The holiday season is upon us and with it, the gift giving season. If you either are a RoadWarrior or are close enough to one to buy them gifts, you know that life on the road is just easier when you can carry everything with you on the plane and skip the fun of the baggage carousel. There is no place I would rather be less than standing around watching the metal conveyor belt revolve around a carpeted island of futility and wasted time. I avoid it at all costs. It does not matter whether I am traveling for the day or for the week, you can bet I will be getting it all to fit in the overhead bin so I pay special attention to what I pack in my bag. Suitcase space is premium real estate and has to be utilized well.
So what are the things that make the grade for me?
Here is my list, my 12-days of Christmas if you will, of the items that hold special places in my carry on and why. Feel free to use these ideas for gifts for the RoadWarrior in your life:
Vibram Five Finger Shoes:
This was probably the first product that I purchased specifically because of the way they travel and the one that I get the most comments on. Vibrams to put it simply, are awesome and yes, I do run in them regularly. Now I am not in the camp that is all about minimalist footwear or the camp that wears Five Finger shoes because they will help strengthen the smaller muscles in your feet. For me, these are all about how much space they take up in a suitcase. When you wear a size 11 shoe like I do, your tennis shoes take up a lot of space, even if you do stuff them with socks and underwear. These take up less space than my flip flops and I really do love working out in them now. I started on the space argument but now don’t think I would ever switch back to traditional shoes. To shop for your own, click here.
This is one that travels with me about 50% of the time based on the hotel gym I may be encountering. All you need is about 10 sq. ft. of space with an 8 ft ceiling and you can get a great HIIT cardio workout in. One thing to note, if you carry a weighted speed rope like I do, be prepared to be stopped by TSA about 50% of the time. They are not used to seeing them and often confuse them with a club of some type. I honestly think the TSA agents are more curious than anything else.
Seems simple enough but I did a whole blog post on the motivating power of an empty water bottle last year. I now carry a ‘Premium’ bottle with me so that I can have both the benefit of tracking the water I intake as well as being able to utilize the shaker function.
Bluetooth/Sweat Proof Headphones:
I love being able to set my phone on the side of the gym with my other belongings and not have to worry about it falling out of my pocket or me snagging the headphones cord during my work out. I can’t tell you how many times I sent my phone flying off the treadmill before I invested in a set of these. I am also a firm believer in having a set of headphones that you work out in and another for phone calls. I am living, breathing proof that no headphones are truly ‘sweat proof’.
Multi-port USB Charger:
The number 2 priority I place on item selection when it comes to packing is the weight of the time (volume being #1). When you are traveling with a laptop, iPad, iPhone, bluetooth headphones, etc, etc, etc, that is a lot to charge and a lot of chargers. One charger, multiple cords. Less weight.
You know those cheap backpacks that everyone and their brother are giving away as promotional items and every middle school boy in America is walking around with? Yep, those. They are awesome for bringing stuff to the hotel gym, the real gym or even the pool when it is warmer and you either have no pockets or stuff falls out of the pockets really easily (as in every pair of workout shorts ever).
You can read all about the contents here but I always travel with a snack bag, even day trips. If I am going to invest my time and energy into making sure I get a good workout in, I am going to do everything I can to not sabotage it by making poor dietary choices if I can avoid them. I always also include Shakeology in my bag as I want complete nutrition options if I find myself in the airport and hungry.
I LOVE MY TRX!!! However it usually only travels with me when I know the hotel gym that I will be experiencing is beyond lackluster. This one really does take up a lot of space but especially on short trips, is totally worth it. I use it routinely at home and on the road and you can get a GREAT workout with this single apparatus. With the door mount, you don’t even have to leave the hotel room. Best travel fitness investment I have ever made.
So this one is pretty specific to the martial artist but it does bring up a good point. I love to train in martial arts, especially rolling BJJ when I am on the road. One piece of equipment that is critical to preventing injury is wearing a mouthpiece so I travel with one everywhere I go. By having my mouthpiece, I can go roll at any school that will have me with little to no notice. It lets me pursue one of my passions. For you (or your RoadWarrior) it may be a racket or a club. Whatever it is, bring it along what you are passionate about so that if the opportunity arises (or you create it), you are not left with the excuse “It is too bad I did not have my……”
So there you have it, the list of my favorite things that may or may not be in your suitcase today. What makes your cut? What are the things you simply can’t travel without?
For full disclosure, I am not receiving any type of incentive from the companies that make or distribute these products, with the exception of Shakeology as I am a BeachBody Coach.