post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Handy Travel Gadgets for Geeky Business Travelers


Road Warrior Tools for Business Travel

I’ve been racking up quite a few frequent flyer miles on business travel lately.  So today I figured I’d share some of the essential tools and gadgets from my road warrior toolbox.  These are the tools and gadgets I’ve come to absolutely rely on – the ones that make me more productive when I’m sky-riding at 35,000 feet, waiting in an airport lounge, or driving a rental car somewhere between here and there.  And since I’m a bit of a geek, the list certainly has a geeky twist to it.

  1. Travelpro Crew 7 Expandable Rollaboard Suitcase – Hey, if it was good enough for George Clooney in the movie ‘Up in the Air,’ it’s good enough for me.  But in all seriousness, I have gone through my fair share of luggage and this is the perfect suitcase for the hardcore road warrior.  It’s big enough to cram a week’s worth of clothing into and small enough to use as a carry-on.
  2. Cradlepoint CTR-350 Cellular Travel Router – The CTR-350 is a great mobile Broadband/Wi-Fi router.  It’s designed to use a mobile broadband data device (I’m using Sprint’s 595U) and provide access to it via Wi-Fi.  It works right out of the box in the default configuration, though you probably want to enable wireless security after testing it out, or else everyone will have access to it.
  3. Sprint Aircard 595U – Okay, so I figured I couldn’t make my CTR-350 recommendation in bullet #2 without also mentioning the awesome mobile broadband device I use with it.  I been through a few different mobile broadband devices over the last few years and this is by far my favorite.  It’s fast, reliable, and easy to configure.  It gives me endless hours of fast broadband access on the go, which is precisely what I require.  Note: My company also let me try the Sierra Wireless Overdrive Hotspot. And while cool in concept, it just doesn’t work as reliably as the CTR-350 and 595U do in combination.
  4. Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle – I know, I know… Why own both, right?  Well, I owned a Kindle for reading books and then I went out and bought an iPad for everything else.  The Kindle is still better for reading books, but the iPad is much more versatile.  I rarely take both with me on the road at the same time, but I always have one or the other.  It just depends on whether I think I’ll be doing more book reading or more online reading, tweeting, etc.
  5. MacBook Pro 13.3 Inch Laptop – It’s small, super quick, reliable, versatile… pretty much the best darn laptop I have ever owned.  And it looks sexy too.  If you don’t own a MacBook yet, you should consider giving this one a try.
  6. Kensington iPhone Battery Pack and Charger (and my iPhone) – The iPhone is a no-brainer.  But what’s the best accessory I’ve ever purchased for my iPhone?  Well, that would be the Kensington iPhone Battery Pack and Charger.  It’s compatible with the iPhone 3GS/3G/2G, some iPods, and any mobile device with a mini-USB connector.  I have charged my iPhone from empty to full with this life saving road warrior device many times.
  7. Dropbox – This online file storage service works flawlessly and is extremely easy to integrate.  It allows me to grab documents, presentations, custom scripts, etc. and view them on my iPad or Macbook on the go.  Dropbox also allows me to create public links to my files (even really large files) so I can share them with others via email or social media.
  8. Persol 2720 Sunglasses – Polarized crystal lens guaranteed to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays wherever you are.  Oh, and James Bond wears them too.  So yeah, I feel ten times cooler when I have them on.
  9. Multi-Use Car Charger – Because a cell phone with no battery juice is useless when your rental car breaks down on the side of the road during a long road trip.  My multi-use car charger allows me to charge up to four devices at once.  This unit turns one auto cigarette lighter port into two, has two USB charging ports, and provides a heavy-duty 20 amp capacity.
  10. Small Moleskine Notebook – These days, almost all of my work is performed digitally on my Macbook or iPad, but when it comes time for a brainstorming session my Moleskine notebook is my tool of choice.  The analog nature of the Moleskine notebook and a ballpoint pen somehow sets my mind free when I need to grind out a few new ideas.  And it’s so ultra portable, I pretty much bring it with me wherever I go.

What are some of the best travel gadgets and tools you’ve used recently?  Do you have any additional recommendations for us geeky business travelers?  Please share them with us in the comments.

Photo by: Victor

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16 Comments

  • As much as Digital technology has come I still love to write things by hand from time to time. I keep a small pad handy for notes and reminders. Very important tool!

    I’ve heard a lot about Dropbox. I might have to give it a try.

  • I lurk your blog for the simple reason that your posts normally bend my mind and force it to expand. Although understandably this post has nothing to do with my mind being bent - my point is i miss your style of writing when you cover things like “how to be a better person” or “how to accomplish your dreams”.

    Cheers

  • ahh the iPad/Kindle. Amazing beautiful products. I know I want a kindle but am still undecided on the iPad. My inner geek craves it but is it really necessary?

