Traveling the Right Way

When I travel, the last thing I want is to be caught unprepared with technology. In the past, I've been known to travel with a large backpack full of gear and supplies for the "just in case" moments. Fortunately, as technology matures (and we start to get smart about how we use it), our physical requirements change and we (hopefully) adapt accordingly. We rely more on online services, and less on physical supplies. For example, I no longer carry with me a small stack of DVDs (in case I need to burn something to give to a colleague). Instead, I rely on online services like Dropbox. 

To help you minimize the amount of technology "stuff" you feel you have to carry with you when you travel (and to give you a little insight on how I travel), I thought I would share with you my travel bag and its contents. So, without further adieu...

1) WaterField CitySlicker Case ($170)

I've tried my fair share of bags, cases and sleeves over the years. Some have been good, others not so good. I seem to always be on the hunt for the "perfect bag". The WaterField CitySlicker comes very close to that for me. I like a bag that allows me to carry all my stuff, but is light and slim enough to be relatively inconspicuous. The price tag may sound a bit high for a slim case, but the quality is top notch.

2)  15" Apple MacBook Pro w/ Retina ($2,200)

When the new MacBook Pro w/ Retina was released about 6+ months ago, I really went back and forth between the 15" and the 13". In the end, I decided on the 15" (I prefer the extra screen real estate, and like the added technology advantages that the 13" lacks). As far as available laptops on the market today, my opinion is this is the absolute best for the money. I couldn't work as I do without it. 

3) Apple iPad w/ Retina  ($830)

I really, really like the iPad mini. It's nearly perfect in so many ways. For an every day iPad, however, I rely on my full-sized iPad w/ Retina. I prefer the higher resolution display (over the mini's lower resolution display) and the larger screen for two-handed typing and while remotely controlling other computers and servers. 

4) Apple iPhone 5  ($400)

Not much to say about the iPhone 5 except that it's an integral part of my daily routine. It never leaves my side. 

5) Bose QuietComfort 15 Noise-cancelling Headphones  ($300)

I used to get headaches 70% of the time after flying, regardless of the length of the flight. Most don't realize it, but the human brain is constantly trying to fight off the noise pollution caused by the jet engines.  Not only do these headphones sound fantastic (they are Bose quality, after all), but they do an excellent job at reducing the amount of white noise in the immediate environment. In the case of flying, they have seriously helped reduce the strain on the brain when flying. In other words, the headphones do most of the work of fighting off the noise pollution, leaving the brain to do other things (like work or relax). I rarely get headaches when I fly now.

6) Apple 12-watt USB Charging Brick  ($20)

Both the iPhone 5 and iPad mini come with a 5-watt power charger. The iPad w/ Retina, however, comes with a 12-watt power charger. While the 5-watt won't work on all three devices (only the first two), the 12-watt power adapter will charge all 3 just fine. Not only that, but it will charge the iPhone and iPad mini faster than the included 5-watt charger. For that reason, I carry with me a single 12-watt charger brick. It is said that charging your iPhone or iPad mini with the higher wattage charger over time can cause unnecessary strain on the battery (causing it to fail earlier), so be cautious. My take on that: I will most likely have a new iPhone well before it has a chance to affect my current iPhone's battery. 

7) Apple Lightning Sync Cable  ($20)

The Lightning sync cable is a dual-purpose cable... it provides a way to sync your data as well as to charge your devices. All three of my iOS devices (iPhone 5, iPad w/ Retina and iPad mini) have the Lightning cable connector built in, so I can get away with carrying a single sync cable with my as I travel. This cuts down on the number of supplies I have to keep track of. 

8) Bamboo Stylus Solo ($30)

I don't use it all the time, but I occasionally will use my iPad w/ Retina to whiteboard or diagram various systems or concepts. I could definitely do this with my built-in stylus (index finger), but I prefer my Bamboo Stylus Solo instead. It's one of the better styli I've tested.

9) Jawbone JAMBOX ($180) 

This Bluetooth portable speaker is actually pretty remarkable. It's small (about 150mm wide), light (347 grams), rechargeable (battery lasts about 10 hours!) and very portable. This goes with me every time I travel. Not only is it great for connecting to my iPhone and iPad to play music, podcasts, etc (via Bluetooth or wired audio cable), but it's also great for conference calls. Yes, conference calls! It has a built-in microphone. You can also customize the audible alerts and name of the device via Jawbone's free MyTalk service. This is portable speaker is worth every penny. 

Posted on May 29, 2013 and filed under Opinion.