Friday, July 19, 2013

Travel Tech Swag: What's in my bag?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 10:49 AM

It's one thing to travel and another thing to have tech but there's a precarious balance one must strike while traveling with tech. Since I traveled 218 days last year and it's shaping up to be even more than that this year, here I offer up a look at the tech I travel with and why I chose each piece. There's no room for carrying things you don't need when you're hiking up the Qatari oil sands or rummaging around taking photos in a ghost town in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

If there's one thing I've learned from a fellow Charlottean traveling compatriot, Tamela Rich, who travels the U.S. on a hog telling stories of cancer survivors, it's that mindful minimalism is where it's at. I start by carrying a small bag:

It's a Patagonia Mini Mass messenger bag. I like it because it's made entirely of recycled materials, looks rad and holds just enough, but not too much. Too much is cumbersome and not enough is annoying. This bag goes the distance for me with room to spare.

Next, in clockwise order, my Macbook Pro charger with my ID sticker on it and my BookBook iPhone 4S phone wallet combo case. This thing has paid for itself many times over in both compliments and functionality. Plus, it looks like a 12-step Bible, and no one wants to steal a Bible.

I don't always wear makeup, but when I do it's Josie Maran Luxury with a Conscience magic marker cheek and lip stain. It's paraben-, sulfate-, GMO-free, and, let's be honest, it can be used as a cheek/lip/eye stain, too. It's not meant for eyes but sure comes in handy when you're meeting Nancy Pelosi on short notice and need a quick eyeshadow touch-up. (Careful though, using it on all three at once looks a little crazy, so pick one at a time.)

Chargers, adapters, cables and wires are seen next to my Simple debit card holder. I use this for catching people's business cards and keeping hotel keys. Simple is the best banking service I've ever used. Since I'm on the road a lot, I like that I can use any ATM and deposit my checks by using the camera on my phone. Also a bonus: Being able to hashtag my expenses then produce different sorts of data visualization reports about my spending. Their customer service is killer, too. I can't say enough good things.

Next to that is my CLEAR Spot that I use to get Internet nearly everywhere. Turn it on in most metropolitan cities and you never have to worry about finding a cafe, library, friend's house or otherwise when a wi-fi writing session is in order.

Below that are my purple Philips O'Neill THE SPECKED in-ear headphones. I like these because the no-tangle wire is my best friend. I tried to revert back to the ear buds that came with my phone, and they were terrible for always getting tangled - not to mention straight up dropping out of my ear because apparently I have tiny ear holes. These came with multiple size inner ear fittings, so my freakishly tiny ears don't spit my headphones out anymore.

Moving down and around I have my two sizes of sharpies, this lovely Shutterstock cherry lip balm I got at the Palm Springs Photo Festival in the swag bag, my schmancy Netroots Nation pin I got last week in Silicon Valley, and the green sticker book of my dreams. When I got these stickers with my name on them, I thought it was going to be fun to sign my postcards with them. Turns out they're great to use as ID stickers. They fit any SD card. I have one on the back of my CLEAR Spot, another on my external hard drive, and another on my MBP charger. It's so easy to mix up these things that it's great to have an ID sticker on them. A travel/tech lifesaver, in fact. I get lots of compliments on the ingeniousness of these, too.

Next to the sticker book is my WD My Passport Studio 2TB portable external hard drive and polka dot case. I like this drive because it's decent in terms of storage space and a great size in terms of physical space. Bonus: The two cables that come with it are multi-use. The Firewire 800 cable works with the device and it's super fast, the USB 2.0 cable is perfect for charging my CLEAR Spot, a friend's Android phone, and if I get in a pinch, I can plug it into my USB 2.0 to iPhone 4S adapter and charge my own phone. Really, I could get away with using these two cables for almost everything.

To the right of my external hard drive is my giant stack-o-postcards, which I send out semi-regularly to those on my postcard love list, which is contained in my lovely Squarespace Molskine notebook. Above that, obviously, is my computer. It's a 13" 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 Macbook Pro with 4GB of memory and a 500 gb internal hard drive plus Super Drive.

Finally, that little guy just to the left and below the computer is a MSFT Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 just because I can't always use my trackpad. It fits nicely in the inner side pocket of my messenger bag and even though it's Microsoft, this die-hard Apple gal sometimes needs a little bit of archaic function in her everyday idling online that only a mouse can bring, and this is good for that. The batteries last a long time, and it's nice for my small hands.

Besides my little paper planner that I get every month from Productive Flourishing, that's it!

Holler if you have questions or want to share what is in your travel tech bag! Zero, zilch, none and no part of this post is sponsored by any of the above mentioned product companies nor would I ever present such a thing. Enjoy!

For more commentary, follow me on Twitter @dbirdy, for more photos peep my Flickr and to see all videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

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