Even though I’m not on the road playing every day like I did early in career, I still travel a lot. About once every 4 or 5 weeks I’m on a plane traveling to some location in the world – 22 countries in the last year alone.
Since I spend so much time on a plane I learned to travel light and be as comfortable as possible, so I’ve come up with a number of items that helps to make that happen, at least for me. Here they are in no particular order:
ScotteVest Microfleece Hoodie – There’s nothing like having a good hoodie when you travel, but most common hoodies fall short in features, especially in the pockets. The ScotteVest is designed for travel with 19 different sized pockets that will accept everything from your passport to your iPad. You won’t need all those pockets at the same time, but just having a few secured and zippered ones available is worth its weight in gold. I have the fleece version instead of cotton, which I think breathes a little better.
Lululemon ABC pants – I can hear you snickering – “Isn’t that yoga wear for women?” Yes, but they also make some of the best traveling pants ever. I got this tip from some roadie friends that tour with a major act and boy, were they ever right. ABC stands for “Anti-Ball Crushing,” meaning that they stretch so you’re always comfortable even if you’re in a plane seat for 18 hours. We’ve all felt that pinch of jeans in the crotch area, but that’s a thing of the past when you wear ABC pants.
Cariloha Bamboo T-shirts – I was in the Caribbean somewhere and I was overheated and soaked through and needed an extra t-shirt. I saw these advertised as being 3 degrees cooler than cotton and boy were they right. Bamboo is the perfect clothing material as it’s anti-bacterial, keeps you warmer or cooler when you need, and is good for the environment as well. It’s super soft and comfortable. I’d change my entire wardrobe to bamboo if I could.
Merrell Jungle Moc Walking Shoes – If you think you’ll be walking long distances, you can’t go wrong with Merrells. A few years ago I had a bout with plantar fasciitis and these were the only shoes that I could wear in comfort for about a year. I’ve been a convert ever since. They’re really rugged, feel good on your feet, and easy to slip off at TSA checkpoints if needed.
Ionic Epic Rover Shoes – I bought these on a whim and never regretted it. They’re about the lightest shoes you’ll ever wear and look great as well. They don’t have the support of Merrills so I don’t wear them if I know I’ll be walking a lot, but they take the place of sneakers nicely.
SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack – I looked around for a long time to find something to replace my previous Swiss Gear backpack and came back to this version. If you travel with a laptop, this one’s great as it provides a separate compartment, as well as one for your iPad as well. Tons of room, plus it opens up wide so you don’t have to take your computer out of your pack at the TSA checkpoint (although sometimes they may make you do it anyway).
Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones – My old pair of Bose was getting a bit long in the tooth so I did some research and found that these new Sony’s were super highly rated. After going on two very long trips to Asia with them, I’ve found that they’re even better than the reviews. They feel great so you can wear them for a long time, and the noise cancelling technology is the best there is. They’re a bit pricey but worth every penny.
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 45L Duffle Bag – I haven’t traveled with luggage for years, settling on 22″ duffle bags instead. 22″ is the ideal number because it will always qualify as a carry-on bag on a plane. I’ve learned to pack what I need for up to a two week stay in a duffle, although it’s taken some time to come up with the right formula. That said, this Eagle Creek bag is the best I’ve found. It’s rugged but also has back straps so you can wear it like a backpack if you need to.
CY-UNIT Universal Travel Power Adapter – I used to travel with a lot of power adaptors that took up space and added weight to my pack. Now, just this one adaptor does the trick. It’s compatible with Europe, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and China, and has a built-in surge protector. It even has a couple of USB ports as well. Works great for any electronics, but it’s not powerful enough for your hair dryer or electric shaver (but who travels with those anyway?)
iPad with Kindle App – I read a lot more when I travel then when I’m at home, but I’ve stopped buying hard-copy books. Instead I purchase the Kindle versions from the Amazon store and read them from the free Kindle reader app on my iPad. I now read and buy far more than I ever did yet don’t take up any more space regardless of how many books I take with me. This is the one item I couldn’t leave home without and not feel a lot of pain. Available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC.
There are plenty of other accessories that I travel with, but for me these are the big 10. If you’re a road dog, check them out.
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