My legs were resting almost comfortably on my canvas, over-the-shoulder, looks-too-damn-good-to-not-use laptop bag in the footwell of my seat. Next to it? Two quarts of salsa verde. My wife, riding shotgun, sitting cross-legged thanks to all the stuff in her footwell, was holding (of all things) a printer. J-Bomb, in the back, was wedged between three full-sized suitcases, the door, and a large box from Costco filled with condiments and various other refrigerated items.
We were officially all set for a three hour road trip, followed by three nights at a fully stocked, luxury Airbnb. This was us ‘traveling light.’
Whilst socially mingling on Instagram the other day, I happened upon a young lady (Nina Ojeda – follow her on the Twits: @ninaojeda) who liked one of my posts, and just so happens to be a prominent author on Inc. A website that, while I’ve been featured on many (Business Insider, HuffPost, Bustle, Brit + Co., etc.), has as yet evaded me. But, it’s only a matter of time. (Look at me, dropping names like there are grapefruit-sized holes in my stylish canvas bag.) She had recently written a post about the 20 Things Every Smart Traveler Should Own. Considering myself one of those smart travelers about which she was writing, I naturally had a look. (Perhaps, as I undoubtedly fit the mold, she would even include a shout-out directly to me, and I would then have been featured in Inc., as is my plan.) However, finding myself neither there, nor owner of many of the things on the list, I became slightly disgruntled. As I am currently traveling the world, Nina got me thinking about the things that my family feels are absolute must-haves and why our lists didn’t exactly match up.
Quick travel? Yes. I can do that. No problem. However, much as I love to see the sights, I really quite enjoy all the comforts that I surround myself with on a daily basis. How can I make a choice between this coffee cup and that pair of shoes (that I haven’t worn in months)? Can’t. Better bring them both. You seriously never know when you’re going to be faced with an endless row of coffee cups that just don’t feel right when you take a sip. Nor do you know when you might need to dress up for dinner, and flip-flops just won’t do. Because hot shit on a Popsicle stick, I hate being without something that I absolutely know I have, at the moment that I want it and having no possible way of retrieving it.
This is why I keep a large box full of all electrical cords to every single mother-loving device I’ve ever owned. Because, once or twice, I’ve been able to fill a need that I had for a lost cord, and I’ve come away satisfied. That’s what keeps me going. It’s why I pack a $5 coffee cup from Bed, Bath & Beyond shaped like an owl. It’s why I bring those shoes. It’s why I pack not one, but two portable hard drives with more space each than I, or you, can shake a stick at.
Nina Ojeda’s List
I’m sorry, Nina. But the ones you recommended are just too small. Plus, where are all the pockets? How the hell am I going to keep track of the 33 ballpoint pens that I insist on bringing with me, just in case every person in my row, as well as the rows immediately ahead-of and behind-me on the plane needs one to fill out their customs forms? I know that the airline has pens to use. What if they run out?! You’re telling me I have a chance to be a fucking hero MacGyver-style with my pennage and I’m gonna pass that up for a (granted) uber-stylish swag bag? Nope. Sorry, Nina.
2. Go Kit
Finally, you’re making some sense, Nina. Finally, you mention pens. There’s just one thing… why are you mentioning them in relation to shower caps, blowdryers, chargers, headphones, sleep mask…? Far out, Nina. It’s like you’ve never traveled before. No. When I think Go Kit, it must come with a descriptive word at the beginning like, Bathroom Go Kit, and Sleeping Go Kit, and Prescription Pills Go Kit, or Pens Go Kit. Random cords Go Kit. See where I’m going with this?
3. Really, Really Comfortable Pajamas
Okay, yes. Totally on board here. Maybe not with your styles. They’re actually a bit girly for me, although I’ve been known more than once to cross the sexual border and raid my wife’s side of the closet. However, my own critique here, Nina, is that you only made mention of one pair of really, really comfortable pajamas. When, as any intrepid individual will tell you, you must have at least two. What if you spill red wine on them? What if you spill white wine on them? (Not as obvious, but equally inconvenient.) What if the #TSA inexplicably confiscates your first pair of PJs? Why chance it? #travel
4. A Carry-On Cocktail Kit
This one is, indeed, clever. But, how is this even legal? Plus, if it is, how are you not piss-scared every time you put your carry-on through the x-ray box? I would be losing my mind thinking that some surly TSA agent on a power trip was going to tackle me from behind for daring to bring along such things! Plus, I can’t imagine the airline approves. Not if we go on my mother’s experience. She was told, in no uncertain terms, that getting up from her spot in economy and sauntering to the kitchen, where she assured me she could smell the white wine, and pouring her own glass(es) was out of the question. I can’t see this little package making the grade. (This must go to show that Nina’s level of badassery far exceeds my own.)
