Monday, February 8, 2016

My Useless Travel Gadgets

When your job requires you to live out of a suitcase, you'll find yourself taking on a minimum of two new roles with your family and friends.

The first role is that of "Travel Agent" and the other is that of "Travel Gadget Guinea Pig". 

The "Travel Agent" role can be a bit of fun as you get to share hidden gems with others.

The "Travel Gadget Guinea Pig" role isn't nearly as fun because you end up with drawers full of useless travel gadgets. I've been on the road over half of my business career, and for the most part I travel lightly and very efficiently. With that thought in mind I have been "gifted" numerous "make your life easier travel gadgets", most of which have been stored, fancy word for hidden, in a drawer somewhere.

My top 5 useless travel gadgets are below

1) Neck Pillows - Seriously, unless you have a 50lb head these things are useless. Useless for two reasons, they're big and bulky and not worth lugging around for their benefit.
2) Luggage Scales - If you travel regularly you have a general idea what your luggage weighs. If you travel infrequently then try this, weigh yourself and then weigh yourself while holding your luggage. Now subtract the smaller number from the larger number.... that's what your luggage weighs. Plan B, take your luggage to the grocery store and weigh it on their scale. *Side Note* Dirty clothes weigh more than clean clothes, nothing magical just a fact.

3) Travel Irons - Most hotel rooms come equipped with an iron, if yours doesn't consider switching your hotel alliance. There's really no need to iron on the road. If you need help folding your suit jacket check YouTube, and most dry cleaners will "box" your shirts if you ask. Besides I'm not making my in-room mega-grilled six cheese sandwich with my own iron.
 4) Money Belts - Seriously, if the inventor of the Money Belt pitched this idea to Shark Tank he'd currently be managing the local "As Seen On TV Store". This is another product that's really not worth the hassle to use it. If you're worried about pickpockets then wrap a couple of rubber-bands around your wallet and keep it in your front pocket. The rubber-bands create friction between the wallet and the inside of your pocket making it harder to steal.

 5) Luggage - Ones relationship with luggage is a very personal thing, and it should be left that way. No matter how good your intentions are buying luggage for someone else usually ends in disaster. First many of us are brand loyal, be it TUMI or Samsonite, we want our gear. More importantly I know how I pack and I know that I want two pockets on the outside of the bag, no pockets on the inside and only two wheels, you can keep your four wheeled bags.

Road warriors are similar to Thoroughbred horses, we perform in a very organized and disciplined way, and if anything changes neither of us are worth a damn. If you spend much time traveling with a road warrior you'll notice a pattern of consistency, on a plane normally we put the same items in the seat back pocket and are loyal to the aisle or window seat (the middle seats are for rubes). In a hotel room most of us immediately hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door and unpack in the same way each evening. These consistent patterns insure that we don;t leave items behind.

Not looking to hurt feelings, but when you give us a travel pillow because you knew we didn't have one, it's nothing more than an opportunity for us to leave it on a plane or in the trunk of a rental car.

In the future there will be a Useful Travel Gadgets post.

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