What to pack for business travel?

For my new job, I need to travel a lot again. So instead of giving tips on how to fold your underwear so you can travel 3 weeks with only carry-on, I will share some of the stuff I take with me during travel.

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Since I will be delivering presentations, demo’s and give training I travel with at least 2 laptops. In case 1 stops working, but also to have 1 ready to download stuff you might need to recover the other device in case you get a corrupt OS or something like that.

For this trip to Sydney and Berlin, I will pack 2 Windows machines. I might bring a Mac as the 2nd machine instead the next time, but for this trip that won’t be needed. So I’ll bring my Surface Laptop (all-time favorite) and as a backup the Surface book (1). 2 power adapters so I can charge them both at the same time.

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I have 2 external drives with presentations, demos, and other stuff I need to use to help prep myself.

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it’s the Samsung T5 250Gb SSD since they are super fast USB-C SSD drives. I had these for some time, The bigger ones are very affordable too. Very useful if you need to copy virtual machines, ISO files etc.

They also have a copy of Win10 and an offline install of Visual Studio 2017 and VSCode. The offline version of VS2017 is important since a regular install will download tons of stuff (like the Android emulators) from the internet and that’s no fun if you are stuck with crappy hotel Wi-Fi.

I’ve set up all my accounts with 2-factor auth. If it happens you don’t have cellular reception or Wi-Fi access for your phone that might be an issue. So I also set the accounts up to accept the codes the MS Authenticator app gives you. An added benefit, you can log in in your sites (like the Azure portal) from your laptop on the plane, where you don’t have phone reception. I also bring my Yubikey to be able to access my accounts. I bought a very cheap FIDO2 compliant one, also to be able to demonstrate some of our AAD integration in the future.

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To be able to hook up my laptop on stage to a cable which provides internet (always try to get a wired connection, never trust Wi-Fi at conferences with tons of people in the rooms using that precious bandwidth you so desperately need while presenting) I use a USB3 hub with 1Gbit ethernet port. This comes in handy if you also want to plug in your USB receiver for your mouse, Yubikey and clicker for example. I use this one and it works great (not for your Mac though!)

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Whenever you travel and have to present, at a conference or customer. You never know if your laptop will successfully connect to whatever AV equipment is set up. Always be on time and try out what works and what not. It happened dozens of times I could not connect successfully at once or only at a very weird resolution. What has helped me was to use this little adapter.

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Even if there was a mini display port available, it happened to me I still had to use the HDMI to get the correct connection and audio to work for example. This thing works great on both my surface devices I am bringing. For the Mac, I will carry a USB-C version with VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, and USB. Yes, VGA is still used by a lot of our enterprise customers.

The Logitech presenter has been in my bag for years. Useful to have a remote clicker and on top of that, it has a laser!

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When traveling it’s always useful to have a battery pack for your mobile. Even cooler and useful is a battery pack which is also a wireless router or bridge. This is the TripMate Titan. I have the 10400mAh version.

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Besides being able to charge your phone. It can also work as a wireless router. Plug in a network cable and you can wireless connect your devices. Both useful in your hotel! but also on stage when you don’t have good coverage. It works without being powered, but you might want to hook up a USB cable just in case. The device is also capable of creating a wireless connection (to your hotel network) and still use it as a wireless hotspot for your own devices, so they can share the same wireless connection.

In the past, I always threw a US power strip in my suitcase and connected that to the power outlet with a travel adapter. The Mogics Power Bagel is something I haven’t used and bring with me for the first time.

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It’s very small, has it’s own travel adapter and you can connect 4 plugs and 2 USB devices at the same time. Since it’s round you won’t have a problem to plug in the larger adapters. It extends a little extension cord when you use it as well.

It’s always useful to have a spare ethernet cable handy. For hooking up your laptop in the hotel room or connecting my wireless router to the wall. I bought a set of cable matters retractable ethernet cable since they roll-up so nicely.

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I also always bring a mouse. It’s just easier for me than a trackpad. The Microsoft Arc mouse is a favorite. Also since it’s flat when you pack it.

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If you are planning to rent a car. I always bring a car USB charger to be able to charge my phone, especially when you are using Waze for navigation.

Of course, USB cables to charge my phone.

Lastly, I have a set of noise cancellation earphones. I use the Bose QC35 II (No Surface headphone yet). It’s also great to use for Teams calls when you are on the road since it has a microphone as well. Priceless when you sit in a place for 20 hours. I also have a pair of in-ear ones which I can use when I want to sleep.

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The last thing I pack is my Kindle Paperwhite. Without it it’s really hard to get through all those hours on the plane and nights in the hotel.

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So what are your most important travel gadgets? Let me know in the comments.