OK, it’s a given that you’ll need your notebook, PC, phone, associated chargers and the minimum of clothes and toiletries you can get away with. But years of travel have taught me that there are some just-as-essential items that don’t show up on many packing lists for business trips, whether it’s a quick Sydney-to-Melbourne jaunt or something more substantial. Here’s five gadgets and tools I don’t want to travel without.
Retractable travel Ethernet cable
Sure, Wi-Fi is everywhere, but if your hotel room or airport lounge also offers a wired option, it’ll be faster and more reliable. Taking your own cable also means no panic when the one in the hotel room thoughtfully got nicked by the last guest, or doesn’t want to work. The retractable model takes up no space and won’t tangle itself around every other cable in your bag.
Large plastic coffee mug
While most hotels (save super-cheap options like Formule 1) will have a coffee mug, it’s often so small as to be wasteful. Bring your own and you’ll get better value from the in-room beverages. An added bonus for men: when the bathroom sink plug gets stolen or fails to work, you’ve got a shaving mug as well.
Far too many hotel rooms have only one or two power outlets, often positioned inconveniently behind the TV or so close to the wall your phone charger won’t fit. A dirt-cheap 4-point powerboard (mine was $5 at a supermarket) solves that problem. Double adaptors, while admittedly, are less useful, since they don’t work close to the floor and can also cause phone charger clashes. USB is great if you’ve got the option, but some devices won’t charge when the machine is in sleep mode – who wants to sleep with a glowing screen in the corner all night? Pack a powerboard and stop worrying.
Spare USB sticks
A high-capacity USB key provides backup you can stick in your shirt pocket, but throw in any older low-cap sticks to make it easy to share files with colleagues or new acquaintances. After all, they’re just festering in your desk anyway, and even 32MB holds a full-sized slide presentation.
On-plane earphone adaptor
My ears tend to get sore if I wear the supplied headphones for in-flight entertainment, but a simple adaptor lets me plug my standard Sony plug earbuds on virtually any plane with a two-point socket for more comfortable travel. OK, that doesn’t directly benefit productivity, but on a 22-hour flight you want all the help you can get.
Got any other less obvious business travel essentials? Tell all in the comments.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman stores all his essential travel requirements in his carry-on bag, but still constantly worries that he has forgotten something. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.