What’s in my Bag: Must-have travel tech gear

Apart from the questions of where someone should travel to, the most frequently asked questions I get are about packing. How much do you pack? Checked baggage or carry-on? What tech do you travel with? So what’s in my bag? Well a bag of Swedish Fish, a couple Clif Bars (white chocolate macadamia nut, obviously), whitey tighties….Oh, you want to know what travel gear I travel with? Got it!

Well this week I’ve teamed up with Verizon again. Yes, that Verizon, who had the “Can you hear me now guy” (whatever happened to him?). Today, in my own town of Los Angeles, Verizon is opening their first destination store on the West Coast. Is a destination store like a travel store, you may be asking? Well kind of. Think more interactive playroom (with music, action sports, and entertainment lifestyle zones) and less boring cell phone store. It’s like cell phone store meets Disney. And all the more appropriate that Verizon’s first West Coast location is in what’s become dubbed, “Silicon Beach,” in Santa Monica.

Verizon Destination Store Los Angeles
Verizon Destination Store Los Angeles

So today I’m sharing my top list of tech gear I travel with, some of which (like the GoPro and wireless earbuds), are in the new Verizon store. .

What’s in my carry-on bag:

Wireless earbuds. In this case, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 wireless earbuds, which I gave away earlier in the year in the following blog post. In short, I can’t travel without headphones. It’s my one travel non-negotiable. If I’m not zenning out to music then I’m drowning out the noise on an airplane or listening to an audio book or just letting it lull me to sleep (could I be anymore cheesy?).

GoPro. You know that guy who has the bag full of GoPro accessories? Yeah, I’m that guy. But I refuse to own a selfie stick (see below). My GoPro can go where no other gadget I have can go, not to mention that for no bigger than it is, the GoPro takes a damn good picture. Any of my best beach/ocean photos (underwater or otherwise) have all been with a GoPro.

Kindle e-Reader. That’s right, I don’t have an iPad. Here’s the thing, I pull it out and an hour later of Facebooking, Tweeting, and Candy Crushing and I haven’t done any reading. In this case, it’s an old school Kindle Fire, which I’m only using to read books and watch the occasional movie.

Canon DSLR camera with a 24-105 lens. My DSLR of choice is the Canon T3i. However, more importantly is my go-to travel lens, the 24-105. It’s expensive and will put you back $1,000, but it’s my everyday lens and I often only travel with it because of its range coupled with the quality of image it shoots. It's my best travel tech investment!

Ethernet cable. Yes, I know it’s 2015 and there are probably some teenagers that don’t know what things like dial-up Internet or Ethernet cables are. But anyone who travels knows that hotel Wi-Fi can leave a lot to be desired. However, many hotels have Ethernet ports that offer faster Internet, some of which are even free. The downside is that they aren’t always secure. Consider yourself warned.

Universal 2-in-1 charger. If you travel and love travel gadgets as much as I do, this should be at the top of your list. I’ve completely run out of juice once while traveling in the last year, and it was because I had left this in my hotel room. What I love the most about the universal 2-in-1 portable travel charger is that it can charge anything that can use a USB cable, such as my GoPro (the charger pictured, is by Anker). Consider it a spare battery for your electronics.

iPhone tele lens. Yes, the latest iPhone models do shoot great photos, but just as long as you don’t zoom in. However, the last couple years has seen a number of different types of iPhone lenses, such as the olloclip. I often alternate between it and the Moment telephoto lens, which I like because of the quality of product and that it gets twice as close to the image but without distortion or degradation.

iHome Portable Speaker. This is probably my favorite, surprising gadget find of the last year, which I found at one of my favorite travel stores, Flight 001 in Los Angeles. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, yet when it expands, the speaker drops some serious bass and sound quality.

What’s NOT in my carry-on bag:

Selfie stick. The fact that Disney has recently banned selfie sticks says it all for me. I’m not against such apparatuses per se, just more against the idea of a selfie. As it turns out, people are more than happy to take a photo of you, and then you don’t have to have your arms in all your photos.

Tripod. Traveling with a tripod always seems like a good idea, and then I never pack it, largely because it becomes an encumbrance. Or I end up turning around quickly and hitting someone with it, making me look like one of the Three Stooges.

Knee defender. If you don’t know what a knee defender is, it’s a portable, plastic device that air travelers can put on the seat in front of them to prevent the seat from reclining back. Listen, I get it, airplanes have no legroom in economy (I should know since I’m 6’3”). But maybe having a polite conversation will go further than disabling someone’s airplane seat. Just a thought.