Which travel accessories actually prove their worth on the road? Well, here is my short list. I'll have a longer list in a later blog — that is, of the greatly failed Great Travel Gadget Hopes. Today's blog instead tracks the accessories which, IMHO, really do improve the road warrior's lot. Fashion-related accessories? Well, that will be yet another blog.
Storing odds and ends. The zippered bags and pouches given to first class and business class passengers are simple and simply awesome for storing phone and device chargers/adapters and miscellaneous items. Save these pouches and re-use if you're given one. Or just grab one if you see a unclaimed freebie on your way off the plane. Really.
Store a movie or album on your iWhatever. Think about bringing with you on those really long, disorienting, lonely, work-intensive trips a film you like, something that is re-watchable. You'll be glad you did. Likewise, rediscover the Great Album Experience. Listen to one of your favorite bands’ albums start to finish, uninterrupted. This used to be a commonplace in the age before ringtones. I discovered the joys of albums during a painful period of my career when I was spending upwards of 90 minutes on the ride home from work. I decided I hadn’t listened to "Dark Side of the Moon" as an uninterrupted whole in a long time, so I did it. It took the edge off being trapped in that commute.
Select 360-degree spinning luggage. My black Samsonite suitcase has accompanied me on any number of grueling adventures. It even survived a bout as a chewtoy for our puppy. The bag's compartments are well-designed and it is perfectly sized as a carry-on.
Select a sensible briefcase. Have you seen any real-world road warrior carry something as swish as this triple-gusset black leather briefcase? Yes, classy to the max, and if I didn’t work for a living I'd do my darndest to find an excuse to carry one. Except it's not practical. Think about it: How would it fit my laptop, sunglasses, notebook, whitepapers or briefing printouts, pens, data drives, and the book I’m reading? You need a serious briefcase for that — something with good-size pockets and a protective laptop sleeve. It has to be cavernous without being ungainly. You have to be able to slide it under the airliner seat. Perhaps it's too much to hope for, but it would be nice if it didn't make its owner look like a dork. Sure makes it tough to impress people.
Pack eyedrops. Sometimes something as simple as eyedrops makes you feel like a whole new person. I never fly without them. But remember, eyedrops count as a fluid item despite the tiny quantity. You'll be tempted to keep them in a reachable pocket. Don't.
Pack an audio cable. I like to carry a single audio cable to be able to plug your iWhatever into the auxiliary input of your rental car, or sometimes even the little stereo in your hotel room. It enables you to enjoy tunes in unfamilar places. Fortunately, the cable takes up almost no space. Music is key to relaxation for most road warriors.
Road Warrior • Miami • www.us.amadeus.com