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Old May 24, 12, 1:54 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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My Top 10 Travel Items (with a bonus or two)

1. Ex Officio underwear. http://bit.ly/eL6jrI
Soft as silk, but durable as iron. Seriously, after 2 years, mine still look like new. Better yet for travellers, they are light as a feather, dry incredibly fast if you need to do a sink basin washing, and odor resistant.

2. Roller blade wheels. http://amzn.to/Ku7JyR
This will probably be the most eyebrow raising item on my list, but the first thing I do when I get new wheeled luggage is to change the wheels out for roller blade wheels. They are far more durable, and the rubbery composition provides some shock absorption, which makes your bag feel likes its gliding along rather than banging along. Best of all, they are *silent* when rolling. I've included an Amazon link here just to give you the idea, but I usually pick them up at my local sporting goods store. The trick here is to make sure you get the proper millimeter sized wheel for your bag. I usually take the OEM wheel with me, so I can do a side by side comparison. I also soemtimes need to make a trip to the local harware store to get a couple of plastic washers to put on either side of the wheel, to keep it centered on the axle properly. Completely depends on the type of luggage wheel I'm replacing.

3. 20 ft extension cord. http://amzn.to/LIJFLP
I know some folks are partial to mini "travel" versions of extension cords, but I have found that for just a minimal increase in bulk, I get not only the ability to multiply 1 outlet into 3, but I can extend it to nearly anywhere I might need to be. Priceless for those times where everyone is huddled around the lone power outlet column at the airport, but even better when I end up in a hotel room that only has one outlet on the other side of the room behind the desk.

4. Scoche dual power adapter with fold flat prong. http://bit.ly/KiW1Gq
The important thing here is that this device provides TWO ports that BOTH provide 2.1A of power (which is far more juice than standard adapters, and is the amount necessary to recharge an iPad or toher modern power hungry device quickly), yet still offers a fold flat prong. As of the date of this posting, this is the only power adapter that combines all these attributes.

5. MiFi. http://bit.ly/jI3oFS
WiFi at airport lounges and hotels usually moves at a snails pace. 4G with Verizon is nearly everywhere I travel, and is almost always faster than the "free" options available to me. Better yet, internet security is a lot better with my own signal. I used to think of this as a luxury item, but no more. The freedom that having high speed internet with me at all times is simply a necessity to get anything done, and well worth the monthly charge.

6. Nook Tablet hacked w Android operating system. http://bit.ly/siIFwL
I think iPads are great, but for my travel purposes, you just can't beat the 7inch Nook Tablet. It has a gorgeous screen, and is plenty big enough to watch movies for hours, yet so small it slips into any cranny in a travel bag. But here's the best part: now it's so easy to hack it to install the full Andoid operating system. You can easily do it yourself...but for the techonogically faint of heart, I've attached the link where you can buy a pre-installed SD card. You just insert the SD card into your Nook, and reboot. Viola. Full Android operating system is installed. You can download any app you want from the Android Market (aka, Google Play store). I also highly recommend the app "MX Player" for watching videos. Lots of easy on-screen video controls, and it will also play avi, mp4, mkv, and lots of other video formats.

7. Tristar/ Skytrain. http://bit.ly/KdYTWu http://bit.ly/a5Al1
Readers of this forum are more than familiar with both these items. I own both. I usually opt for the Tristar, as I like it's looks and I happen to prefer having several pockets to organize my belongings. And it can fit a lot of packing into it...more in fact than my back is usually willing to hoist, so I have to be careful. But when I really need to pack a lot of stuff, I'm always amazed at how much fits into the SkyTrain.

8. Briggs & Riley Rolling Cabin Bag. http://bit.ly/xzLFG1
I've mentioned before that this is the largest bag with wheels that will still also fit into the overhead bin of ALL the tiny regional jets, including the CRJ200s. I usually put my TriStar (or SkyTrain) on top of this bag, allowing me to roll them both, and then I get the best of all worlds. At the gate I put the Tristar (or Skytrain) on my back like a backpack (love that option over a shoulder strap), and retract the rolling handle of the B&R and just pick it up like a briefcase. It really looks small next to the other rollaboards, esp when I'm carrying it by it's handle, and I have never, ever had a gate agent make me curbside check it yet. I can always fit both the B&R AND the Tristar in an overhead bin in even the smallest CRJ, and surprisingly enough, there always seems to be room, since everyone else had to gete check their rollaboard.

9. Velcro Straps. http://bit.ly/KSxZR2
I used to buy these a couple at a time, in various colors. Then one day as Iwandered down the aisle at Home Depot, I discovered I could buy them in bulk. Less than 10 bucks gives me a roll of dozens and dozens of these. These attach to any cord or cable, and allows you to wind up your cord and then secure it with the velcro strap. No more tangled mess in your carry on bags. But the more I use them, the more uses I find. For example, when I set my TriStar on top of my Briggs and Riley rolling bag, I use one of these velcro straps to secure the handle on my Tristar to the telescoping handle of my B&R.

