by Herndon Hasty (Digital Performance Manager)
1. Amazon Kindle: You can never read enough. Especially on flights and the general hurry-up-and-wait of any trip, I’ve always felt a lot more enriched using the time to read than watching movies or working. Save for occasionally pulling up old-school Tecmo Bowl on a Nintendo Emulator on my laptop…that’s a pretty great way to pass the time on a flight, too.
The challenge with reading is the weight of books, especially when you need to have your next selection or two with you as well. I actually never really minded this, and resisted moving to an e-reader for a very long time. That is, until I found out that our local library offered first-run books in ebook format. Meaning I could not only carry all of my favorite books, but a couple of completely new reads, for less of the space of one book and the weight of a deck of cards. Happier flights, happier packing.
I still like to read paper books when I can, but there’s no other way to fly than with an e-ink Kindle.
2. Crown Royal bag: Car keys and parking passes used to be the bane of my travel existence. Things that were absolutely vital to successfully finishing a trip that had to be kept track of, but that were incredibly easy to lose in the folds of a bag and leave you in a panic when you can least afford it.
A cloth bag from a bottle of Crown Royal – or a Scrabble letter bag, sandwich bag, etc. – does the job of securing these superbly. Nice secure closure to keep them from rolling out, fits easily in a carry-on while being easy to find without looking, and keeps your keys from scratching anything. I even use it hold my small metal items coming into security when I don’t have a jacket (the most convenient way to get your pocket knicknacks through security, by the way) to very quickly get re-equipped on the other side of the meta detector.
3. Saddleback Passport Wallet: Interestingly, not necessarily for a passport, and believe it or not, nor is it a shill for Dave. Expense receipts are right up there with keys and parking passes on the list of things that easily get lost in travel, only they’re even more likely to get lost. While the results of losing a receipt aren’t as dire as car keys left in another time zone, it’s still better not to lose them, even if you’re able to take care of expenses with your phone.
Before I even started working for Saddleback, I liked using the passport wallet as a secondary wallet when I traveled, usually kept in the back pocket of my bag. The Passport side can hold wads of receipts very effectively (or, lacking wads worth, a folded plane ticket can fill it out well, too), as can the card slots – which can also store extra business cards.
4. USB car charger (cigarette lighter variety): For the cost of a teeny amount of space, you can solve all kinds of charging dilemmas on flights. Planes of any size usually have at least a DC outlet between many seats. While not enough to fully power a laptop, you can easily charge a phone on airplane mode or a running MP3 player.
5. Travel outlet extender: Probably a bigger deal for business travelers, but outlet space at airports, offices, and coffee shops can be in high demand. An outlet extender, especially ones with built in USB slots, can make the difference between carrying enough of a charge to work (or Tecmo Bowl, no judgment) on a plane, or even in whether or not you have enough power to present to your client the next day.
For me, carrying one of these is less about making sure I’ve got a place to plug in, and more for the look of relief on at least three other peoples’ faces when I step up to a full outlet with anxious power-needers hanging around nearby, and offer to trade out one outlet for four. Especially when there are flight delays and cancellations, it’s an easy way to be a blessing for a crowd.