  • I’m a little scared. With more of us reverting to the digital age and using more and more digital mediums, My mind starts to wonder what if…

    What if all of a sudden all power goes away. For sake of argument. We wont have power as we do today for the next 200 years. What will happen to our history. All that information we spent so many hours to preserve.

    Paper and books seem to have survived for so long. No power needed. So what happens when our backup power is gone?

  • I am newly in love with packing cubes (mine are Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Cube Organizer). These make packing so easy and keep your clothes fairly wrinkle-free. Plus it is harder to forget things when you pack this way. Love, love, love the cubes.

  • Ok, I’m going to hafta agree with Astra, I thoroughly enjoy your writings when it comes to self help and development. Although I agree, the I phone, and Mac 13′ is a must, anything supporting the i-phone is also a must!

    Cheers,
    -Parker

  • I don’t have any travel gadgets to share but I do travel a lot with my pen and notebook. I find I get a lot of good ideas for article writing when I’m spending long hours at the airport.

    I also tend to meet some really interesting folks when traveling, so I like to jot down my thoughts, experiences and conversations in the notebook for future reading.

    Last time I was on a plane to Chicago, I met a really interesting girl who is on a similar journey as I in life. I even wrote an article about my experience meeting her and the impact she continues to have on my life.

  • I’m not such a huge travel fan that I would own all of these gadgets, yet I do feel that the iPad is something every geek should have… its really awesome!

  • I like the Brenthaven bags. They make my 17 inch laptop feel much lighter and can handle a pretty big drop without breaking anything.

    Jungle disk is another top favorite of mine for doing backup on the road.

  • What data plan do you have with the Sprint broadband card? I just checked their site and for $60 you get 5 GB of broadband and then they start charging by the MB.

    From a price perspective, this seems potentially prohibitive.

    On the suitcase, I’ve used an American Tourister suitcase that I picked up at Wally World (WalMart) for $30 on sale. It works like a champ with the exception of some of the zipper tongues that have remained out of town in some hotel long after I have returned. American Tourister will replace them for $1.75 each.

    Also, for anyone who hasn’t signed up for Dropbox, you can use this referral link https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTIxNTE0Njk which will give both you and me an extra 250 MB on top of the 2 GB that they provide for free.

  • @Betsy: Thanks for the recommendation on packing cubes. I totally agree, they’re awesome. I’ve have the Rick Steves Travel Gear Packing Cube Set, and it’s a remarkably efficient luggage solution for long family vacations.

    @Craig and JC: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. For brainstorming and note-taking, no digital gadget can replace the versatility of a small notepad and paper.

    @astra and Parker: Thanks for the kind words. I’m really glad you enjoy my self improvement articles. As you can tell, I like to mix it up a bit… but next week we’ll be back to an article that will likely be right up your alley.

    @Richard: The iPad rocks. Get one! ;-)

    @Poul: I wouldn’t let fear stop you from harnessing the power of technology. Just make sure you have a back-up plan.

    @Michael: For Sprint, we use the ‘Everything Data Family - with Any Mobile, Anytime’ plan with 3000 minutes. I believe it’s listed under their small business plans. It includes 2 lines/numbers, unlimited anytime mobile to mobile on any network, and free nights and weekends starting at 7PM. More info can be found here: http://www.sprint.com/business/

    @Mark: Thanks for the additional recommendations. I’ll have to give those a look.

  • You just motivated me to buy a multi-use car charger. :) Thanks for the handy travel gadget ideas.

  • I lurk your blog for the simple reason that your posts normally bend my mind and force it to expand. Although understandably this post has nothing to do with my mind being bent - my point is i miss your style of writing when you cover things like “how to be a better person” or “how to accomplish your dreams”.
    +1

  • Information Assurance Specialist
    May 14th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve never seen so many apple products being recommended and not a single android or google post. Where’s the android love?

    Love dropbox, up to 10GB free now from all the refferals. I have been banned twice now for having too many people download from my public link. Everything works, except they will shut down your public folder if too many people download from you. I put some DVD ISO and I guess 15GB being downloaded from me within 24 hours is a redflag :)

    Anyway first time I’ve been to this site. I really like it. When I’m tethering from my android cough cough phone….. while in beatiful North Caroline during my awesome trips, I will be checking this website :)

  • Kensington iPhone Battery is excellent. i am using its from past 1 year, it has no faults

  • Hey Marc -
    Solid list of goodies for biz travel, but you left out tools for the actual travel piece. Check out UberCab…we’re an on-demand car service that provides a one touch request from any mobile phone.

    Perfect for the biz traveler :)

    Let me know if you’d like to know more and we’re happy to throw a deal to your readers if you’ve like to review.

    Cheers,
    RG

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