10. Roku. http://bit.ly/JuSGCS
OK, this one actually *is* a luxury item. But it only costs $9 - $99 bucks...luxury on a budget. I opted for the XS model, only because it has a USB port that supports playing a video file from a thumb key, and it also plays .mkv video files (which is a popular format with the crowd that uploads video content onto the web). But any of them will allow you to stream your Netflix, Amazon prime, or home computer content right onto your hotel TV. See bonus pick #12 below for more.

11. The World's Thinnest HDMI cable. http://bit.ly/q2lXQz
OK, if you've managed to read this far, then you've earned a bonus pick! This cable makes packing my Roku much simpler. If you've ever dealt with the high end "Monster"
brand HDMI cables, you know how thick and bulky (and hard to pack) they can get.

12. Plex Media App. http://bit.ly/YkIX
It takes some effort to get it installed on your home computer, but once you do, you can stream ANY video you have saved on your home computer to virtually any mobile device or laptop that can install the Plex viewing app. The Roku player will let you play videos from your computer at home onto your TV screen in your hotel in hi-def! No more extortion fees to the hotel for watching a movie. Now you're all set with NoPay-Per-View.
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Old May 24, 12, 7:04 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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love the list

except for #1.... but that's personal taste.

May I add a compression bag to the list?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00

for when you don't feel like folding dirty laundry... I don't use it for "going out" but quite necessary for me when coming back......

Last edited by Mellonc; May 24, 12 at 7:06 pm.. Reason: added content
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Old May 24, 12, 7:27 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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thanks for the tip on the USB power adapter. I've been wanting a multi-usb power adapter, but all of the usual suspects have a fixed prong. this looks like the perfect travel accessory.
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Old May 24, 12, 7:57 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 250
Thank you for taking the time to post that.

Completely agree about the utility of the Roku XS. I love it for turning my hotel TV into a Pandora player. If I need to work under deadline and don't want distractions of lyrics, I tune to Pandora + my "Explosions in the Sky" "station". They are the Austin TX band behind the instrumental music of the TV series Friday Night Lights. First heard/saw them perform on David Letterman.
http://www.explosionsinthesky.com/
Otherwise it's Snow Patrol or One Eskimo Pandora 'station'. The $35 / year for Pandora prime is SO worth not hearing their ads though. I canceled XM since discovering Pandora, my personal DJ.

Power accessibility has confounded my Roku / Pandora addiction twice on trips though. ex: I was on a 9 days work trip in Vegas, and all the outlets were taken near the TV. The Venetian hotel wanted to charge something like $20 / day for it + a delivery fee for a power strip. I already needed my extension cord near the desk because ALL outlets were taken near the desk! I asked the Venetian manager on duty how could they possibly expect someone to work at the work desk without any outlets available. So he said he would comp me the power strip. Then, when a member of the AV team showed up to give me the power strip, he said he could not comp me after all. I said never mind I'll go to Walgreens. Never did make it to Walgreens...

I also love my battery powered ZyXEL router. Plug it into the wired hotel's wired ethernet and I'm surfing wirelessly at 802.11 'n' speed. Tiny. Another reason to get the wireless Roku.

ZyXEL MWR211 802.11n Battery Powered Mobile Wireless Router
http://amzn.to/KeQ9PT
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Old May 24, 12, 8:50 pm   #5
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 11
Very nice items mentioned so far.

Here are 5 from me.

1. Caldera Neck Rest http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055VISWQ/...sce_3p_dp_i1_B

This is an absolute must for me as it saves my neck on those long flights from US to Europe.

2. ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Tee http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o04_s00_i00
Like thegasguru mentioned about the underwear. The shirt is terrific. Very light, durable and comfortable.

3. Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Mobile Locker
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o01_s00_i01
My favorite luggage if you want to call it that. This is a wonderful travel bag. I take it everywhere. I use it for to many things. Here is a good link that shows a few things it is good for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-iNb_bgtcU

4. Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Headphones http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o02_s00_i00

These are my favorite headphones to take. They adjust well and are comfortable. Not the lightest headphones but they fit very nice in my air boss.

5. Bucky Identigrip Luggage Id Tag http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003FZB4QG/..._cs_sce_dp_1_B

This is a lifesaver for an easy way to identify my Briggs and Riley Transcend Luggage when I check it and have to find it at baggage claim.
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Old May 25, 12, 7:14 am   #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellonc View Post
except for #1.... but that's personal taste.

May I add a compression bag to the list?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00

for when you don't feel like folding dirty laundry... I don't use it for "going out" but quite necessary for me when coming back......
As long as we're sharing tips, let me add this: I *DO* use those compression bags for my outbound trip on occasion. If I have item that I absolutely do not want to get wrinkled (maybe a tux shirt, or a sport coat, or an overnight one day trip where I don't feel like messing with the hotel iron) I will place my carefully folded item into the compression bag, and then seal the bag with just a little bit of air still left in it. The sealed bag then acts like a shock absorber cushion, and the contents can NOT get squished. Try it! It takes up a little extra space, but not a lot.
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Old May 25, 12, 7:21 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MareLuce View Post
Power accessibility has confounded my Roku / Pandora addiction twice on trips though.
I didn't mention it in my OP, but I also travel with one of these tiny outlet multipliers: http://amzn.to/KTkKzC

For those rare times when I need even more plugs available than my 20 foot extension adpater can provide.

