10 Gadgets You Should Never Take on a Business Trip

May 31, 2013

1:46 pm

In my experience, you can generally bulk all people who travel into two broad, but distinct, categories. Let me preface this blunt categorization by saying that apart from shrimp cocktails and the way that airport bars add tax to alcoholic beverages, wide generalizations are probably my least favorite thing. Still, these two groups are so different, and the differences so apparent, that it’s nearly impossible not to think of them as completely separate from one another.

The first group are the early packers. These are generally the sort that have their bags packed at least a night before. Each day’s worth is accounted for in their suitcase along with one “emergency” outfit.

The second is the last-minute packer. This person can usually be found throwing clothes into a canvas bag, or duffel bag, or pillowcase, five minutes before the car arrives to take them to the airport.

Of course there are combinations and sub-combinations of these two main groups – for example, the early packer who is so indecisive they begin packing the night before, and continue to do so right up until, and usually after, the car bound for the airport has arrived and been waiting for 15 minutes.

Differences aside, there is something that every person who has packed for a business trip has had to deal with, at least for the last few years.

What devices should I bring?

That seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? And it is. At least in theory.

But when it comes time to pack and you look at all the options – all the gadgets and accessories you’ve compiled over the last few years – well, you may have to pack a completely separate bag just to bring everything that you think you need.

But you don’t really ned all that stuff, do you?

Here’s a list of 10 gizmos, gadgets, and blinking things that I think you’d be completely fine leaving out of your suitcase when you pack for your next business trip. It may not be easy, but your life will be a lot easier.

Tablet

I have one, an iPad to be specific, and I love it. Nine times out of ten I bring it with me everywhere I go. I’m not a big fan of reading things on my phone, and my iPad is light enough to carry around with me, which means all my books and magazines are with me as well.

Well, one place a tablet shouldn’t go is on your business trip. Let me explain why. iPads are handy, fun to use, absolutely. They just don’t make much sense when you have the option of bringing a fully functional laptop along with you instead. Sure, there are business-oriented apps you can use, but many of these apps were made for laptops and desktops. And, sure, you can use them on your tablet, but not in any way that could be considered efficient, not when compared to a laptop. If you’re looking for something without too much weight, check out Apple’s Macbook Air or the Windows Ultrabooks.

Bluetooth Keyboard

As you’ll find with most of the stuff on this list, if you follow a little bit of advice (bring a laptop not a tablet), then you won’t really need much of anything else. For example, the Bluetooth keyboard. Cool? Yes. Handy? Sure, kind of. Convenient? No. It’s much easier to type on a Bluetooth keyboard than on your tablet’s virtual one, of course. But bringing your tablet and a Bluetooth keyboard everywhere means you are virtually carrying the same amount of weight that you would be if you had a Macbook Air, and you’re tying yourself to a handful of double A batteries.

Bluetooth Mouse

See above. The same applies. Even if you bring your Bluetooth mouse, it’s usually easier not to use it because of space constrictions. Unless, of course, you think you can get away with asking the person sitting next to you on the plane if you can use their pull-out tray.

USB Hub

Again, not necessary if you have a laptop with you. When you’re traveling, you should be trying to bring the least amount of things possible, not your entire home office. Bringing along a USB hub is opening yourself up to bringing every USB-powered gadget you have. Leave it at home.

Portable DVD Player

Honestly, I was amazed that these even still exist. Anything that you want to watch is likely to be available on iTunes, or Amazon Instant play, so why bother with the small screen and bulky DVD case? Both services allow you to rent movies and TV shows for $2 or $3 a pop, and you have up to 30 days to watch them.

Headphones

Don’t get worried, of course you can bring headphones. But I would stay clear of the giant cans that fit over your hears and spring for some in-ear noise-canceling headphones. The bigger headphones often have unwieldy cords that get tangled when stuffed into pockets. The more manageable your gear is, the more likely you are to use it.

DSLR

Everyone likes taking pictures, even during a business trip. That being said, just because you own a fantastic, full-frame, $4,000 digital camera doesn’t mean you need to bring it with you everywhere. You could effectively be doubling your device load by bringing a huge camera when, in all likelihood, the camera on your phone will do just fine.

Portable Scanner

Is this even a possibility? I know there are small portable scanners out there in the world, and I can even see why you would think you need one. But, just like the camera above, there’s no reason that snapping a photo with your smartphone won’t do just as good as a portable scanner. Anyways, if you’re on a business trip, there’s a good chance that the office you’re visiting will have a scanner you can use.

Huge Power Strip

Should you bring a power supply? Yes. All too often, hotels only supply guests with one wall outlet (two if you count the one in the bathroom), and even if you’re smart enough to have brought your laptop, you’re still going to have to plug in your phone. But bring a small power supply. Remember, space is everything when you’re packing for a trip, so the lighter you pack, the better. If you’re in the market, Belkin has a great Mini Surge protector that works wonders.

Kindle

Here’s the one allowance I’ll make. Remember when I said I hate reading on my phone? The only thing worse than that is reading on your laptop. So bring that Kindle along with you, and, if you don’t have one, well, get one. They’re only 70 bucks.

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Daniel Cassady is an experienced freelancer, guest blogger, and frequent contributor to a blog hosted by Benchmark Email Marketing services.

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