Inspired (no, okay, I ripped it off entirely) by Matt Mullenweg’s post of the same name I thought it would be interested to share what’s in the backpack that I take around with me when travelling for work. It’s early times yet, with only a few such trips but 3 more due this year and I have no current intention to change the contents.
I’m certainly not the “road warrior” that he is but I certainly think there may some ideas for others – what I liked about seeing Matt’s was that it gave me some further ideas of my own. I particularly liked some of the stationary items that Matt has and I’ve already been looking into them.
- Wenger Gigabyte backpack. My wife bought me this after my previous bag broke during our last family holiday. There are lots of storage spaces inside, it’s comfortable to wear and is very well made. I’m a big fan of Wenger and own a few of their products, even to the point that you may notice I have a Wenger luggage tag attached to it.
You may also notice a red car on a key-ring. My father-in-law collected toy Porsches and wanted, after his funeral, for them to be given away to those who came. I got some, still in their boxes, but also this one, which was on a key-ring. I always have it attached to whatever bag I’m travelling with, albeit normally tucked in.
- Apple 13″ MacBook Pro, 2016 model. This is my Automattic-provided laptop and I genuinely love it. With the revised, short-travel keyboard and trackpad and all USB-C connections I was expecting to hate it but it grew on me really quickly. And using USB-C is less than a burden than I thought. It’s un-adorned with stickers as Automattic swap laptops out quite regularly so I couldn’t see the point 😉
- One of the only instances where Matt and I have the same thing, these are my Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones. Very comfortable and with a great sound, where these really shine are with their noise suppression, so are very useful on planes and trains. They’re not cheap at all but I treated myself to these when I got my job at Automattic.
Also in the case is a lighting to headphone jack cable, for when on flights I can’t use Bluetooth and need to connect it to my iPhone (yea, I forgot it last time so couldn’t use them).
- Moulded sleep mask. Just a cheap one but useful for journeys. I also journey with ear-plugs too (usually the cheap foam ones from Boots), but they’re not pictured.
- Umbrella. Because I’m English 😉 A windproof, auto pop-up brolly for when I get caught by the inevitable rain.
- Jackery 20100mAh Power Bank. To charge all my things. With USB-C connections, this packs quite a wallop and can charge everything I need (not quite my MacBook, as it doesn’t deliver as much as the MacBook takes but you can certainly use it to prevent the MacBook from discharging so quickly). Quite heavy, it also serves as a useful weapon in case of being mugged.
- USB-C MacBook charger. Not much to say about this but if you ever order a spare one, just be aware that the cable doesn’t come with it!
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (3rd Generation). I struggle to sleep without a read, however short, beforehand so my Kindle is a requirement. I do buy paper books but with a finite sized house and a wife who buys a lot more books than I ever do, I get a lot of eBooks instead. The Kindle was also a present from my wife.
- Flare ISOLATE Earplugs. Not designed for sleeping in but when you need to shut out the sound around you in normal life. As I suffer from sensory overload, this can be particularly useful in noisy environments.
- Nurofen Meltlets. I don’t suffer from headaches very often and, when I do, I prefer to sleep them off rather than take anything. But, if I do need to, I can’t swallow tablets which can cause problems when I’m away from home so I always carry Meltlets with me, which are sucked.
- OneAdaptr TWIST+ World Charging Station. This twists (hence the name), causing the mains pins to alter configuration, basically allowing you to modify it to plug into various electrical sockets around the world. On one side is a connector for your MacBook adapter (and it works on the old and new adapters too) and then there are 4 USB ports too. With everything, bar my MacBook charger, only requiring USB then this is the only travel adapter I need to take.
- Where some prefer a Tile, I’ve gone with TrackR – connected to my bag this allows me to track its location via Bluetooth. It doesn’t looks as nice as Tile and seems to get both grubby and dented quite easily but seemed to be rated better.
- A Qlipter – a rather neat carabiner that you can twist and configure in all sorts of ways. Handy for hanging bags off of.
- Another carabiner and one I’ve had for years (probably bought from eBay). This has the handy distinction of having on it a rubber ring through which you can thread plastic drinks bottles, which makes it a handy way of attaching a bottle to your bag and having it close to hand.
- On top is my main wallet – a slim wallet, given to me for my birthday from my eldest daughter. Takes up little room in the pocket and is nicely made. Underneath that, and when I need to be carrying cash about, is a Wenger branded wallet – lots of compartments, including a coin section, and high quality.
- Glasses case. I normally wear contact lenses when I’m out-and-about but I always have my glasses to hand, just in case. It’s a hard case too, so will take an knocks whilst travelling without damaging the contents.
- My WordPress-branded insulated drinks flask. Made by Klean Kanteen it’s well made and has an excellent sealed lid that you can also drink from.
- A Sony Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Because a gamer’s gotta game.
- ButterFox Universal Electronics Travel Organiser. Built like a toiletries bag, this is a meshed bag for putting your electrical accessories in. Or, in my case, lots of cables. I don’t put them in neatly (who has time for that?) but this keeps them all together. If I’m taking a camera with me, I’ll add additional charging cables as well as spare batteries too. But what do I have in it generally? It’s time for a sub-list!
- USB-C to USB-C cable (i.e. the one that goes from my MacBook charger to the MacBook itself).
- Fitbit charger – a cheap spare is fine for this. Instead of a watch, I always wear a Fitbit Charge 2 with a replacement, Milanese, stainless steel strap.
- USB to Micro-USB cable (Kindle, etc).
- USB to Nintendo 3DS cable.
- USB to Sony Vita cable.
- Short USB to Lightning connection cable (i.e. for charging my iPhone).
- Games cases (one for my Vita and another for my 3DS).
- A Clairefontaine pencil case. Now, I like my stationary and what’s in here need its own post!
- A couple of Moleskine notebooks (and, yes, I have more than just these 2 two!). The big one is an Automattic branded one with plain paper. The small one is lined. I believe I get the latter as a Christmas present a few years ago.
Okay, there’s nothing missing that I currently have but I’m aware there are some things missing that I really need to sort out as some point…
- Sunglasses. I have some cheap ones but I have my eyes on a pair of Ray-Ban Justin Classic. Hmmm, matt black. I suspect some will soon be mine.
- Business card holder. I have cards of my own but nowhere to put them.
- Port converter. This will be a problem the first time I turn up somewhere to give a talk and can’t connect my laptop to anything. Will need one with VGA/HDMI/Ethernet ports, at minimum.
And What I Forgot To Include
Inevitably, I missed some of the items that are usually in my bag.
- Luggage scale. Travelling, I’m paranoid about going over my weight allowances, so I always carry this compact, digital luggage scale.
- USB 3/Type-C card reader. A USB 3 socket on one side, USB type-C on the other, card reader in the middle – a great, portable way of reading standard and micro SD cards. I keep this in my travel organiser case, along with my various cables.
- TSA Padlock. A good quality but compact padlock for when I need to secure my bag, being TSA is allows US authorities to access the padlock via a master key.