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Philosophies

19 Travel Essentials for the International Businessman

Living out of hotels and traveling over 300,000 miles a year was never part of my plan however has opened up my eyes to a whole new world and allowed me to see luxury in so many different ways. Engaging in continuous travel requires a level of efficiency beyond most other lifestyles – a “carry on” life style forces you to streamline your necessities and ensure that you are not holding onto or hauling with you anything that adds no value. It was this thought that started me wondering what I truly value. 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 to those that I treasured many years ago. This below list shares 19 of the things that make my life so much easier. What’s baffling is that 10 years ago not one of these existed but today I honestly believe that my days would be nearly impossible without these ‘valuables’ in my life.

1. My Tumi Luggage

This is quite simply the best luggage in the world. In the past 3 years I have tried literally tens of luggage solutions with the belief that brands like Tumi are simply too expensive. The money wasted on buying inferior products could have been saved and invested into 2 sets of the most beautiful luggage I have ever seen. My tetrapax international carry on suitcase is simply amazing. It weighs next to nothing, is virtually indestructible and looks simply stunning. What’s even better is that it just works! The internal sections allow me to hang 2 suits on Tumi’s own expertly designed fancy hangers, my valuables are contained neatly in the sturdy internal pocket and the entire compartment is quite literally an Aladdin’s cave of space. My most recent achievement was the ability to travel consecutively for 5 weeks with just my carry on suitcase and its complementary day bag. The icing on the cake is that they even personalize them for you with your initials. Never thought I could fall in love with a bag!

2. My iPhone

No list of modern essentials is complete without a smartphone. It is in fact hard to imagine all the way back to 2006 and remember the ‘dark ages’ that existed pre-iPhone. Imagine back to a life without an app for everything. Despite 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 I have learned to rely on are now part of my everyday routine. The following lists some of the more truly amazing tools that I’m able to use elegantly and effortlessly from the palm of my hand.

  • World Clock – Knowing the time variances across the world allows me to plan travel more effectively and prevents me attempting to phone somebody at unsociable hours.
  • Currency Converter – Instant ability to compare prices to known currency. Without this I could have easily overpaid for many an item when recently visiting China, Thailand, or UAE.
  • Weather – Assuming you know the weather conditions of your next trip can cause some pretty big problems. A quick check means you know weather to pack the sunblock or the rain jacket.
  • Airline Apps – Remembering your frequent flyer numbers, delivering push notifications on flight changes and allowing instant amends to your bookings means waiting excessively in lines at airports is now a thing of the past. Did I mention boarding passes that won’t accidentally get discarded with your coffee cup??
  • iTunes – I know that we now just take this incredible program for granted but I still remember how innovative the Sony Walkman was, so the ability to access, save, and play thousands of songs at an instant is still worth remembering 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 can be the closest I get to a face-to-face conversation with my family and loved ones. You’ve also probably experienced the effect of seeing someone who is far away live and right on your phone screen, and it’s something I am eternally grateful for and something that eases the pain of huge distance.

phone q card case3. The best iPhone case in the world

Ok this may not be for everybody but for me this is just genius. An elegant case that protects one of my most valued possessions and can also hold my bankcards and ID. When I wax lyrical about this truly amazing product I sometimes have people comment about the fact that if I were to lose my phone in this case then I would lose EVERYTHING! That is precisely the point – because it is so important to me and I only have the 1 thing to look after the chances of me losing it are dramatically reduced. The reality is that it is either in my hand or in my pocket!

4. My MacBook Air

So this is starting to sound a little one sided with my adoration for all things that come out of this amazing little company in Cupertino but lets be honest, what else could you possibly carry in your bag that is 11 inches wide and delivers so much convenience. At only 1.08/1.35kg and with a battery life exceeding over 8 hours there is really nothing to compete with it in the portable laptop market. It’s the size of a tablet with the power of laptop, looks amazing and is the perfect size to work on a plane. And in case you missed it the first time I mentioned- it has an 8 hour battery life which means you can use it throughout almost every flight without the need for a power supply.

clicky thing5. My presentation clicky thing

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 joy as completing a physical education class wearing an outfit entirely made up from the lost property bin. It travels everywhere with me, is ever reliable, feels great in my hand, has just 4 simple buttons, and connects wirelessly to a USB stick I connect right into my own computer to access my presentations. This clicker truly ensures that every slideshow supports my presentations effortlessly and helps me avoid the risk of appearing amateur by progressing slides from the laptop itself. The horror!

harman kardon6. My Harmon/Kardon portable speaker

The ability to listen to music when getting ready in the morning, when working in my hotel room or chilling on the beach has long been missing from my life. Like many of us I have tried to utilize my smartphone’s ability to project music into the room from its tiny internal speaker. However the tiny sound lacks any texture and soon starts to agitate as opposed to invigorate my senses. Considering that theunbeatableforit would already make it a necessity, on the fact that this iPhone-sized speaker is also designedany USB-powered,being a‘’ When space is at a premium, every item needs to pull its weight – this tiny speaker certainly packs a punch.

dropbox7. Dropbox

If you are not using this by now then you are quite simply missing out. All of your documents and files synced and stored 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 in premises, 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.

campaignjedi-logo8. Campaign Jedi

Excuse the shameless plug of one of our own products its just that this tool single handedly delivers me the biggest return on investment when compared to any other of our marketing efforts. From anywhere in the world I can send beautifully designed email campaigns to my contacts and gather valuable data from their behavior following every campaign. Getting started with an account is FREE and you too could soon be communicating more effectively with your database.

