Do you know where your towel is?
Today’s Datanauts episode offers travel advice for IT pros who spend a lot of time on the road. Our three guests have logged millions of miles parachuting in to remote sites, driving to data centers, and flying all over the world to make customers happy.
They share their experiences on how to stay connected, how to maximize space in luggage and equipment cases, and how to get from point A to point B as smoothly as possible.
Our guests also discuss how to get work done when on the road, and how they manage time and tasks when they don’t know where they’ll be next week.
Last but not least, they share tips on maximizing travel programs, and recommend their favorite travel gear, clothing, and cherished accoutrements.
Bonus Tips From Greg Shipley:
I started off with bags that have a lot of compartments, but I could never remember which compartment I put things in. I eventually moved to having one big open bag (with few compartments) and then using smaller organizers to keep things separate. This accomplishes two things:
- I stopped needing to unzip and open a gazillion pockets to find something
- I can keep the smaller things near the object they store. Example: small (computer) cable bag stays near my laptop on the hotel desk, toiletry bag stays in the bathroom, etc. So when it’s time to go, everything goes into the (nearby) little bags, little bags go into the big bag. I can usually clear out of my hotel room in 5 minutes or less now.
Northface basecamp duffel bag – small
- Practically indestructible – mine has been in dozens of countries and logged 100s of thousands of miles
- Does not scream “luggage” / is low profile
- Fits in overhead
- In a pinch, fits UNDER many airplane seats, too
- Toss it on your back or throw it over your shoulder and go
- Was originally a kickstarter.
- A little pricey, but so worth it; you will never again be plagued by a toothpaste explosion
- Protects the laptop while it is packed
- Doubles as a light-weight item to carry your laptop on days you don’t need all of your gear. (shoulder strap included)
- I like having my passport physically on my person, but without advertising it
- I’d recommend the sweatshirt or vest; soft-shell might be too much for a flight
(Computer) Cable bag
- Apple’s approach to international power adapters is superior to everything else I’ve seen
- I make sure I have the right USB connectors, and then use the apple chargers for everything
- If packed cleanly, the cable bag will also reduce the chances of security going through your bag as they won’t see a huge mess of wires everywhere
- I used to keep a Cisco console cable in here and a USB-to-9pin serial, but it’s rare I need that anymore
- I keep a battery in here, too, in case I need a charge: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D36JG3Z/
- Pack light / Travel light: less to lose, less to track. I have lived two weeks out of that north face bag and not felt cramped
- Pack with Layers in mind. Light sweaters, base layers you can wear under dress pants, etc. Helps with keep warm or cool (bay area), but also helps you to diversify your wardrobe / look. (e.g. Wear x shirt one day, wear x shirt with light sweater another day – few people will notice)
- If you are doing multiple meetings with multiple groups, and there isn’t any crossover between people, you can recycle outfits; wear the same thing on Thursday that you did on Tuesday: who cares? Only you know, and you will save a ton of space
- Don’t skimp on underwear; it’s small – just pack 7 pairs for the week – it’s worth it
- Rolling clothes: really helps combat wrinkles
- Have your toiletry bag ready to go at home: not worth packing up your toothbrush every time: just buy a 2nd one and keep it in your toiletry bag. Think of it as a go-bag but for toiletries only
- The clothing cubes serve a second purpose: you can use one of them to start storing your dirty laundry; when you get home pull out the dirty cube, toss it in the laundry, and done! Speeds up unpacking.
- Don’t forget to use the space in your shoes when you pack them: they can both protect more fragile things and can hold things like socks to save space
Most of the time I can pack for a week long trip in under 15 minutes now.
- Snapshot/screen shot boarding passes and tickets on your phone; don’t be that guy who holds up the line because you have to relaunch your app or your signal strength is crap.
- Print things out (boarding pass, hotel info, itinerary, etc.) before you leave if you want to be double sure
- Avoid renting cars whenever possible; trains, Lyft, Uber, etc are great if you are in a city and country that has these
- Hotels vs. AirBnb discussion
- Global Entry is a godsend in the US
- TSA precheck not as good as it used to be, but still faster
- Finally, a wise woman once told me “In a pinch, if you have a passport and a credit card you can typically overcome most problems on the road” which I have found to be true.