(Thanks to various flyertalk members for may of these gems)
I may keep updating this list as I remember more.
*) My bag of choice: Gate8 Trifold wheeled bag
Why is it the best for me: Wheeled, no shoulder pain. Fits on all airlines overheads including small jets including europe. Easily fits in a suit, a jacket and enough clothes + shoes for a 5 day trip. Has a detachable laptop bag which is uber cool. Its a garment bag, so it keeps everything crease-free (I don't like the bundle packing
method - never works for me, looks ugly)
*) My accessory gizmo organizer:
12x8. You can see how I use it here
Why is it best for me: Keeps all my accessories in one place, fits flat into my laptop bag for easy access.
Updated Sep 2016:
Replaced with Tumi utility pack. I've downsized my gizmos
*) My key gizmos that have been a huge help:
(only listing the unique ones, all of these and more fit into my cocoon organizer)
Why is it best for me: matchbox sized, helps me use a single hotel wifi with all my devices. (My Amazon Review is here
- note the one disadvantage) - Updated Dec 2013: This issue has been fixed by their new firmware as of Dec 2013
. The flattest adapter you can find in the market.
Why is it best for me: Given that I need to layer my accessories into the same compartment as my latop, I need it to be as flat as possible. Update: Aug 2013:
It seems this adapter may not work in countries that require a ground/earth 3rd prong. I haven't experienced problems but please watch out for this and validate it.
*) My list of packable clothing to keep you warm while outside and not sweat while inside
. Needs to work when wearing a suit:
Base layer: Ice-breaker 200 long sleeve
Why is it best for me: Excellent base layer, soft, keeps me warm when outside in winter and keeps me from feeling too hot when in temperature controlled rooms. Can be reused for multiple days without smell. Easy to hand wash and dries quickly. If you don't like wool, take a look at Under Armor.
I've started using Uniqlo heat-tech base layers
(Ice breaker is great, but gets a little uncomfortable when you are in heated room). Very satisfied with it.
*) under wear: Ex-officio
, Ex-offico, Ex-officio. Simply put the best under garments in town.
After several uses, I realized the synthetic material was not as comfortable as regular cotton, so went back to normal cotton ones. I still use these on occasion.
*) Coat: the Tumi
microfiber II insulated jacket.
Why is it best for me: Very packable and light, keeps me warm even at 30 degrees and high winds even without a base layer. Looks acceptable on suits as well as informals. (I can't take one for each type of dressing!). Only issue I found is the zipper is bad - unexpected given its name. I replaced the #5 zippers with #8 YKK
: If politicians can always do roundabouts, so can I. Its a piece of crap. Well, okay, not that great. I now use the arcteryx atom AR. Doesn't looks acceptable on suits, though.
*) My choice of in-air ear phones
ear phones with active noise cancelling. Update June 2013:
I lost the pair recently in a trip. I am not holding off for the http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/11871cf05c62c838/index.html - same as above, but adds a microphone - which is useful to answer/make calls.
Why is it best for me: Excellent noise canceling, very light weight, I can sleep with it (I ditched my Bose QC because its great, but not NINJA optimized
- too bulky and you can't sleep on your side, especially if you are traveling business on a flat bed). A Modification: I replaced its ear buds and attached the air-bud ear-buds
making it much more comfortable.
Updated Dec 2013:
I've replaced it with the
--> I find audio quality similar but the Bose noise canceling is superior. And unlike old Bose QC models, this one is in-ear, incredibly comfortable and can work even without batteries (obviously NC won't work)
*)My overflow bag
: (Updated Mar 4 2013)
I currently use a packable wanderlite
, but I'll soon be changing to the
. I think it's better. (Update Jun 2013)
. I switched. See http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/20373126-post24.html.
Why is it best for me: Stuff happens, towards the end of the trip, you may pick up something new. Your kids way want a new toy, your wife may want a new dress, you may want those new bottles of booze that are great in that country.... These bags pack into very small spaces and I stuff them inside my one bag, should the need ever arise.
