I never planned on being a road warrior, but these days I think I qualify for the title. These past two years I have been refining and honing the set of gear that goes with me in my carry-on suitcase and laptop bag. Here (complete with affiliate links) is what I take with me. An ASTERISK is for the things you didn’t know you needed.
Universal TV Remote*
Inteset INT-422 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote
Why? Because you want to be able to change the input on your hotel TV so you can watch things on your Amazon Fire. This unit is surprisingly well constructed, and finding the right code for your hotel TV is a cinch. I stay in Hilton chain hotels and they all seem to be LG TVs so I never have to change between codes, but this has quick access buttons for four different devices.
The only weakness with the Roku is that it is sometimes tricky to connect to the hotel WiFi but I can usually make it work. I connect this up to the HDMI port on the hotel TV, and use my universal remote to select the HDMI input.
Combination Wall Charger and Backup Battery
Combine your back-up battery with a wall-charger. One less thing to forget, or lose.
If you fly too much, you already know. These are practically a membership badge for road warriors.
MARATHON CL030036WH Atomic Travel Alarm Clock
I like to have hard switches on alarm clocks, to know absolutely one-hundred-percent for sure that they are set to “on”. This has some nice extra features such as temperature and atomic time setting.
Magnet Mount for Cell Phone
Dashboard Mount TechMatte MagGrip
My wife and I use magnetic mounts in both of our cars, and I take a mount with me when I travel. You stick a thin metal plate onto the back of your phone. The mount has a powerful magnet to hold the phone in place without any clips. This one has a gel base to help it achieve suction. However, it is worth noting that many new cars have textured vinyl on the dash and the base does not stick well to these. Instead I stick the base on the window. The downside of the gel is that it can pick up dust and dirt. You can wash it off with soap and water.
Having a crash in a rental car can be much more of a hassle than having one in your own car, whatever coverage you do or donât sign up for. If you are a sensible driver then capturing the truth of what happened on camera is probably a good idea. This dash cam turns on and stays on the whole time you are driving. In some countries a majority of drivers on the road have these running. It isn’t just about property damage and civil liability. A dash cam can be useful to establish the truth of what happened in front of your car in any situation. This model has one fatal flaw – every few weeks it loses all its settings and goes back to factory defaults, including not starting automatically when the car is started. I haven’t found a better model yet.
Car charger with QuickCharge 3
Quick Charge 3.0 AUKEY Car Charger
I have gone through many, many, many car chargers. This one puts out enough juice to charge my phone while I am using it as a GPS and phone at the same time.
I prefer a spinner (4 wheels) to a rollaboard (2 wheels) because I can pull it sideways. Iâve switched to soft-shell so I can squeeze in irregularly shaped items and because it is more forgiving of overfilling. My main requirements in a suitcase are for ruggedness of the case, of the wheels, of the handle. And of course it needs to be no more than 22 x 14 x 9 including handles and wheels.
CoolBELL 15.6 Inch Messenger Bag
Key features: a strap at the back so it can be mounted on the carry-on handle; it should not be much wider than your carry-on (14 inches) so it doesn’t bang into people in the aisle seats; rugged construction. Overall it should be no more than 18 x 14 x 8 inches to qualify as your “personal item”.
YAMIU Travel Shoe Bags Set of 4
You want to be able to put your shoes in any compartment without worrying about getting your clothes dirty. These are the key.
AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set
I use one of these for the gadgets I use in my hotel room, and another for the gadgets for my car. I keep both in my laptop case. As soon as I get into my rental car, I pull this out, and set up my dash cam, bluetooth speakerphone, phone mount and charger.
Outdoor Research Ultralight Compr Sk 15L
When flying domestically the weight of your carry-on generally wonât be an issue. These are great for cramming in some things which are compressible and which you donât mind creasing.
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow
I have always been a side sleeper and I prefer a very low profile pillow. Big puffy hotel pillows donât work well. This pillow rolls up and has its own compression cinch. I actually opened up the seam and took out some filling to make it even thinner.
3D Sleep Mask by PrettyCare
For when the hotel shades donât get the room dark enough. Thereâs a load of sleep research showing that you will sleep better in cool, very dark environments. These help with the dark part.
Braun Series 7 7865cc Men’s Electric Foil Shaver
I have a fairly stiff beard, and it took me years to find a shaver which worked well without pinching or hurting. This one rocks. It comes with a âcleaning stationâ which cleans and lubricates after each shave. I donât take the cleaning station on the road. While traveling, after each shave, I open it up, tap out the shavings, the brush it out, then reassemble and run under hot water with the shaver on, then disassemble and allow to dry. I know I just listed a lot of steps, but this takes maybe 20 seconds after a shave.
Oral-B Black Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
These last and last and do a great job. I see no point in buying the higher end ones â I donât want some Bluetooth enabled tracking of my brushing habits, nor do I need ten brushing modes. The only brushing mode I need is, “clean my teeth.” I used the high end Sonicare for years, but am happy I switched to this.
Silicone Liquid Containers
Kitdine Portable Soft Silicone Travel bottles
These hold the TSA maximum 100ml (3.4 oz). I like these because they generally donât leak, and it is easy to disassemble and wash them out.
DRY PAK WB-3 Roll Top Dry Gear Bag
No-one wants the liquids they carry to leak all through their luggage. Iâve tried ziplocks, silicone ziplocks and a bunch of other solutions. So then I thought, why not use the dry-bag I take sailing? Sure enough this will NEVER leak. And it is super tough.
I often travel between warm and cold climates. I make it a rule to wear the warm layers on the plane rather than trying to pack them. I also have items that are both very warm and very low volume.
Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain Vest
The perfect middle layer
Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Hooded Jacket
Super light weight, super warm outer layer with compact synthetic down and heat reflective inner layer
Mesh Laundry Bag
I take a small laundry bag with me. I keep the dirty laundry in the compression sack.
Because they don’t put cutlery in your hotel room. Because you often can’t find a fork in the ER.
TSA Pre-check / Global Entry
If you travel regularly you really need to have one of these. TSA pre-check covers you for domestic travel only. Global Entry covers you for domestic and international. You won’t believe how much time and hassle you will save.
I use my check-list every time I pack. I update it regularly, it helps me avoid leaving something I need at home or, worse, in the hotel room.
On my checklist: Melatonin and benadryl for sleep, 6 pairs underpants, 6 pairs socks, 4 scrub tops, 1 polo, 2 pairs pants, workout top and shorts, 2 pairs shoes, toiletries (in sailing dry bag), baby wipes, earbuds, gym pass, pegs for keeping blinds closed in hotel rooms.