I started my first job after graduating from business school in October and have been traveling every single week since. Every Sunday night I pack my suitcase – and there are a few things that have been traveling with me every week.
Today I want to share my personal road warrior toolkit – the travel essentials I wouldn’t want to live without. Unlike posts you might read in other places, these aren’t products I’m endorsing because an advertiser is paying us to do so. You would actually find all of the following items with me if you stood in front of me in the security line at LAX Monday mornings (please say Hi!). So here we go …
Let’s start with the actual carry-on bag. I must admit I’m a huge fan of Rimowa suitcases. They are on the pricey side but the quality and customer service are terrific. And as someone who likes clean, timeless design, this has become my go to brand for luggage. This particular case, the Topas Cabin Multiwheel, is made out of sleek Aluminum, has dividers for both halves of the suitcase, and most importantly for me, four wheels that nearly roll by themselves. I opted for the IATA size which is also compatible with the more restrictive carry-on limits of European airlines.
In addition to the carry-on, I’m often traveling with a Patagonia Black Hole 25L backpack. I love the slick design of this bag, which is big enough to fit my laptop and all my other tech accessories, a couple of books and a light jacket without looking bulky. It comes with a padded laptop sleeve, some inner pockets to organize all the small things and two bottle holders. The backpack is made from sturdy yet light polyester and has a water-repellent finish, so things should stay dry if it gets a little rainy.
Right now I’m mostly in casual work environments so that I can leave those suits (for great suits, check out SuitSupply) at home. However, I’m still traveling with a bunch of dress shirts that shouldn’t get too wrinkled while in the carry-on. The best solution I could find is the Pack-It Garment Folder from Eagle Creek. This is a compression folder that holds your folded shirts or other garment items in place (a folding board is included) and once it’s closed everything pretty much stays wrinkle free. They offer different sizes; the Medium version holds 8-12 dress shirts and even fits into the Patagonia backpack above.
If you need more garment bags, toiletry bags, and small containers, tins or bottles to carry travel sizes of your favorite shampoo or lotion, check out MUJI. This Japanese retailer has a wide variety of travel goods and accessories at very reasonable prices.
A few years ago I bought my first pair of noise canceling headphones and wouldn’t want to miss them while traveling or working in a big office or noisy coffee shop. Recently I have replaced my old pair with the Bose Quiet Comfort QC35, the first noise canceling headphones from Bose that can be connected via Bluetooth. I’m not the biggest audiophile, but to me they have a great sound and the noise canceling function is truly amazing. They come with an internal battery that lasts about 20 hours and can be charged with a regular USB cable. So no need to carry around a bunch of batteries like it was the case with the old generation.
The next gadget is partially for work and partially for fun. This is the first iPad I feel really productive with. I was debating for a while whether I need the iPad Pro because for me it still can’t fully replace a MacBook or laptop. The size, the display, the battery and also the keyboard are fantastic, but for heavy office work I still need a real laptop, especially when there are multiple windows or applications involved. But where the iPad Pro does add a lot of value for me is when it comes to taking notes, annotating documents, editing images – in other words whenever the Pencil is involved. Being a very visual person, I just love working with the Pencil. And having a bigger iPad also makes browsing, typing and watching Netflix more fun.
With so many devices I’m carrying, having a decent Power Bank with me is essential. There are so many different models out there – it comes down to finding the right trade-off between capacity and weight or size. Even more important, and I tend to forget this far too often, keep them charged… If you need more charging cables (I can never have enough of them) and appreciate great design, have a look at this one from Native Union. I love the nautical look, the strong nylon braiding and the little leather belt that comes in handy to keep it together when storing it. The Belt Cable is available for Apple Lightning and Micro-USB.
I have first seen this hoodie in a post on Business Insider that claimed it to be “one of the best hoodies out there.” This seems like a big promise, and I haven’t tried all the hoodies out there, but I carry it around nearly everywhere I go. The Everlane Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt has a modern, rather slim fit, and combined with a dress shirt passes as Business Casual, at least in California. The hoodie is made out of 100% cotton and is pretty light, so perfect as an additional layer in an overly air conditioned plane or office. And I love the inner pockets to carry around house keys, wallet, and phone.
These were some of my travel companions that I wouldn’t want to miss. I hope you found some inspiration to make your travels more enjoyable or got a gift idea for that frequent traveler friend of yours. What items can’t you travel without? Share in the comments below!
Image Credits: Manufacturers’ websites (Rimowa, Patagonia, Eagle Creek, Muji, Bose, Apple, Native Union, Everlane).