As someone who flies around 100,000 miles and stays 150 nights a year at a hotel, I like to think I’ve optimized what to carry for comfortable (and light) travel. Below are a few of the items which have become part of my everyday life.
Call me a sell out, but I got a TUMI suitcase like every other consultant you’ll ever see. When I first got my consulting job out of college I used the current Samsonite carry on I owned. A few months in of 2 flights a week, the wire frame was starting to come through the nylon. It’s then I realized that I need to invest in a premium suitcase. This suitcase hasn’t let me down after 3.5 years of heavy travel. There is no sign of heavy wear at all.
I’m also a fan of 2 wheeled suit cases oppose to the new popular 4 wheel. While I see the convenience of the 4 wheel versions, I don’t like the idea that my suitcase can just roll away from me.
I found out recently that Samsonite actually purchased TUMI. So … there goes the neighborhood I guess. I’m sure I didn’t have a top of the line Samsonite suitcase, but it wore out pretty quickly. That’s not to say Samsonite doesn’t have quality products. Which leads me into my next item …
Backpack: Samsonite Pro 4 DLX Backpack
This backpack came recommended to me from another consultant as a good quality backpack at not TUMI prices. What I like about the backpack is it keeps its structure, it doesn’t fold into itself like those JanSport backpacks you had in grade school. The backpack has a dedicated compartment for a laptop which flips out separately from the rest of the backpack for airport screening if required. It also has a bunch of compartments and pockets which is great for staying organized. The version I got has selves on either side to hold water bottles, but if I were to buy a new backpack, I get one without them. The compartments just add extra “fluff” to the backpack which causes some problems on smaller aircraft when stowing the backpack under the seat in front of me. The linked backpack doesn’t have those pockets.
My only gripe with the backpack is the sleeve which lets you slide the backpack over a suitcase handle to sit on top of your suitcase when walking is a bit big. Therefore, sometimes the backpack slips around the handle, causing me to stop and readjust.
Battery Pack: Anker 2nd Gen Astro E7 (26800mAh)
I never like to rely on the availability of on board power. In coach it’s typically two outlets per row of three. In premium cabins you typically get your own power port per seat. However, I’ve noticed these power ports are those multi country ports and my normal two prong charger never stays put and requires me jiggling the adapter the whole time. Therefore, I decided to cut the middle man out and provide my own power.
Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 20
Noise canceling headphones are essential if you travel frequently. Again, like every other consultant, I have Bose noise canceling headphones. I’m sure there are other brands out there that provide similar quality at a lower price. However, I like Bose products and know that I’m getting a quality product.
I use to have the Bose on ear noise canceling headphones. Like most on ear and over ear headphones they are bigger and take up more space in your bag. So when Bose announced in ear noise canceling headphones, I jumped on it. The quality is fantastic and these take up a fraction of the space in my bag.
The shoe bag was a no brainer for me. I previously put my work shoes in a grocery store bag and decided I needed a better solution. Who wants their shoes rubbing up against their clothes anyway? Not me.
I read a few things on the Internet on how packing cubes saved peoples lives. Now these people weren’t frequent travelers and need the largest checked bag size for a week long vacation. However, these do help with organization, which i’m all about. When I get to the hotel the last thing I want to do is open my suitcase and see clothes all tossed around from being in transit all day.
Ear Plugs: Macks Pillow Soft Silicone Ear Plugs
I never used ear plugs until I started spending 150+ nights a year at hotels. The thing that really “grinds my gears” is hearing room doors shutting from the hallway. Apparently there are some people who like to wake up at 4 AM and hit the gym. The walk out of their room, let the door slam, walk down the hall and realize they forgot their headphones, go back to the room, let the door slam, get their headphones and leave the room once again, and you guessed it, let the door slam.
Eye Mask: Bedtime Bliss Eye Mask
I never used an eye make until I started flying twice a week (this sounds familiar). When flying, i’m an aisle guy. I like to get up and go to the bathroom without asking somebody else to get up. Also, if I just want to get up and walk around, I can do that too. With that said, I don’t have control over the window. This is why I have an eye mask. Nothing is worse then bright sun light in your eyes when you are trying to relax.
Water Bottle: Hydro Flask 18oz Standard Bottle
Flying is dehydrating, so I like to drink a lot of water (why I pick an aisle seat). By a lot of water, I don’t mean gallons, but I also don’t mean the small 9oz cups that United hands out.
What I like about the Hydro Flask bottles in particular is the way they are made. They are marketed as vacuum insulated. What this means is no condensation! Therefore, this can be in your bag and you don’t have to worry about other items getting wet/damp