What’s In The IT Nerd’s Laptop Bag When He Travels?

As I get ready to travel to the UK next week to help an emerging technology company develop call center process and do training on delivering exceptional customer service, this seemed to be the right time to describe what’s in my laptop bag when I travel. As you can see from the picture below, I carry quite a bit of gear:

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It looks like a lot, but it really doesn’t add a whole lot of weight, and it’s all come in handy at one time or another. Let’s go through the contents of my laptop bag starting with the bag itself:

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I’ve relied on the Tucano Figura Medium Case for years. It provides a good amount of protection as well as easily accessible pockets for things like airline tickets and other documents. Not to mention the ability to hold my MacBook related items. Plus I can slide the case through the handle of my carry on bag so that I have nothing on my shoulder. It’s also easy to pull out the notebook at TSA checkpoints. Given how much I travel, that’s important to me.

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As a secondary layer of protection, I use the InCase Neoprene Sleeve for the MacBook Pro. I slide my MacBook Pro into this and then put this into my bag. That way I can be sure that bumps will not bother my MacBook Pro.

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This is the Blue Ant T1 headset which I reviewed a while back. Because if its performance in all conditions and the fact that I can’t always rely on rental cars having Bluetooth, it is always in my bag when I travel.

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This is the Sennheiser MM 30i Headset which has the distinction of being reviewed once when I had a BlackBerry and once after I got a iPhone. Music reproduction is very good and I use it to keep myself sane on long flights. Seeing as I have a 6 hour flight to the UK and then a 2 hour train ride after that, I suspect it will be put to good use.

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You’re likely wondering why I am showing you a pen. It’s a 4 in 1 pen made by a company called Rotring. It contains a blue pen, a red pen, a mechanical pencil and a stylus that works on touch sensitive screens. The latter does not work on iPhones or iPads. However, I did have a Palm Pilot (remember those?) at the time I bought it and I’ve only ever had to change the cartridges for the pens and added lead to the pencil.

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Even though I preach against doing so, sometimes you have to leave your laptop unguarded. That’s why I have this Kensington retractable laptop lock. It plugs into the laptop lock port on my MacBook Pro after I wrap it around an immovable object. I tend to use it when I have to leave my MacBook Pro in my hotel room to keep the cleaning staff from stealing it.

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The Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 which I recently reviewed is a recent and welcome addition to my laptop bag. It ensures that I have enough power for my iPhone, Blue Ant T1 headset, or anything else that I need to keep charged.

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Now this case has a whole lot of stuff in it. Staring from the top left inside the case are iKlear travel wipes and a microfiber cloth to ensure that my MacBook Pro is always clean. To the right are mini DisplayPort to VGA and DVI adapters from Apple. Joining them is a Expert Island mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter that I reviewed a while back. That way I can be sure I have what I need to connect to an external monitor or projector. Below it from left to right are two USB sticks. One has a bootable image of OS X Yosemite in case I need it. The other is a blank 16GB USB stick in case I need it as well. The next two items are multi-tools from Swiss Tech which allow me to open up a PC if the need arises. Besides that is a three in one cable that I got at a conference that has Micro USB, Apple 30 Pin and Apple Lightning connectors. Finally I’ve got two USB extenders to allow me to plug in bulky USB devices side by side to the two USB ports on my MacBook Pro.

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This Bytecc 4 port USB hub doesn’t occupy a lot of space in my bag, but has come in handy numerous times when I’ve needed to plug more than one device into my MacBook Pro.

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This is a 320GB portable hard drive that I use to back up while I’m on the road. I built it using an old 2.5″ hard drive that I had lying around and an enclosure from Vantec. The case I picked up somewhere that I can’t recall at the moment. Given my recent run of bad luck with hard drives in my MacBook Pro, bringing it would be a wise decision.

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To ensure that I can always plug in my MacBook Pro, I’ve got a bunch of items from left to right. First I’ve got the Apple Airplane adapter to ensure that I can use my MacBook Pro on flights. Though they don’t make this anymore. Pity. The Black thing in the middle is a Kensington International Travel Plug Adapter which allows you to plug in a device that is capable of 110V – 240V into any plug. You should note that this doesn’t covert the power for you. It simply allows a multi-voltage device to plug into any plug. Finally I have the plugs that make up the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit that allows me to plug in my MacBook Pro anywhere on planet Earth. Now if I am traveling to the US, I typically leave this at home. But it’s in my laptop bag if I am going anywhere else.

On top of all this, I usually bring a mini-USB cable with me as well to plug in my USB hub, along with a micro USB cable to plug in my Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 so that I can recharge it via the USB port of my MacBook Pro overnight, or charge the Blue Ant T1 headset as that has a micro USB port on it.

As you can see, I travel with a fair amount of stuff. But trust me, it doesn’t take up a lot of space nor does it add that much weight. And it’s all come in handy at one time or another. Hopefully, I’ve helped someone travel smarter, but if you have a tip or a suggestion, feel free to leave me a comment below.

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