Here are my “rules” for business travel:
1. Know your disabilities and forget the machismo. If you’re like me, a 56 year old overweight guy with back surgery scars, you’ve got to accept that you have limitations. Know what they are and respect them. Which leads me to Rule #2.
2. Never carry anything (other than a small tote bag for day trips). If it don’t roll…it don’t go! Forget the guys who show you their incredible carry-on bags with 101 pockets. Carrying anything that weighs more than a couple of pounds will surely skew your gait and eventually cause you back and joint problems. Hey, how do you think I got these disabilities?! My wife is a physiotherapist. I can’t say I wasn’t warned, but what macho guy listens to his wife anyway, right? I thought I was being smart by buying a huge backpack that could carry my laptop, camera equipment, clothing, etc. So I went to Europe for two weeks with 50 pounds strapped to my back. Hey, no one told me there’s nowhere to sit at Heathrow and that you’re not allowed to go to your gate any sooner than one hour before your flight. Try walking the halls of a major airport for six hours with the equivalent of a small gorilla strapped to your back. Disk compression here I come (and I don’t mean the files on my hard-drive).
3. Accept that you will need a couple of different configurations depending on how you’re going to travel and for how long. For day trips I use a small tote (which also serves as my regular briefcase)…I love the one from Tumi’s Alpha collection, shown below.It may look large in the photo but it’s on a mannequin the size of the proverbial 145 lb. guy who used to get sand kicked in his face before he learned Karaté. On me the bag looks like a slightly large murse. And so what if it does…who is going to make something of it when you’re 6’2″/250 (I wish)?
For anything overnight I immediately move to a roll-aboard type small suitcase. I transfer everything from the tote into the front compartments and use it as my briefcase. I will not carry and roll…it’s too much (you’ll eventually look like Quasimodo…others will pity the poor handicapped guy, but admire the tailor who can make him such nice suits!). For longer than a week, I take the larger rolling suitcase and the tote…but I check the suitcase in! Again, only shlep one bag (except for the cab ride to the hotel I guess).
4. Figure out how much you’re going to need by way of clothing…and then cut it in half (the amount, not the clothing stupid!).
5. Use the technology, don’t be abused by it. Instead of carrying my big laptop, I bought a small notebook, the Assus Eee which weighs about three pounds and has a battery life of 9.5 hours. I subscribed to LogMeIn.com which allows me to access my desktop computer from any remote location (even from my iPhone!) and literally use it as if it were in front of me….checking and responding to emails, accessing programs and files, etc. With a Rogers “stick” I can even do this from any car, airport, etc. through the cellular 3G network. No more need to spend hours when I get home updating files, etc.