I am not by nature a very clever individual – it usually takes me a few times doing something before I figure out a better way, and preparing an essential travel kit is yet another example of trial and error. In my case I have based most of my decisions on entertainment, weight and streamlining the security check procedures. Over time I have become a devotee of bundle packing (it works as advertised) which allows a small or medium bag to be very efficiently packed thereby holding much more than you might think. Plenty of folks have their own list must have travel thingies and taking a page from the Lufthansa magazine I open my backpack to you:
- First off, entertainment.
Over time I have settled on an ipod nano (4gb), at least one book of fiction, and two magazines (almost always the economist, and quite often wired magazine) as minimum must haves. The ipod contains about 450 songs, enough to get me through a mid length flight (3-5hrs) without becoming bored. To complete the set I always carry a pair of Sony noise cancelling headphones – when combined with earplugs, a beer or three in the lounge it makes for a quick ‘lights out’ immediately after takeoff…..
- Next, health and comfort should always be a prime consideration.
Accordingly I travel with an inflatable travel pillow, and an amenities kit designed to meet the minimum threshold for CATSA (and other) pre-boarding policies regarding fluid containers (<75ml). NB: the picture to the left is a kit supplied by AC to its Executive First customers, however it is possible to build your own – keeping in mind weight and contents. I always top up my kit with ear plugs, a container of vitamins, a container of pain killers and moisturiser.
- Business Goodies.
I always travel with about a dozen business cards in my backpack – comes in handy at the end of one of those interesting conversations one gets into in the lounge or in the cabin. Secondly, I never leave home without my aeroplan points card and stack of upgrade certificates – useful not only for upgrading oneself, but on occasion I have been able to offer an upgrade to a colleague or acquaintance at the airport. Thirdly the laptop travels with me – a very useful tool for accessing the latest flight information, travel news, schedules, hotel reservations etc.
I have adopted a DAKINE zip away soft roller bag with integrated backpack as my luggage of choice – whether departing for lengthy stays (augmented with a medium size bag) or quick overnight trips. The zipaway is large enough (using bundle packing) to hold a blazer, three shirts, a pair of slacks, jeans two pairs of shoes and all of the necessary sundries – perfect for a week. This particular bag meets airline standards for overhead bins and can be found locally at Sepps.