved me some grief in cities that google maps sometimes doesn’t help out quite enough with.
I’ve found that people treat someone carrying around a nice leather portfolio and pen better than they otherwise would. I think people either believe that you are someone important if you are one, or they will see you taking notes and keeping organized and realize that you pay attention to details and they like that. With regards to getting better treatment, I’ve managed to correct mistakes on hotel charges and get far better responses from the staff while taking all of my documentation and proof out of the pockets of my portfolio. Perhaps having one screams law suit to the clerks or what have you, but in order to make sure that you have a valid case, presenting yourself can make the difference in the staff taking you more seriously or not.
Aside from the organizational benefits, it never hurts to carry your portfolio with you just in case you run into some kind of opportunity or other that you want to explore further. Having a cache of business cards and a nice pen handy, as well as a place to jot down notes and meeting times has helped me out over the years as well and opened up some opportunities that I otherwise might not have gotten rolling. Perception can be reality much of the time, and looking the part of the prepared professional has never hurt me in any way.
A great portfolio need not be overly expensive, but I would recommend spending a little bit for a nice one. Amazon sells several, at varying prices. I personally like this Alpine Swiss portfolio for daily use.
For the price point on Amazon, you’re getting a 100 dollar portfolio for less than 40 bucks. It’s great bang for your buck, and it’s not ostentatious, so it should go with just about everything.
Traveling shouldn’t be stressful. Getting yourself organized will help you out by keeping everything that you need handy and ready to go at all times. Many people prioritize the tablet and the smartphone or laptop as the must have travel tool, and while these gadgets are indispensable, ignoring the basic organizational tools will leave you hunting around for something important that you need right now and just can’t find. I highly recommend picking up some version of the three items mentioned above to help get yourself ready to tackle anything on vacation or business travel. You’ll be glad that you did!
For those that have to have the tech with them, I’ve got another set of suggestions for how to get the most out of your phones and tablets and other gadgets in a follow up article that I’m working on. I hope that you’ll all look forward to it. Do you have any items that you can’t travel without? Let me know in the comments, I’m always looking for ideas on how to make travel more efficient and enjoyable.
Happy travels everyone!