*) Essential electronics:
1) My Macbook (Air or Pro)
2) iPad Mini Retina display with the Zagg slim book detachable keyboard
( I used the logitech keyboard folio before - Zagg has several advantages over it, but the logitech has a better keyboard)
Edited: Sep 26:
After 3 replacements of the ZAGG, I've concluded their engineering doesn't live up to the promise. It failed the long term durability test - the magnets kept popping out (weak glue) and gluing them back never really worked well. Anyway, nowadays Apple has their own keyboards. I can't recommend ZAGG anymore.
3) My iPhone
(I really don't need to put a why above, would be obvious)
*) Essential Travel Apps:
1) Google Translate
Why is it best for me: Helps me figure out if I'm eating frog or chicken or snake in countries that don't speak english. It also allows you to speak a language and translates to english (so sometimes, I ask the waiter to speak, and then I see what the translation is). Also speaks out the translation (helps when I scream Oooo-eeee! when it really should sound more like Wi)
2) Stuff I'm not listing: checkin apps of various airlines for mobile boarding passes
3) Google Maps:
Why is it best for me: I can't survive without a GPS, and it has a useful walking mode.
4) Word Lens
: Great tool to convert between French, German, Italian, Spanish and English
: now part of Google translate app)
5) WayGo Translate
- for Chinese to English
*) My notebook
- in this day and age of digitization, it really is not important to carry thick planners. At the same time, its often not appreciated typing away
on your keyboard as your customer speaks to you (you lose eye contact and the tapping is irksome). So I carry a compact leather cover - you can slip any notepad into it. Has a place for a pen, and cards.
Looks professional, takes very less space. I picked one up from Target - probably as large as a kindle 3G. I never exhaust that pad in a single trip.
*) My neck-pillow choice:
I bought it from an airport store, but it's very similar to the Evolution pillow
- it may even be the same one. I've tried many types and this is the only one that gives me the support I need. It's a little bulky but highly recommended if you are not traveling first/business
*) My toiletries pack:
Just a 1 gallon ziploc - always in my front pocket for easy access.
*) Shaving tools:
CO Bigelow (Proraso) shaving cream and the Muhle Silvertip v2 travel brush
(If you think badger brushes are the best, you need to try this synthetic. Really)
*) My ninja packing tips:
1) I never pack for more than 5 days. If my trip goes beyond that I laundry.
My 5 day business trip pack includes: 2 (typical) -3 (not often) shirts, 1 suit, 1 pair of shoes (optional), undergarments, my base layer clothes, 2 t-shirts, one jeans, my outerwear jacket - all in my bag of choice
*) My ninja checkin tips:
1) Keep your laptop in a top open accessible system - so you can bend and pull it out while on the move
2) Keep your toiletries in a transparent pouch and again easily accessible to pull out - DON'T stuff it inside your clothes
3) Wear loafers not laces shoes - easy to slip out of
4) While in line, I take my watch, wallet, phone and put it into my jacket pocket and zip it up - easier than putting it in a separate box while taking it away on the other side
5) Utilize your time in the security line to keep your bags ready to pull out the stuff that needs to be scanned
6) Always know where your important stuff is - your wallet, your phone, your ticket, your ID - so you don't waste time.
*) My ninja travel comfort tips while in the flight (applies when I am flying economy. For business class travel, I drink more!):
1) Don't drink in flights less than 5 hrs. It dehydrates. Drink 2 and go to sleep for longer flights (it helps you go to sleep)
2) Listen to soothing music along with noise-cancellation earphones is a great help. I tried white noise apps - did not work for me. My soothing music
of choice: Sungha-Jung
or David Garrett
(This changes from time to time)
3) I always pop a claritin-D before 5+ hours travel flights.
*) Under Armor compression top --> wicks and dries fast
*) NB Minumus shoes. see this
post. Has a nice vibram sole and packs flat. Does not have any heel protection though, so you need to be careful if you are into very active routines.
*) I use
for workout earphones - stays on for active routines as well (I do P90x and it works just fine). If money is not a concern, I'd recommend you go with the jaybird bluebirds X instead.