5. Things to Make Your Trip Stress-Free
Nina, you start good. But, then you start banging on about technological gizmos like Green Lantern-style rings that beep at you when you get a message on your phone. I mean, hello! First, a stress-free trip is largely had at the expense of your #4 on the list. Second, I’m trying to run away from my business life, at my wife’s behest. A ring that alerts me every time Google Analytics wants to tell me I’m ‘doing it wrong?’ Thanks, I’ll skip it. My wife would probably bite off my finger just to rid me of that ring and flick it onto the tarmac. Pass the cocktail kit. I need to sterilize my bloody stub.
6. Backup Chargers
Yes! Now, we’re cooking with gas, Nina. I totally agree on this, 100%. However, I’m going to slide my own recommendation in here between your uber-fashionable ones that are gold, pretty, and nice: Get this brick of a thing that can recharge your iPad twice. It’s ugly, but it’s awesome. But, that’s not all: Get three. Why? Because when I travel, we’re not only talking about multiple recharges of my phone and my wife’s phone. It’s also the two pairs of bluetooth headphones. (Because, one ain’t enough, and I refuse to tether my head any longer with the corded kind. Blech!) Plus the tablet. Plus my electric razor. (Yes, you can get them USB-charging enabled.) See why we need backup backups? I thought so.
Where’s the Rest?
I honestly don’t know where the rest of poor Nina’s article went. I searched high and low. I reran that Inc. article in *shudder* Microsoft Edge, just to see if my Chrome had gone completely moronic. It hadn’t. However, I would like to say for the record that I would enjoy reading (and refuting) the rest of the list. Nina! Help me out!
In the meantime, I’m going to give you a few more of mine, just in case you find yourself a little more like me than the super savvy sightseer we all aspire to be.
7. Giant Checked Luggage
You need to make this as big as you can possibly get it. Seriously, super-sized. Ideally, with only two wheels instead of four. (I like a challenge when racing to the next flight since I always book with indecently short stop-over times. #travel ) I say “giant” because I’m afraid with a LEGO-obsessive son, I need a place to store my 70 pounds of the multicolored blocks, and the Go Kit just won’t do.
This is for when you’re Airbnb’ing your way across the country, as I am currently. Even if it’s just for a few days, you want to make sure that you have enough Cholula in case you want to completely lose your mind on hot sauce. Since you’re bringing them along, anyway, you may as well invest in a long-term solution like this half-gallon bottle. That should at least get you through the next week.
8. Every Article of Clothing I Own
Look, I’m sorry but I like to have options. You never know, while traveling somewhere you’ve never been, nor know anyone from, when you’re going to bump into someone from high school who invites you out to reminisce and you just need to impress. For that, I opt for my stark white total hipster Eccos. I’m afraid nothing else will do.[insert] [/insert]
9. A Really Decent Camera
I don’t care how fancy and highly rated the camera is on my Google Pixel. When it comes down to snagging that perfect shot, I don’t care that the bag for my Canon EOS M10, complete with all attachments, took up space that perfectly decent LEGO could have been using. I’m going to sit down, open the bag, pull the lens out of its anti-dust pouch, delicately unscrew the protective caps on both it and the camera, gingerly snap them together, pull the lens protector off, focus and then click, click, boom! Okay, nevermind. The pigeon flew away. Bugger.
Time to Travel
In the time it’s taken me to write this post, it’s actually time to pull up stakes and head on out of this here one-horse town. I’ve got the car loaded up. My boy is again scrunched. My wife has the printer firmly in her grasp. Another day, another #Airbnb. I wonder if we’ll be taking this much stuff with us to Utah when we do a collaborative Facebook Live event with Carol Tuttle on the 25th of August? Sources say: Most likely.
PS – I want to thank Nina Ojeda, who is a fantastic writer and intrepid entrepreneur, herself. Please go find her, follow her, and love her. She’s totally deserving. 😃