9. Skype

After the shock of receiving a single monthly cellphone bill of over $3500 wore off (international data roaming charges were the lead culprit), I soon realized that enough was enough. Skype gives me the luxury of making local rate calls to any number around the world for either no or a very low charge. What’s even better still is that I can often see the faces of the people I am talking with which is great when catching up with family as well as recently the instant messaging service has allowed some very efficient communication with overseas clients at some very crazy hours.

10. My Moleskine

So many people either fail to take notes, fail to take consistent notes, or take a series of notes on loose leafs of paper and fail to gain benefit from those thoughts as the writings aren’t collated and often get misplaced before any actions are made. Despite the fact that my first 9 vital products are at the leading edge of technology, I still consider myself the old fashioned type, which means I continue to see huge value in taking my notes in pen and ink. Committing the ink to paper creates a permanent record of my thoughts and as such my dedication to acting on those thoughts is significantly increased. Somewhere between the texture of the paper, the high quality of the hardcover and threaded binding, subtle lines which encourage me to think clearly, and overall pleasant weight of this journal, I really haven’t found one that compares (except my self-designed orange notebook available in the shop!) My Moleskine is rarely out of arms reach and whenever a thought enters my head I know that depositing it on the pages will certainly help them come to life. These journals also create an archive and periodically I can review all that they contain and reference or reprioritize to help support my future actions.

Yelp Inc. Illustrations Ahead of Earnings Figures11. Yelp

Landing into a new city with limited local knowledge can result in huge time being wasted trying to find a great place to eat, a quality hairdresser or a retail store open to acquire today’s latest essential item. Having access to this valuable smartphone app delivers me instant access to local services with stacks of user-generated reviews, locality, contact details and easy directions to find them. Yelp is one of my best friends and so far has saved me huge amounts of time and introduced me to many great places I would have never found on my own.

opentable12. OpenTable

Looking to make a restaurant reservation and sick of making phone calls only to find out that they have no room at the inn? This website and smartphone app gives you direct access to thousands of the world’s best restaurants, all you need to do is to 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 is that if your preferred availability is not available the open table will suggest alternative times or locations with the availability you are looking for.

airbnb13. AirBandB

When in the previous 12 months you have spent over 140 nights sleeping in corporate hotels the thought of spending a single night more than necessary having to remember your room number, choose your meal off of the depressing room service menu and be surrounded by generic interior designer placed accessories could drive anyone to insanity. Finding AirBNB is a professional travellers dream come true. Real homes in great cities and 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 out on a couch in your PJs with your favorite takeout is all the luxury you need.

netflix14. Netflix

It’s just like normal television only better. What makes it better? Here is a short list that in my opinion confirms that anyone watching terrestrial TV – or worse – still paying for satellite or cable has either too much money or too much spare time. TV seasons are uploaded in their entirety meaning you can watch them at your leisure and without needing to stack huge DVD box sets in your already overflowing shelves and cupboards. There is no advertising, meaning you can simply watch the show you choose with no distractions or time wasters. There is huge choice of amazing movies, award winning shows and Netflix exclusives that mean there is never ‘nothing to watch’. Watching television is now just about the entertainment. Without being tempted to watch some current affairs shows or listen to sensationalist news channels, you stay away from the negative propaganda that can easily poison ambling thoughts.

Tunnelbear15. Tunnelbear

I am not sure if you are aware but access to certain websites is restricted in many countries around the world. This has meant that I have 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 when visiting Amsterdam. The answer to this straight jacket of a problem was to invest in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service that allows me to trick any of the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) into thinking that I am browsing the Internet from a country that does not carry the same restrictions that are causing me the concerns. Not only that – I can now watch any of my favorite British shows when in the US and vise versa!

cyfe16. Cyfe

Running a business in today’s market means you have tens of important statistics to manage. These key performance indicators are often spread across multiple tools and you find yourself having to access a collection of reports to gain the data you need to make vital decisions in your business. 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, expenses, 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.

peopleperhour17. People Per Hour

Ever wished you had an extra pair of hands to complete an important project or need some expertise on a short-term basis and just don’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 resource of specialists that could be doing things for you and free up more of your time to concentrate on what you are really good at.

xero18. Xero

In business you will have often heard the saying that “cash is king”. Keeping abreast of your finances can be the make and break of any organization. Your sales may be coming in, but simultaneously so are your bills – if you fail to send your invoices and actually organize the collection of payments, then 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 have full transparency to 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 businesses future.

uber19. Uber

I remember far too many late nights trying to hail myself a taxi, or the times when I am continually checking out of my living room window waiting for the minicab to arrive. Those days are now all 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 its on its way. I even get a live gps map feed of the cars progress but perhaps the best thing of all is that the low fees are charged direct to my account and I don’t ever have to worry about having currency to pay the fee!