A few months ago, a reader asked me what gear I take on the road to ensure travel doesn’t interfere with work and deadlines. Knowing that many of you travel for work (some of you a lot more than I do), I thought I’d take some time today to share my answer.
The photo above, which I took after getting up one fine morning to put the final touches on a blog that covered rules for teaching and learning, provides a snapshot.
Here are three key elements:
Roost laptop stand
This is quite possibly one of the best travel investments I’ve ever made. Available on Amazon, the stand, which I’m incredibly happy to say is made in the USA, is super lightweight, fully collapsible, and adjusts to give you 6 to 12 inches of lift to offer eye-level laptop viewing. Not only do I use this when I’m on the road but it also works well in a cafe, pub, or on my kitchen table (i.e., my home office).
Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
The downside of taking along a laptop stand is that you’ll need to travel with a keyboard and mouse and I like to travel light. Given that I’m 6’2”, it’s a price I’m willing to pay to keep from having to be hunched over while typing. Thankfully, I’ve never had any issues getting these compact and lightweight items into my carry-on laptop backpack. (BTW, travel cases for the keyboard and mouse are also a good idea.)
Dell Power Companion
As a longtime fan of Dell and its products, I won’t lie, there were many years when I would look wistfully upon Apple’s products and wish Dell spent a little more on design. Dark were those days when all it took to decimate my “you’re spending more money on inferior products that will lock you into servitude to the Apple borg” argument was for someone to point at my Dell laptop-cum-toaster.
Look at the products Dell makes today, though. From their servers to my totally awesome XPS laptop (on sale right now at Dell and Costco), and it’s clear that Dell is no longer looking to cold war era Soviet architecture for inspiration and is spending a ton of money on design. Indeed, to you young designers who may be having a hard time deciding between living in overpriced and overregulated California or music/BBQ/GP race-infused Austin, I’d recommend getting over Beto’s loss and giving Texas a try.
In any case, onto my last recommended item, the Dell power companion. In addition to giving me backup power for my mobile devices, I really like that you can charge it, a laptop, and up to two other USB chargeable devices at the same time. I believe this particular version may only be compatible with Dell laptops so if you use a different brand you may have to research other options.
On that note, time for me to pack things up and head to work. Before I do, how about another addition to our Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ Spotify playlist? After my plug for Texas, it seems appropriate to introduce you to some music from that great state. I thought about adding some Lyle Lovett but I think he moved to California (can I blame Ted Cruz?), so here is Blue Water Highway with their lighthearted song “Speaking of the Devil.” The song tells a story about a man trying to ward off a woman that is no good for him:
Throw a little salt on my doorstep
Burn a little candle or two
Shine a little light on the part of me
Won’t stop thinking of you
Suffice it to say…I wish I had known about the salt trick when I was young and dumb.
Have a great week.
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