Travel checklists

Sometime after I made the horrifyingly stupid mistake of going to CES without my laptop’s charger (leading to a couple of days of frantic power management that had me feeling a tiny bit like an Apollo 13 mission controller), I added a “Travel checklists” note to my phone to remind me of things I’d need to pack or do at home before heading out.

Travel itemsAside from “phone and laptop chargers,” it had a short list of other things I could see myself forgetting: business cards, snacks, headphones, earplugs and an eye mask for an overnight flight, a spare flash drive (now that they’re a standard PR giveaway, that’s not so important), turning down the heat or air conditioning at home, stopping delivery of the Post, watering the plants, and so on.

The stuff-to-take list has grown increasingly specialized in recent years: a microfiber cloth to clean dirt and fingerprints off gadgets I’m going to photograph, a travel power strip, an external battery pack for my phone, a short ruler to check the dimensions of devices, transit-payment cards for other cities, and Ethernet and HDMI adapters for my MacBook Air. For an international itinerary like tonight’s departure for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, add in a power-plug converter, the tiny tool I need to pop out my phone’s SIM-card tray, a couple of roaming SIMs and any leftover currency from my last trip to the same part of the world.

My ability to stay on top of all those items got a huge upgrade a few years ago when my wife got me this great messenger bag: It may not be as professional-looking as the black Lands’ End canvas attache I carry around town (along with a large fraction of other working Washingtonians), but it’s a lot more comfortable to wear all day. So it’s become my go bag for any travel; almost all of the things itemized above live in it full-time, freeing me from having to think much about them.

The things-to-do-before-departure list, however, has grown more involved since our daughter’s arrival. I try to ease the single-parenting duty that falls to my wife by ensuring the fridge is full of leftovers, preferably ones our little one will eat (good thing she loves risotto too), the laundry basket is nearly empty, and no bills are left waiting to be paid. I hope that helps, but I always think there’s some chore I’m forgetting–just like I always think there’s something I’ve forgotten to pack.

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5 thoughts on “Travel checklists

  1. I don’t travel that often, but when I do, I create a list on my phone days before I leave and check them all off as I pack. It is nice to know others carry around the same amount of devices that I do. I usually tote them around in a backpack that holds both my camera gear and a laptop or iPad. I also wear a travel jacket from scottevest.com that helps manage small devices and travel documents.

  2. I tend not to create a comment, but I browsed a few comments on
    Travel checklists | Rob Pegoraro. I doo havve 2 questions for you if it’s okay.

    Is it just me or does it look like some of the remarks come across aas if they are written
    by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting at
    other online sites, I’d like to follow everything
    fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of the compplete urls oof your shared sites like your Facebook page,
    twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  3. If you want to set-up repeatable checklists and routines you can use this web application:

    GTD Agenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  4. Pingback: A broken MacBook power adapter and crowdsourced charging | Rob Pegoraro

  5. Pingback: Last-minute MWC advice | Rob Pegoraro

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