“So, You Travel a Lot?”

Yes, I travel a lot. Almost as often as I answer that question.

I just counted 210 days of travel this year (that’s almost 60% of my time). When you travel so much, you tend to take up a few habits to make traveling easier. Below are some of the things I do, and carry around, to keep things enjoyable for me. If you have any additional tips, I am very eager to learn about them!


I find all my simple flights (for one destination) with Hipmunk. It has a fantastic graphical interface that neatly shows airlines, duration, pricing, and everything else I need to know. I delegate the itineraries of complicated flights (multiple destinations) to an expert travel agent. That’s just too much work for me to figure out myself.


I import all the itineraries into TripIt, which keeps me updated about departure terminals and gates, flight changes, cancellations, and everything else. I also use it to store ticket numbers, confirmation codes, and hotel addresses, which are neatly synced to the TripIt app on my smartphone, so that I always have all essential information with me. It also keeps track of the points I accumulate across all airline alliances.


I have two passports. I travel so much that I cannot be without a passport while a Chinese embassy, Russian consulate, or other bureaucratic government body is doing its magic hand waving with visa stamps and visitor admission forms. I travel with both passports whenever possible, in different pieces of luggage, which means I should have less of a problem when one of them gets stolen.


I always travel with some paper magazines or a book. Painful experience has taught me there are always times when wi-fi doesn’t work, 3G doesn’t work, the tablet ran out of power or cannot be used (during take off and landing), and everything else involving electronics is either dead or illegal. Better to have some good old-fashioned sheets of trees around, just in case.


The “manbag” is one of the best inventions ever. I can walk around all day with it, carrying my tablet, sometimes a small netbook, pens, travel documents, magazines, etc. I have a fetish for the Tumi brand. It’s expensive, but worth every euro I spend on it. Tumi bags have more pockets than there are lawyers in US congress. Which means I have lost items more than once, simply because they were in a pocket of which I simply didn’t remember its existence.


I nowadays try to travel with a netbook and ultrabook and smartphone and tablet. (Though I lost the charger cable of my netbook, which is therefore sadly missing on my current trip.) Yes, I know it is overkill. But for me work is my life, and therefore the digital world is part of my well-being. If one device fails, I simply utter a curse, switch to another, and move on.


Speaking of cables… One thing that always annoyed me tremendously is when the cables of my many devices got entangled in my suitcase. Which was like, always. Until I discovered the merits of little zipper bags. Voila, problem solved! They are also perfect for keeping foreign currencies, and things that smell. Which is sometimes the same thing.


And then there’s of course a myriad of apps that I use on all devices. I can live (for a few days) without most of them, except Gmail+Contacts+Calendar, Dropbox, Evernote, Remember The Milk, and HootSuite. And Amazon Kindle. Oh, and Spotify of course, which has completely replaced my need for carrying around my own MP3’s, since I discovered its Download List feature.


Finally, needless to say, I have some stuff that I always carry around for my physical self. This includes thick socks, extra shoes, a pair of glasses, a laundry bag, etc. And of course my wonderful Bowers & Wilkins headphones with sheep skin ear muffs. Hmmmm….

What about you?

What are your travel needs and habits?


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