Friday, March 27, 2009

10 Things to Take With You When You Travel

I'm on the road for this week and part of next week. With very little time to post (or think up creative topics to blog about), I figured I would list the things that I always take with me when I travel...
  1. A jacket with pockets. I keep my wallet, cell phone, passport, boarding passes, etc. zipped in my jacket pockets when I travel. This way they are easily accessible and not prone to being left behind or stolen. Should I have to exit the airplane in an emergency, my stuff will be on me instead of in an overhead compartment, and I am sure my sciatic nerve will thank me if I don't sit on my wallet in a hard airplane seat for 15 hours straight.

  2. A GPS device. I use a portable Magellan unit in my car at home and when I travel, it goes in my bag, this way I can park it on the dash of my rental car so I will know how to get to where I am going. Note: take the thing with you when you leave your car so it won't be a target for thieves.

  3. A Kiva backpack. This very tiny backpack folds up into itself and clips to my belt. It is an excellent companion for travel because I hate to have my hands full carrying things. When I acquire stuff, I just pop open the backpack and I have an instant way to carry my stuff.

  4. A cell phone that will work in the area I am traveling in. I have cell phones from a couple of companies so if I am going somewhere new, I check the coverage maps from both companies to see which phone will work where I am going. In cities this is no problem but in outlying areas there isn't always coverage depending on what cell company you have.

  5. ATM/Credit/Debit cards from a few banks. I keep money in a handful of bank accounts, all of which have ATM cards associated with them. The problem with traveling is that sometimes your bank will see unusual transactions and promptly cancel usage of the card until they can figure out what is happening. One way to prevent this is to tell your bank that you will be traveling so they can note this on your account. If you forget to do this, one of the other cards may work. In other words, don't just rely on one card for travel. Cash is also nice to bring.

  6. Contact numbers. I keep a laminated list in tiny 4 point font in my wallet with emergency contact numbers on it. Included on the list are numbers for people I know in the area that I will be traveling in as well as numbers for people who I know I can count on in an emergency no matter what is happening or where I am. This way, if I don't have cell coverage or lose my cell phone, I can still get in contact with someone who can help me.

  7. Laptop. Since I am almost always working when I travel, I usually snap up the smallest laptop I can find when then come on the market. I now have a tiny Asus laptop with a 120 gig hard drive. It easily holds all of my programs and files and weighs about a pound. When I think back on traveling with a 15" laptop, I shudder. This tiny computer rocks.
  8. A thumb drive with all of my computer files backed up on it. While I always take a laptop with me when I travel, I am not foolish enough to think that is will always work or never get stolen. Therefore, I always carry a thumb drive with all of my files backed up on it. In a crisis I can always find another computer to use but without a backup I won't be able to access my files.
  9. A 2500 ci backpack. I hate schlepping luggage. I always travel light, with what I can fit in my Mountainsmith backpack. I figure that if I absolutely need something that I didn't bring with me, I can always buy it when I get to my destination. Note: if I am heading off to very remote places for specific purposes I do end up schlepping a ton of gear, equipment, and supplies but for regular travel, you can pretty much buy anything you need, anywhere you go.
  10. Food. You never know when you may become stranded somewhere, whether it is on a plane, in an airport, or on a remote island, so I always carry food with my where ever I go. Jerky, nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, and other items that travel well along with a bottle of water will usually hold me until I can get some regular food.


  1. And for personal protection?.

    thats an item that has great inplications for travel. You can not take it in an airplane but, can you improvise?.

  2. For international travel, I recommend hiring the protection you need. No sense getting caught up in a foreign legal system for either carrying a firearm/weapon or using one. You can take a firearm on an airplane with you (in checked baggage) however you will want to familiarize yourself with the concealed carry laws in the area you will be visiting (some states may have reciprocity with your state's concealed carry permit). In the US I am much more likely to carry a firearm no matter where I am (obvious locations such as military installations and court houses excepted). For the most part, however, simple things such as being aware of your surroundings, using common sense (ie: not putting yourself in obvious problem situations), being reasonable physically fit, attitude, knowing hand to hand combat skills, knowing how to improvise a weapon if need be, and other non-firearms related aspects of personal protection will be your best defense.

  3. The backpack idea and on board food is great - nothing like carrying your stuff in overhead, way quicker to bootscoot your way out of an airport quicker than having to hang around a luggage carousel.

    Does require a more careful selection of clothing (especially in winter when bulkier clothing is required). In Mexico, wife and I often carry only two or three outfits, buying cheap clothing on site (blends in with locals easier as well). If we have to ditch it rather than pack it - fine, it was selected on price anyway.

    Weapons - wow, thats a hard one if firearms are impossible or pita to deal with. No ideas here - maybe buying local butcher knife and creating cardboard sheath is possibilty. Do check the laws though - in Mexico, serrated edges indicated 'assassin' type of weapons, and I think are prohibited. Checking laws BEFORE you go is definitely recommended.

    Having some cheap multi-tools that can be abandoned are another choice, in case transportation security has a problem with them - just ditch and go. Even the cheapie Chinese crap multi-tools can do some jobs well, just not for the long run.