Brandon on Simple Travel Hacks

Originally published by Brandon at mbjones.net.

I know it’s been quiet around here the past few weeks; I’ve spent most of it on the road (or in the air), traveling for work. As travel is fresh on my mind, I thought I’d share a few of my travel hacks for going to and fro in the Eastern African context. My guess is though that these hacks would apply to a number of different circumstances. 

  • When traveling via air I never go without my SCOTTeVEST vest. It probably looks stupid on me (and I fought wearing a vest for quite some time because it sounded kind of old man-ish) but it just works. And it works too well. It basically acts as an extra carryon. In fact, I can get everything I need for a long flight into that vest meaning I can maximize the space of my carryons for what I’ll need on the ground. I suppose I should thank my parents for getting this for me as I’d have never thought to. 
  • In the Eastern African context, I always travel with two charged battery packs (11400mHa Anker and a 10200mHa Xiaomi). I never know what the power situation is going to be like and these will generally keep my phone going about a week before needing a recharge.
  • When traveling via bus, keep your bags with you. This might mean you need to keep your biggest one on your lap the entire trip but this enables a lot of flexibility - you can jump off whenever you need to, your bags won’t get filthy in compartments that have never been cleaned or soaking wet due to the rain falling on it on top of the bus. It also helps prevent theft.
  • Likewise, in air travel regionally, try to travel with only a carry on. We’ve lost checked luggage a lot here. Most of it was eventually found but not always (and sometimes not before the end of a trip). I’ve got packing down to a science and can basically get all I need for about a week in my carryon. 
  • It’s worth investing in good quality luggage because it gets beat up here. Quality materials and craftsmanship will take it much better and help prevent unfortunate accidents along the way. It also means you are replacing it much less frequently. Both of the bags I regularly use have long term comprehensive warranties. I recommend the Tortuga Travel Backpack as a carryon (reviewed here) and the Mission Workshop Monty as an everyday carry. As a bonus, the Monty above packs flat when empty so it is easily packed for travel in the Tortuga. 
  • Pack light and simple. Just take what you need and not what you might want. I’ve found that I’ll take what I think I might want and then never even use it on trip.
  • A good book makes the journey faster. On these past few trips I devoured Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives series. I’ve been in a fiction mood this year (which hasn’t happened in a long time) and am really finding a lot of enjoyment in these epic fantasies.

So, what are your travel hacks?