We dread checking in luggage. D-R-E-A-D it. Checking in always adds yet another layer of time wasted away, stuck in the airport, waiting around. That's why planning for carry-on travel makes more sense. Here's how we plan to optimize our tech travel luggage in lean and mean fashion...
The Bag: Case Logic ZLRS-177 Laptop Roller
The Case Logic is our personal carry-on bag of choice, with suitable storage space for a few changes of clothes, as well as a separate compartment for all things tech, like laptops, tablets and camera gear. We usually like the hard plastic models better, but these are still adequately shock-proof with all the padding and extra pockets. Just make sure you can carry everything you stuffed inside.
We also really like the Skooba Design Weekend Warrior duffle (shown at the top of this post). It's outfitted with a plethora of pockets and sleeves for nearly everything and makes getting to your laptop easy. It's a pretty popular model, currently sold out, but supposedly with a new shipment coming next month.
In any case (pardon the pun), consider adding a small cable/cord organizing pouch, like the Think Tank Cable Management 10 or the Grid-IT. Packing all your tech peripherals properly will leave you a lot more space than haphazardly throwing everything inside your pack.
The Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot 16.2 MP HX9V
As convenient as smartphones are with built-in cameras and continually improving sensors, a moderate priced dedicated point and shot will leave them in the dust in regards to image quality, especially in less than ideal lighting situations. You don't need to lug a full DSLR with all the add-ons and lenses, with something compact like the Sony Cyber-Shot 16.2 MP HX9V offering HD movie capture and also GPS tagging for location-aware photos. An alternative recommended by another from our team is the Canon S95, offering a few manual features with the ease of a point and shoot, all in a pocketable size.
The Headphones: Klipsch Image S4
While traveling, most specifically in the airport and onboard crowded flights, we like to isolate ourselves aurally from the rest of the world using a bit of noise canceling technology ("bye-bye" crying baby two seats over) while watching a movie, playing games or just relaxing to some tunes. Our personal favorites are the Klipsch Image S4, for their small size and comfortable fit inside the ear canal. They take almost no space at all and provides excellent sound quality for the price you pay.
The Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0
The laptop has been trumped by the rise of tablets as the ideal tech travel companion. If you can get away without having to bring along a laptop, usually laptops are able to do 90% what a traditional machine can do (especially if you pair it with a wireless keyboard). When it comes to weight while traveling, less is always more. Without invoking mention of that "other" popular tablet, we do like the recently updated Galaxy Tab if you're fond of Android devices, which comes in both 10" and 7" screen options. A bonus: tablets are also exempt from the TSA regulations that make you pull out laptops for direct inspection! You'll still have to take off your shoes though.
Charging Up: Belkin Universal AC Adapter: you've survived the flight, have arrived at your destination and want to shoot over a quick email or browse for places to eat. But your smartphone or tablet is down for the count and you realize Uruguay uses an electrical plug that looks nothing like the one you've got. Avoid this by always keeping a universal power adapter in your luggage!
And if you need help getting everything to fit into a compact carry-on, there's further advice about packing optimization over at OneBag.com, where we learned the power of the Packing Cubes and why you might always want to travel with a small LED flashlight when traveling abroad.