Living out of hotels and traveling over 300 thousand miles a year was never part of my plan, but it’s opened up my eyes to a whole new world and allowed me to see luxury in so many different ways. Engaging in constant travel requires a certain level of efficiency – a “carry-on” lifestyle forces you to streamline your necessities and ensure that you’re not holding onto or hauling with you anything that doesn’t add any value. It was this thought that made me wonder what I truly value when I travel. Everybody has their own list of valuables, and after taking some time to reflect, I soon realized that the tools and objects that I value the most are very different from those I treasured many years ago. This list shares 19 things that make my life so much easier when I’m living out of a suitcase. What’s baffling is that ten years ago, not one of these things existed, but today I honestly believe that my travel days would be nearly impossible without them in my life.
This is, quite simply, the best luggage in the world. In the past three years, I’ve tried dozens of luggage solutions after convincing myself that brands like Tumi are simply too expensive. But the money I wasted on buying inferior products could have easily been saved and invested in two sets of the most beautiful luggage I’ve ever seen. My Tetrapak international carry-on suitcase is simply amazing. It weighs next to nothing, is virtually indestructible and looks simply stunning. What’s even better is how functional it is! The internal sections allow me to hang 2 suits on Tumi’s own expertly designed hangers, my valuables are contained neatly in the sturdy internal pocket and the entire compartment is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of space. My most recent achievement was traveling consecutively for five weeks with just my Tetrapak suitcase and its complementary day bag. The icing on the cake is that they even personalize them for you with your initials. I never thought I could fall in love with a bag, but here I am!
2. My iPhone
No list of modern essentials is complete without a smartphone. At this point, it’s hard to imagine all the way back to 2006 and remember the dark ages that we survived pre-iPhone. Imagine life without an app for everything! Beyond the obvious functions – making calls, sending and receiving texts and emails – the iPhone is so high on this list for all of its additional benefits. The tools upon which I’ve learned to rely are now part of my everyday routine. Here are some of the most amazing tools that I’m able to use elegantly and effortlessly from the palm of my hand:
- World Clock – Knowing the time differences across the world allows me to plan travel more effectively and prevents me attempting to call somebody at an unsociable hour.
- Currency Converter – Instant ability to compare prices to your base currency. Without this app, I could’ve easily overpaid for so many items when I recently visited China, Thailand, or the UAE.
- Weather – Assuming you know the weather conditions of your next trip can cause some pretty big problems. A quick check means you know whether to pack the sunblock or the rain jacket.
- Airline Apps – Recording your frequent flyer numbers, delivering push notifications on flight changes and allowing instant changes to your bookings means that waiting excessively in lines at the airport is now a thing of the past. Did I mention boarding passes that you won’t accidentally throw out with your coffee cup?
- Spotify – I know that we now just take this incredible program for granted, but I still remember how innovative the Sony Walkman was when it came out. The ability to access, download and play thousands of songs in an instant is still worth recognizing as a piece of technological brilliance.
- iMessage – FREE messaging to any other iPhone user anywhere in the world with an internet connection? Yes, please!
- Facetime – Sometimes this is the closest I can get to a face-to-face conversation with my family and loved ones. You’ve also probably experienced the emotional effect of seeing someone who is far away live on your phone screen, and I’m always grateful for the way it eases the pain of long-distance love.
This product might not be for everybody, but for me, it’s pure genius. It’s an elegant case that protects one of my most valued possessions and can also hold my credit cards and ID. When I wax lyrical about this truly amazing product, I sometimes have people worry that if I were to lose my phone in this case, I would lose everything. That is precisely the point! Because it’s so important to me and I only have one thing to look after, the chances of me losing it are dramatically reduced. The reality is that it’s always either in my hand or in my pocket!
I realize I’m starting to sound like an Apple ad with my adoration for all things that come out of that amazing little company in Cupertino, but let’s be honest — what else could you possibly carry in your bag that’s 11 inches wide and delivers so much convenience? At only 2.38/2.98 lbs and with a battery life of over eight hours, there’s really nothing that can compete in the portable laptop market. It’s the size of a tablet with the power of a laptop, looks amazing and is the perfect size for working on a plane. And in case you missed it the first time, it has an eight-hour battery life, which means you can use it through any domestic flight without needing to plug it in for a power boost.
It seems silly that something so simple found its way onto this list of essentials, but the thought of having to deliver a presentation without it fills me with as much terror as going to physical education class wearing an outfit entirely from the lost-and-found bin. It travels everywhere with me, is ever-reliable, feels great in my hand, has just four simple buttons and connects wirelessly to a USB stick that I connect right to my own computer to access my presentations. This clicker ensures that every slideshow supports my presentations effortlessly and helps me avoid the risk of seeming amateur by clicking between slides from the laptop itself. The horror!
Being able to listen to music while getting ready in the morning, working in my hotel room or chilling on the beach has long been missing from my life. Like many of us, I’ve tried to use my smartphone’s ability to project music into the room from its tiny internal speaker. However, the sound lacks texture and soon starts to agitate me instead of invigorating my senses. I soon realized that I needed a proper speaker when I travel. When space is at a premium, every item needs to pull its weight – this tiny speaker certainly packs a punch.
If you’re not using this service by now, you’re missing out. It stores and syncs all of your documents and files securely in the cloud, accessible from any device, anywhere in the world. This simple tool has single-handedly saved me thousands from allowing me to reduce my overhead, collaborate with my clients and co-workers all around the world and save huge amounts of time by being able to share important documents with others instantly from my smartphone.
