What’s in my travel bag?

I’ve traveled quite a bit the last few years and a whack of that travel has been for work which has forced me on trips where I’m going to several countries each for few days at a time.  Traveling on such tight schedules, you find yourself paying attention to overall weight of your bags. Nothing sucks more than haulin’ ass through the airport with overweight luggage.

Here are my top 5 things I never travel without that has helped me cut the overall clutter in my bags, while making my travel far easier:

Apple Airport Express

image Everyone knows about this handy little device for the home, but few people remember to bring it with them when they travel.

First, when you’re traveling in hotels only hard-wired internet connections, you can use the Airport Express to bridge the ethernet to wifi. Presto! you’re no longer chained to that insanely small desk and can sit on your bed with your laptop.

Second, the USB port on it can be used to charge every single one of my devices that uses a USB cable to charge. This includes my iPhone 3GS, Samsung NV24HD camera and even my X-Mini II speaker.  This allows me to leave most, if not all, extraneous power plugs at home and only lug along my Airport and necessary cables.

X-Mini II Capsule Speaker

image I heard about this amazing little device originally from a co-worker who was rigging up this crazy portable A/V system with his Zune and a mini projector.  At that time, he only had the original version which was much smaller.

At first glance, this thing looks like a flimsy POS, but when you hear the sound it outputs, you’ll be amazed.  It’s come in extremely handy when I’ve wanted to watch movies in my hotel room on my laptop (my Thinkpad T60’s speakers absolutely suck), or even just listen to music off my iPhone.  You truly have to listen to this in person to believe it – the sound is amazing for it’s size. image

You have 2 options for connecting it – either through the 3.5mm cable protrudes from the bottom (and neatly tucks away when not being used) or through the cable that connects via mini-USB. That USB cable splits into a standard USB plug to connect a USB power source for recharging it’s batteries, and also another 3.5mm jack. So if you’re using it with your laptop, you can charge it and connect it to your headphone jack very easily.  As I mentioned earlier, it can also be charged through the Airport Express’ USB connection.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector with dual USB Charger

image I recently added this to my arsenal as I found that too often I either (a) needed more than 1 USB device charged at once, and (b) simply needed more power plugs. The Belkin Mini Surge Protector totally fits the bill and has a permanent place in my laptop bag (which is also my airplane carry-on).

It can also easily be used when you travel internationally by letting you get 3 outlets but only using a single travel plug adapter.

ATP Multislot Promax USB2.0 UDMA Card Reader (AF-CRMBK-MV1)

image Since I never travel without my laptop, I never had to worry about running out of space on my CF or SD cards.  Since my laptop also has Lightroom installed on it, I can offload pictures every so often and even triage them to discard the obvious duds, and even start tagging and organizing them. When I get back home, I export the catalog from my laptop and import to my main PC. For longer trips, this strategy has saved me so much time in finishing my photos off.

At times where I’ve had lots of spare CF/SD cards, I still offload my photos for safekeeping so there is a duplicate copy.

Other 4 other more minor things I usually always bring: