Things I will not travel without

There are many road warriors who visit Bangalore Aviation regularly. We road warriors have a list of items we will never leave home, for a trip, without. This is my “crucial items list”. Please share your list via a comment.

1. Blackberry
Love this GSM device from RIM. It is the device for the road warrior. The Nokia E series, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Treo, I have used them all, and dumped them; in favour of my Blackberry Curve 8310. I use it for my messaging (e-mail and SMS), basic internet, GPS, music, videos, and much more. Even do my blog with it. Works all over the world, with the exception of Japan and Korea, but then, I don’t visit either country too much.

2. Cellular modem and my laptop
As incredulous as it sounds, I find public internet connectivity more difficult to find in India, than most countries I visit. Sure there are tons of Cyber-cafes, but very little connectivity for my laptop. For full featured internet on my laptop, I always pack my Tata Indicom CDMA based “data card” cellular modem. Any day better data throughput in India when compared to GSM, and no roaming charges. At the end of a hard day, in a foreign land with minimal English programming on TV, I crank up my laptop, and play one of my favourite movies. After going through enough brands, even today, I swear by the IBM er Lenovo ThinkPad. Toshiba and HP Pavilion are two brands I swear at.

3. Bose QuietComfort Headphones and eye-shades
These “anti noise” headphones are amazing. Again a TABF (tried all but failed) situation with Senhieser, Sharper Image, and others, I have forgotten. Expensive, but worth every penny. I use the “over the ear” QC2. Cover your ears with it, and flick the switch and it is blissful silence on-board even the nosiest aircraft. I lost one piece on a Lufthansa flight, and was in panic till I bought a replacement. The perfect companion to the headphones — eye-shades. Cut out the light and catch up on some much needed sleep, whether catnaps on short flights, or extended snoozes on long ones.

4. Books, novels, and magazines
At least for little while, get away from those e-mails, spreadsheets and presentations. I never open my laptop on board a flight. I find reading a great way to educate and entertain myself. Friends often ask me, how come, I know so much about so many subjects. Now you know my secret. I learn from the masters, Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, Tom Clancy, Nandan Nilekani, Jack Mingo, Harvard Business Review, Siddharth Basu, and a whole lot of others.

5. Business cards and holder
Globally, business cards are a must. In Asia, business card etiquette is an art by itself. Adequate quantity of cards, proper storage in a business card holder, proper presentation, holding the card with both hands, face up, facing the presentee(s), and presenting the card stating your name, in hierarchical senior to junior order. Your business card, don’t leave home without it.

6. American Express card
I know this will sound like the ad cliché, but I do not leave for a trip without it. The Platinum Card has no spending limit, offers insurance on car rentals saving me money, Membership Rewards, the Concierge service, and once when I lost my card in the middle of nowhere, customer service came to the rescue.

7. Empty water bottle
Now that we are not allowed to carry water through security, and with diminishing service levels in the air, I make sure I carry a 500ml (20 fl. oz) water bottle on board, even if it is empty. Just before the flight doors close, I request the cabin crew to fill it up. This is the one time in the flight the crew is relatively relaxed and will gladly help. They also know, you will disturb them less during the flight, asking for water. As all of us road warriors know, airplane flights are very dehydrating and water is the best drink to have on board.

Share with us the things that you cannot, or will not, travel without ?

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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