The Magnet 045: My Travel Essentials
After many years of business and personal travel, I’ve developed a system to prepare and pack everything I need for a trip quickly and without a lot of thought. You shouldn’t copy my system exactly, of course, but if you personalize it for your needs, you might find it handy, too.
Here’s how it works:
A few days before I leave for a trip, I’ll print a copy of this packing list and keep it on my desk. It has everything I need for a trip lasting a week or more. If I’m taking a short domestic trip, I’ll cross unneeded things off the list (like international power adaptors and my passport).
Luggage and Clothes
I’ll start packing by putting my clothes into my suitcase. I try never to check my bag because I hate waiting for my baggage to arrive in the baggage claim area, and airports have lost my checked luggage more than once. I have a Briggs & Riley Domestic Carry-on Garment Bag with Wheels. It’s a whopping $650, but it is rugged and well-designed, and they offer an incredible lifetime guarantee. And if you want to fix a broken bag yourself, you can order a free repair kit to be sent to you. (This sounds like a paid testimonial, but it’s not. The Magnet contains no advertising or affiliate links other than Magnet T-shirts.)
Six Zipper Bags
The next items on my list are six mesh zipper bags, each of which is filled with my essential travel gear. When I get home from a trip, I replenish the consumables (like toothpaste) and then store the bags in a drawer in my bedroom. This makes packing for a trip easy.
I use these Zipper Mesh Pencil Pouches. An 8-pack with four small and four large bags costs between $8 and $12, depending on how much Amazon’s algorithm charges that day. I like these bags because they’re durable and see-through.
This bag isn’t a mesh zipper bag because the TSA requires a clear plastic bag. I bought this TSA-approved plastic zipper bag to hold gels and liquids. It’s sturdier than a Ziploc bag.
Weight: 1 lb 3 oz
Tide to Go — It looks like a Sharpie with a felt tip, but the liquid inside removes stains like tea and coffee.
Shaving cream — It’s hard to tell from the photo, but I trim the sharp corners off of plastic tubes of lotion, hair gel, shaving cream, etc. This keeps them from damaging the bag or my fingers when I reach into the bag to retrieve something.
Wipes — these flushable Dude Wipes are like a portable bidet but can also be used to clean hands and things like cafe tables that have the previous customer’s crumbs on them.
Weight: 9 oz
Chocolate — Lindt 90% Cocoa bars are barely sweet but very satisfying and creamy. The best way to eat them is not to chew them. Pop a square in your mouth and let it dissolve on your tongue.
Beef sticks — I like Chomps Spicy Japaneno Beef Jerky Sticks. Each stick has 9g of protein and no sugar. It’s made from grass-fed beef.
Kind bars — The Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bars only have 5g of sugar per bar. They help a lot when I am really hungry, and I can’t get to a restaurant.
Instant coffee — If I’m not able to get to a local coffee shop for a caffeine fix, these Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Packs are second best. The powder dissolves in cold water if hot isn’t available, and it is very strong. I find a half pack to be plenty. (I use a clip from my tools bag to seal the half-consumed packet.)
Weight: 8 oz
Book — In 1995, Penguin celebrated its 60th anniversary by publishing a series of miniature books, each about 60 pages. They cost $2 each. I only bought two, and I regret not buying more. This book is my backup if I end up with dead batteries on a flight or get tired of screens.
Glasses — a spare pair
If you’re a paid subscriber, you’ll see another email with details and photos of the other four bags in my travel kit: Glasses, Tools, Electronics, and Meds, plus the other three sections of my Packing List.
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Thanks for reading!
I fully endorse your snack choices! The compartmentalizations of things seems alien (cuz of lack of distance travel lately, especially flying) and all too familiar (breaking up peripherals, adapters, accessories, plugs based on different applications: three different sketchpads and a notebooks for different occasions; stuff that goes with the iPad; stuff that goes with the laptop; the really fully stocked hardcore art excursion kit; the burly film crew in a backpack setup; the compact sling bag for photography rig; the DJ setup; the noise and psychedelic light show road case and amp....
The link to the mesh travel pouches didn't work. Can you either name them or give a different link? Thanks!