When you land that first job that requires you to travel, two things happen. First, you become a Baby Road Warrior. You keep a count on how many more hotel nights you need to make “Platinum Level” or how many more flights to make “Preferred Status” on the airlines. Travel enough and you won’t care about level or status all you’ll care about is getting the points for your nights or flights, we’ll do a post on points in the future.
The second thing to happen is that everyone will start buying you travel gadgets, travel gadgets that they believe will make your life easier. This is nonsense, I’m in my 50’s and my Mom still buys me clothes that are too small, I’m not about to trust her with my comfort when I’m away from home.
Here’s a few tips that might be worth sharing with your family and friends:
- All hotels have alarm clocks, hair dryers and irons, a travel version of these will be useless. After your first trip you’ll be leaving these things behind and a month after that you’ll be dropping them off at Goodwill.
- Large brightly colored luggage tags and military grade belts that you strap around your luggage are worthless. There’s two types of luggage, carry on and lost, road warriors rarely check luggage.
- I enjoy looking at Sharper Image and Sky Mall catalogs, seriously who couldn’t use a 53″ Iguana statue, but most of their travel related items are too heavy or complete garbage.
OK, then what should you pack?
- Health Care Kit (The I hope I stay alive till I get home kit)- begin with a simple First Aid Kit, something that covers you up to a severed limb or gunshot wound. Throw in aspirin, Benadryl, Imodium some Dentemp for a cracked filling and of course Zicam.
- GQ Kit (The I hope I look good kit)- A travel sewing kit, nothing worse than popping a button as you’re getting dressed. Extra collar stays as well as some collar extenders. A Tide pen can help you recover from a messy lunch and a shoe shine cloth will make your Dad proud.
- Entertainment Kit (The I want to have fun kit) – I always carry a deck of cards, perfect for when everyone’s cell phone loses power. I need a bottle opener (#hotelbeer) and a few Mini Liquor Bottles in case I get bit by a snake. For snacks I pack almonds and protein bars, yeah I can sense your jealousy.
- Power/Connectivity Kit (The important stuff kit) – This is the important one, no power or connectivity your life is about to become a giant cup of suck. First is a Travel Power Strip. Outlets are in short supply, and if you want to become an instant hero just plug this in and share with others, and as an added bonus you can leave your USB chargers at home. A 4 in 1 USB Charger Cable, lets you leave all of your charging cables behind, the best $7.00 I’ve ever spent. Drop a few dollars on a portable power bank, one that will charge your phone or tablet a few time. Spend $26 on the Ematic MDB114 and you can stream wirelessly from your phone, tablet or laptop to any projection device with a HDMI connection, think NetFlix & Hulu while on the road. Buy yourself a TA P-LINK Portable Router, this allows you to turn a wired network into a shareable WiFi connection. Throw a mini flashlight into your bag, it’s a small thing but something you don’t realize you need until you’re stuck in an elevator or a room with no power.
The strategy here is to avoid buying common items while you’re on the road, and never buy any of the above in an airport unless you’re a trust fund baby or have a sweet expense account.
There’s always a Walmart close by, perfect for picking up forgotten socks or in my case building an extensive collection of belts.
If you forget some of your hygiene items most hotels offer “freebie” samples of toothpaste, razors & shaving cream.
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