Evangelists arrive at airport gates with just enough time to board. They have stockpiles of frequent flyer miles and memberships in a variety of hotel loyalty programs. They know exactly how to pack their bag depending on where they’re heading and for how long. I asked a few fellow road warriors what ends up in their travel kits when they prepare to head out.
The most common items are a supplemental battery pack like a Mophie Juice Pack or Zagg Sparq for those moments when your phone is at 5% and you’re trying to map your way back to the hotel, a variety of display adapters for plugging in to monitors and projectors, a mobile hotspot, a notebook, and some kind of portable speaker for jams.
Porter Haney, Wedgies
My kit operates on a few premises – preparation, conversation starters, and more preparation.
- Trucker Hat, because they’re god damn functional. They keep the sun out, they let the head breath, and when you stick wedgies.com on them people start to ask you questions. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Dermatone, there’s a reason the USA Ski Team and the Army use this stuff. It’s built for the tough job of keeping your ugly mug looking good through hours of wear and tear in the outdoors. It also doubles as paint for black light parties.
- Camera, or the training brick as we affectionately call it when you carry it around in your backpack day all. This thing is heavy, but it’s worth every ounce. Some of the best pictures in life come when you least expect them. Having a camera on you at all times means you get to make the most of those moments.
- Beads, or other party accessory. You never know when a party is just going to break out around you. You don’t want to be the guy sitting in the corner practicing how fast he can text imaginary people. You want to be slinging party favors with the best of ’em. Put some of these bad boys in your pocket and you’ll never again be left out of the fun.
- My Mophie Juice Pack and my iPhone go together like PBJ. This battery helps the iPhone achieve what it was meant to, live in your pocket all day, under heavy use, and not go dead at 7 PM.
- Moleskin Notebook, some people like to take notes in their phone, and then promptly forget they took notes in their phone. Writing notes down the old fashioned way insures that you’ve got a record that only fire can abscond with.
- A pocket knife is critical to all kits. It’ll save hide more times than you’ll be able to count. Just stick it in your pocket and it’ll be there when you need it.
- My trusty Liz Kuz wallet. Liz is an artist, and when she has leftover paintings, she cuts them up and sews them into billfolds. It’s a great way to start a conversation with a bar tender or barista. Plus, this thing is part of my personality. I mean, would you just look at those mountains?
My evangelist toolkit has:
- Android Charger
- iPhone 4 & 5 charger
- Power adapter for travel in foreign countries
- Ethernet cable
- AA Batteries
- Portable speakers
- Bluetooth mouse
- Surge protector
- USB thumb drive
- Disposable tooth brushes
- Contact solution
- Granola bars
I also carry these things for work stuff:
- Envelopes (receipts, biz cards, etc)
- Notepad / Moleskin
- Lanyard with my name on it
- SendGrid sweatband (for when I’m coding so hard, I get my sweat on)
Neil Mansilla, Mashery
- Zagg Sparq 2.0 — battery, iPhone and iPad juice
- Jawbone Jambox (small) — music is essential, be it for the hotel room, small gathering or a hackathon
- PJs — hospital scrub pants.
- Advil — nothing sucks like a headache.
- Travel charger with USB ports
- Adapters and more adapters — VGA, DVI and Ethernet
- Knife — no native Detroiter would be caught dead without his favorite shank
Andrew Mager, Spotify
It’s crazy because I travel so light. For SxSW all I had was a book bag.
- Half the amount of tee shirts I need
- Phone and computer charger
- A few socks
I never rock the Mophie
Martyn Davies, SendGrid
For me, and particularly after being in the US, I went shopping and added some bits:
- SwissGear Backpack
- Nexus 4 (for use abroad)
- Macbook Air
- Mac power adapter now with multiple country adapters
- Multiple country power adapter
- Battery pack with dual USB
- 3G MiFi for UK
- Headphones: Over ear Sennheiser HD25 MK2
- 32GB USB stick with various backup software on, editors, DMGs for an emergency reinstall etc
- SIM Card Wallet with various Euro/UK pay as you go SIM cards
- Evernote moleskine notepad
- Neurofen — for my dome
- Paracetamol — for my soul
- Multivitamins — for my vitality and healthy coat
- Imodium — for when the hack day food ain’t so great
- Soluble Vitamin C (Emergen-C or whatever) – for my immune system
- A sharpie
- A pen
- Spare USB chargers and various USB of different sizes
Paul Osman, SoundCloud
My essential travel kit includes:
- Macbook Air
- Power Adapter
- iPhone cable
- DVI & VGA to Mini Displayport adapter
- Ethernet to mini displayport adapter (you’d be surprised!)
- One technical book and one non-technical book
The non-technical book reminds me to take time out while on the road and just kick back with a mug of tea and read something not related to my work.
Amit Jowani, Mashery
- Battery pack – Mophie or similar (I am currently using Zagg)
- MiFi Hotspot device
- Stickers & similar pocket schwag
- Cables, Chargers & display adapters
- Ethernet to USB adapter
- iPad Mini – primarily my reading device – reading on the plane.
- Business Cards
- Travel Power Converter
- I have created ziploc bags by countries containing currency, local transit cards etc.
- External Hard Drive – backup etc.
- Protein bars
- Umbrella/Rain poncho
Brandon West, SendGrid
Like Andrew Mager, I try to travel as lightly as I can. If I travel with more than a backpack, it’s because I’ll be gone for more than four days or because I’ll be bringing some delicious local craft beer with me back to Colorado for the beer cellar.
I usually don’t bring adapters with me. I’ve never ended up at an event where there was not an adapter available or one that I can borrow.
The things I can’t travel without:
- External battery pack. I held out on this one for a long time but it’s now a crucial part of my kit. I get lost without my phone.
- Aspirin. Easy on the liver and good for headaches.
- Kindle. It’s lightweight and you can add new content as needed. Books are burritos for your brain.
- Earplugs. You never know when you’ll end up sitting next to the engine on a turboprop plane or staying at a hotel right by the train tracks.
- Stainless steel ring that I bought in South Africa. It reminds me of where I’ve been and where I’m going, but more importantly I can open beers with it.
As you can tell, there are a lot of options when you’re loading up your kit for a trip. I’d like to thank all of the awesome contributors for taking the time to write up what they tend to pack.
What can’t you live without when you’re out on the road? Let us know in the comments!