And ya gotta love Vegas and there surcharge for everything.
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Old May 25, 12, 11:32 am   #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegasguru View Post
As long as we're sharing tips, let me add this: I *DO* use those compression bags for my outbound trip on occasion. If I have item that I absolutely do not want to get wrinkled (maybe a tux shirt, or a sport coat, or an overnight one day trip where I don't feel like messing with the hotel iron) I will place my carefully folded item into the compression bag, and then seal the bag with just a little bit of air still left in it. The sealed bag then acts like a shock absorber cushion, and the contents can NOT get squished. Try it! It takes up a little extra space, but not a lot.
doesn't the bag blow up in the air? like a bag of potato chips that get really full when up in the air???

in any case, it's worth a try. I have an OCD on not wrinkling my shirts and jackets....
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Old May 25, 12, 1:07 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellonc View Post
doesn't the bag blow up in the air? like a bag of potato chips that get really full when up in the air???

in any case, it's worth a try. I have an OCD on not wrinkling my shirts and jackets....
Sure it expands a bit, but only if there is room. The pressure difference isn't nearly enough to cause it to "pop". Plus, air might slip out the valve that you use to compress it. And I don't think the previous post suggested that the bag be fully inflated - just have some air in it. Note that it's possible that the expansion that happens would press on the items outside of the bag some - but probably not enough to matter either.
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Old May 25, 12, 6:16 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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iPad and a iPad to hdmi converter. I can watch the shows on my I pad on any hdmi ready tv in the world. Particularly handy when i travel with my small kids.
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Old May 25, 12, 8:00 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oshelef View Post
Sure it expands a bit, but only if there is room. The pressure difference isn't nearly enough to cause it to "pop". Plus, air might slip out the valve that you use to compress it. And I don't think the previous post suggested that the bag be fully inflated - just have some air in it. Note that it's possible that the expansion that happens would press on the items outside of the bag some - but probably not enough to matter either.
Well, I almost never check baggage, so this is in the overhead bin with me in the pressurized cabin. So expansion isn't a problem.

Still, by leaving a minimal amount of air in it, even if you did check the bag and it inflated some, it's still tucked neatly inside your luggage, and it would just be that much more effective in preventing wrinkles. I can't imagine that it would ever inflate enough to pop. The very worst case scenario - and I don't believe the laws of physics would allow this - is that the bag ruptures. So what. Now you've got a folded shirt packed neatly inside your suitcase that no longer has an airbag around it.
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Old May 25, 12, 8:33 pm   #12
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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1 Acer T1830 with HDMI out (Netflix, Slingbox app) with 256GB SSD
2) Moto Photon (Slingbox app)
3) Micro HDMI -> HDMI thin cable (I'll have to check out the hyperthin) + Micro to HDMI adapter so I can connect to HDMI on Acer or Photon
4) Energizer XP18000 external laptop/USB battery
5) 4G Mifi Hotspot
6) Zyxel MWR102 travel router
7) RedOxx CPA
8) Tom Bihn yarn small yarn bag (to hold cables, power supply...)
9) Tom Bihn tray/bag for organizing at destination
10)* Emerge Technologies Universal NetBook Charger for Wall, Car and Plane (charges USB, my computer & external battery)
11) REI fold into pocket travel duffel for extra bag, hauling food/drink into hotel, laundry runs, put jacket into when in terminal, put at feet in airplane to hold items so they don't become lost... The one I have I love and they don't make it anymore.
12)* flip prong USB charger (I need to look at OP's recommendation)
13) I make my own extension cords from appliance cord (at Home Depot Lowe's) - 1 about 15" long that goes in the yarn bag and a longer 6' one that stows in a separate bag. I bring 1 3-plug tap as well. They are less bulky/more flexible/pack easier than regular extension cords. I don't use these internationally and take a 220V rated travel strip for intl.
14) some s-biner carabiners to attach items to CPA

*items that go in the yarn bag which are in one of the end pockets for the RedOxx CPA - attached via S-Biner.
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Old May 26, 12, 9:25 am   #13
 
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duct tape. How can you NOT carry this??? Takes up little space (pack around and inside it) and can do sooooo much!
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Old May 26, 12, 11:32 am   #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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One other item. Zip ties. Like your Velcro recommendation, obviously I only a one time use.
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Old May 26, 12, 12:15 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slidergirl View Post
duct tape. How can you NOT carry this??? Takes up little space (pack around and inside it) and can do sooooo much!
Well this is a travel essential. The only reason I didn't mention it originally was because I was rounding out my top 10.

I take my duct tape off of the original roll it came on, and then roll it up on itself so that there is no "hole" in the center of the roll (ie, like rolling the tape around, say, a pencil, only I don't even use a pencil, just start rolling it up on itself). I can carry several feet of duct tape in my bag and it only takes up a couple of inches of space.
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