Excuse the shameless plug of one of our own products, but this tool single-handedly delivers me the biggest return on investment compared to all of our other marketing efforts. From anywhere in the world, I can send out beautifully designed email campaigns to my contacts and gather valuable data from their behavior after every campaign. Getting started with an account is FREE, and you too could soon be communicating more effectively with your client base.
After the shock of receiving a single monthly cell phone bill of over $3500 wore off (international data roaming charges were the lead culprit), I realized that enough was enough. Skype gives me the luxury of making local rate calls to any number in the world, either for free or a very low charge. What’s even better still is that I can usually see the faces of the people with whom I am speaking, which is great when catching up with family. Recently, the instant messaging service has also allowed for some very efficient communication with overseas clients at crazy hours of the morning and night.
10. My Moleskine
So many people either fail to take notes, fail to take consistent notes or take a series of useless notes on loose-leaf sheets of paper. Despite the fact that my first nine vital products are at the cutting edge of technology, I still consider myself the old-fashioned type, which means I see huge value in taking my notes with a journal and a pen. Pressing the ink to paper creates a permanent record of my thoughts, significantly increasing my dedication to act on those thoughts. Something about the texture of the paper, the high quality of the hardcover and threaded binding, the subtle lines which encourage me to think clearly and the overall pleasant weight of this journal appeals to me so much that I really haven’t found one that compares (except my self-designed orange notebook, available in the shop!). My Moleskine is rarely out of arm’s reach, and whenever a thought enters my head, I know that depositing it on the pages will certainly help it come to life. These journals also create an archive that allows me to periodically review all that they contain and reference or reprioritize to help support my future actions.
Landing in a new city with limited local knowledge can result a huge waste of time trying to find a great place to eat, a quality hairdresser or a retail store open for urgent purchases. This valuable smartphone app provides me with instant access to local services with stacks of user-generated reviews, location, contact details and easy directions. Yelp is one of my best friends and has saved me huge amounts of time and introduced me to many great places I would have never found on my own.
Looking to make a restaurant reservation and sick of making phone calls only to find out that they have no room for you? This website and smartphone app gives you direct access to thousands of the world’s best restaurants. All you need to do is feed it a specific venue or location, your party size and your preferred time — and, subject to availability, your booking is made! What’s more, if your preferred availability is not available, OpenTable will suggest alternative times or locations with the availability you’re seeking.
When, in the past 12 months, you’ve spent over 140 nights sleeping in corporate hotels, the thought of spending one more night having to remember your room number, choose your meal off the depressing room service menu and be surrounded by generic interior designer-placed accessories could drive anyone insane. Finding AirBnB is a professional traveler’s dream come true. AirBnBs are real homes in great cities and are supplied with all the amenities you need and none of the ones you don’t. When eating out and staying in hotels is your daily routine, the chance to lounge on a couch in your PJs with your favorite takeout is all the luxury you need.
It’s just like normal television, only better. What makes it better? Here’s a short list that, in my opinion, confirms that anyone still watching regular TV — or, worse, still paying for satellite or cable — either has too much money or too much spare time. Netflix uploads TV seasons in their entirety, meaning that you can watch them at your leisure and without needing to stack huge DVD box sets in your already overflowing shelves and cupboards. There are no advertisements, meaning that you can simply watch the show you choose with no distractions or time-wasters. There is a huge choice of amazing movies, award-winning shows and Netflix exclusives, so you’ll never find yourself with “nothing to watch.” Watching television can finally be just about the entertainment.
In case you’re not aware, many countries’ governments around the world restrict access to certain websites. This has meant that I’ve experienced no access to Facebook in Iran, inability to use Google (or any Google-related tools) in China and even the inability to watch Netflix in a language I understood while visiting Amsterdam. The solution to this straitjacket was to invest in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service that allows me to trick any ISP (Internet Service Provider) into thinking that I’m browsing the Internet from a country that doesn’t carry the same inconvenient restrictions. Not only that – I can now watch any of my favorite British shows when I’m in the US, and vice versa!
Running a business in today’s market means that you probably have dozens of important statistics to manage. These key performance indicators are often spread across multiple tools and leave you having to access a collection of reports to gain the data you need to make vital business decisions. Cyfe is a tool that allows you to create custom dashboards that collate all of your key business statistics in one place. From your sales revenues and expenses to your social media statistics and web analytics, everything is now accessible in one place and in an instant you have an overview of all the metrics that are important to you.
17. People Per Hour
Ever wished you had an extra pair of hands to complete an important project or needed some expertise on a short-term basis and just didn’t know where to turn? This amazing service connects freelancers and service providers from all over the world with those that require their expertise. Grab yourself an account and take a look at the rich variety of specialists that could be doing things for you and freeing up more of your time to concentrate on your real strengths.
In business, you’ll often hear that “cash is king.” Financial awareness can make or break any organization. Your sales may be coming in hot, but so are your bills — if you fail to send your invoices and actually organize the collection of payments, you can soon find yourself in deep water. This simple online tool, which syncs all my accounting data and devices, means that at any place and any time I can transparently access the financial activities in my business, a direct feed to my bank accounts – I can even raise new invoices for sales in less than 15 seconds! Having access to all this data means I can make better decisions, save time and plan more effectively for my business’s future.
I remember far too many late nights trying to hail myself a taxi or constantly peeking out of my living room window waiting for the minicab to arrive. Those days are now a thing of the past thanks to Uber. From the palm of my hand, I can request a car to suit my circumstances, click one button and it’s on its way. I even get a live GPS map feed of the car’s progress! Perhaps the best thing of all is that the low fees are charged directly to my account, so I don’t ever have to worry about having the right currency to pay the fee.