When I checked in at Pearson Airport in Toronto this week Foursquare informed me that I had set a new record by checking in to airports eight weeks in a row. Yikes, I have been on a bit of a travel binge I’ll admit.
When you travel with any frequency it’s amazing how the right tools can make things go a little smoother.
Below are five tools I’ve road tested and rely on in my travels.
Osprey Momentum 26 – I’m a big fan of Osprey packs and I got this one to use as commuter pack for those days when I ride my bike to the office. Turns out all those features the make it an awesome pack for riding to work make it an awesome pack for travel. It’s got a terrific padded computer sleeve and just the right amount of pockets and storage for everything I like to travel with. It also has a unique way to tuck away the tell tale backpack straps and turn it into a more business looking briefcase. As a bonus it’s got a hidden rain fly for those times when you get stuck in the rain.
Rubbermaid Filtration Water Bottle – This one is probably a little overboard, but I drink lots of water and those $9 water bottles conveniently placed in my hotel room drive me nuts and most hotel water seems heavy on chlorine. The filter lets me drink plenty of no cost tap water and does a decent job filtering out the odd tastes. The bottle doesn’t cost much so I don’t feel as bad when I leave one, which I do too often.
TripIt Pro – This app sits on my phone and allows me to organize my travel itineraries in one place. All I do is forward my email confirmations for air, hotel and meetings to my TripIt account and it does the organizing. That way I have confirmation numbers and driving directions all in one place. In addition, it automatically tracks my flights and sends me updates, delays and gate changes in real time as well as check in notifications ahead of time.
Vinyl File Folders – This one is about as low tech as they come but I travel with two plastic file folders – one marked travel and one marked read later. I organize stuff by putting anything printed that need for the trip, such at printed boarding passes or notes regarding an event, in the travel folder and use the read later folder to catch up on magazines and newsletter while flying. The reason I love the plastic folders is that I can easily slide them in and out of my bag and they never tear or crumple.
Nexus (TSApre) – Getting through security unscathed is something worth putting a little work into. The last time I went through International security in Canada there were about 500 people in the general line and two in the Nexus line. Even in French that translated into about 35 minutes saved. The TSApre service is coming to more and more US airports and currently puts you in a shorter line where you keep your shoes on and laptop bagged. TSA site and Nexus site