I’ve been traveling a lot lately. For the past two years I’ve had the pleasure of attending conferences and events all over the country. As I write this I’m on my way to Nashville to attend the #Blissdom conference. I’m having an unusually comfortable flight due to the fact that nobody is sitting next to me, but I try to make sure that every trip is comfortable by bringing with me what I need to have a restful or productive flight, whichever I’m in the mood for.
Today is pretty typical. I’ve got two bags with me, a purse and a small laptop bag. In my purse I have pretty much what I would have if I were traveling by subway instead of airplane:
- My little not-a-netbook Sony Vaio P Series laptop, running Windows 7. I take this with me pretty much everywhere. It’s so much more comfortable to use on an airplane tray table than a regular-sized laptop (even if the seat in front of me is jammed all the way back), and it‘s much faster than a netbook, running all of my favorite Windows Live programs, like Live Writer and Photo Gallery – everything I need to get a post together mid-flight.
- A back-up battery and power cord for my Sony P.
- The HTC HD7 phone given to me to review by Microsoft. It runs on the slick new Windows Phone 7 operating system, and is the perfect flying companion for mobile entertainment. As I type this, I’ve got my phone propped up on its little kickstand, playing West Wing on its huge, beautiful screen.
- The phone’s wall charger, which has a detachable USB cable. (I love that – one less thing to bring!)
- My favorite Icon headphones, given to me by Lift Audio. I have very small ears (on the inside, anyway) and generally find that headphones designed to stick straight into my ears are completely uncomfortable, and after a while painful. These came with three different little silicon covers so that I could find the one that fits my ears perfectly. I can wear these for hours without even noticing that they’re in. They are passive noise-isolating headphones, meaning they don’t require batteries. The sound is fantastic, especially on an airplane where the sound you want to listen to is competing with the drone of the engines. As a bonus, the wires are not rubber coated, but instead coated with something that feels more like a thin shoelace. They come with a little zippered sport case perfect for throwing in a bag, and it has a carabiner on it so that it won’t get lost.
- My wallet, sunglasses, a small make-up case with the essentials (especially Chapstick and hand lotion – airplane air is ridiculously dry!), and another case with my jewelry – I don’t ever check my jewelry.
- Peanuts. Like a Pavlovian dog with frequent flyer miles, when I get on a plane my mouth starts watering for peanuts. It doesn’t matter that most airlines don’t serve them anymore, I was raised on airplane peanuts. So I bring my own.
- Special K Protein bars. Airport and airplane food is expensive, fattening, and unbelievably tempting. I try to reach for a Special K bar instead. They’re tasty, filling, and only 180 calories.
- Gum and mints. Because you should always have those, not just on airplanes.
So my purse contains everything I need for about 75% of flights. My second bag serves two purposes: it holds the items – mostly electronic – that I would never want to check, and the extra stuff comes in handy on longer flights or airport delays. I love this bag, it’s from PacSafe and has all of the pockets and separators I need to keep my things organized. It can be used over the shoulder, or as a backpack. The strap can even be locked around a pole or piece of furniture if you needed to leave it somewhere for a little while. A note to PacSafe: please get rid of the Velcro on the big flap. I’ve snagged a few items of clothing on it.
Here’s what’s inside:
- A smoke hood. This is something that I initially bought to keep in my bedroom at home in case of a fire. I live in a four-story brownstone, and one of my recurring nightmares is being trapped there, in a fire, with no way to get out, choking on thick black smoke. Then I heard something that really bothered me: in plane crashes and rough emergency landings more people than you might think survive the crash, only to die in the ensuing fire of smoke inhalation. So, I bring my smoke hood with me and put it in the seat-back pocket as soon as I sit down. Paranoid? Sure. And I know it’s not likely to be used. But on the off off chance I should be in such a situation, I don’t want my dying thought to be “If only I’d brought my smoke hood!”
- A sleep mask. I usually get only a couple hours of sleep before an outbound flight, so I often want to take a nap on the plane. The sleep mask is why you usually won’t catch me wearing make-up when I fly.
- My Sony Vaio Y Series laptop. I love this computer. It’s light enough that it’s not a big deal to carry around, but really fast and powerful. Plus, if I bring the extra battery I can get between eight and twelve hours of battery life, depending on the power settings.
- An extra battery and power cord for my Y Series.
- My Verizon Mi-Fi 3G mobile hotspot. The size of a credit card, this can function as a hotspot for up to five devices. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a meeting where I’m the only one able to get online. This privilege isn’t cheap – I pay $60 a month – but there are other options depending on your wireless provider. Some phones can even act as a hotspot for as little as $15 a month.
- A Mophie Powerstation mobile charger, provided to me by Mophie. I can charge this thing up on my laptop, and it holds enough juice to charge my phone at least twice with some left over for my MiFi or just about anything else that can be charged via USB. As a bonus, it somehow charges things much quicker than if I plugged them into my laptop or a wall charger. It has indicator lights to let you know how much charging power is left, so that you can quickly check before throwing it into your bag.
- My Jabra Stone bluetooth earpiece, provided to me by Jabra. If I used bluetooth headsets more often I’m not sure this would be my first choice – it’s not adjustable and can be difficult to use with sunglasses on. But it’s because I rarely use it that I love this one. It sits in its own little charging case, which holds an additional couple of charges. I can throw this into my purse and know that even if I don’t touch it for weeks, it will be ready for me when I need it. It connects easily and quickly every time.
- A totally awesome Omnitech Mini Speaker sent to me by Staples. This little baby gives incredibly rich sound for its size, and especially for its price – $10! Whether I’m watching videos in my hotel room or presenting something to a group of people, this little speaker is a necessity.
- A little travel mouse. Sometimes I just get tired of using the mousepad.
- Magazines and newspapers, for when I’m not allowed to have my gadgets turned on.
- Water. It’s the first thing I buy when I get past security (well, that and a People magazine – I don’t know why). I don’t particularly like drinking water, but on flights it’s essential.
- Socks. On cross-country flights I always take off my shoes and put on socks. I like to be comfortable, and unlike the woman sitting across from me on my last flight home from California, I don’t want the entire plane to have to look at my cracked heels while I’m being comfortable.
- A fold-up canvas bag. You never know when you’ll need an extra bag, just have one on you at all times.
- Printouts of every mode of transportation, every hotel reservation, and every event I’ll be going to. Even though I can look all of that stuff up on my phone, it’s always good to have a back-up on old-school paper.
- And last but not least, my WristStrong bracelet from The Colbert Report. I’m supposed to give it to somebody more famous than I am, and let’s face it, that’s just about anybody. But I’m holding out for someone more famous than Stephen Colbert. It’s such an old bit at this point, I think that’s the only way he’d pay attention. I was tempted to give it to Harry Connick Jr. at last year’s Blissdom, but didn’t want to get in trouble for trying to give him something. I’ve got some interesting meetings and events coming up in the next few months, I just might hand that thing off yet. Or maybe I’ll just hold on to it in case I should ever run into George Clooney.
And that’s it! Those supplies have gotten me through long flights, long delays, and more annoying seatmates than I can count, and I’m in good shape if I have to sit in an airport for hours and hours.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1 (HTC phone, Icon headphones, Mophie Powerstation, Jabra Stone, Omnitech speaker). Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.