When it comes time to go on a trip, most of us tend to pack everything we think we'll need in a bag, you know, "just in case." Usually these items end up overflowing in our carryon bags, prompting the TSA to get suspicious over all those wires inside. But what if you have to go somewhere just for a day — not even overnight — and you need to bring some supplies, but you also have to carry them with you all day. What do you do? I ran into this dilemma myself recently when I needed to go on a trip for 15 hours, but I still had to do some work along the way. Here's how I made my plan.
1. The Perfect Bag: I knew that I needed something to carry all of my stuff, but it also needed to be very lightweight and easy to carry. I debated a roller, but where I was going I'd be in tight crowds, and I knew it would just get kicked, potentially damaging my equipment in the process. After debating the options I had in my closet, I went with the Incase Nylon Sling Sleeve, an older one that was a touch oversized for my laptop, but had extra pockets for extra goodies. Alternatively, you could do a backpack, but that wouldn't have worked for my situation.
2. Lightweight Computer: I bought a 13-inch MacBook Air recently, which meant I'd only be carrying a little over 2.5 lbs with me, and that was a huge advantage. You don't have to own a Mac though, just consider what kind of horsepower you need for your trip. If you don't have any heavy computing to do, consider a netbook or even a tablet, whatever fits the minimum needs for your trip. In my case, I heavily considered taking my iPad over the Air, but it just wasn't powerful enough for what I needed.
3. Charging Accessories: If you're on the go for business, chances are pretty good that you're talking on your phone a lot, and you could be wearing down the battery in the process. Most phones today charge off USB, so my solution was to bring my charging cable for my iPhone, and not the charger. Although it's small and light, it's another thing to carry, and every little bit counts. I did bring the charger for the Air however, because there's no point in charging the iPhone if the Air doesn't have any power to give.
4. Cutting Out the Garbage: I don't know about you, but in my laptop bag I have extra cables, video adapters, USB keys and all sorts of stuff that I generally don't use, but need just in case. By taking those out of my bag I saved roughly half a pound, which dropped the bag weight down even more.
The Results: By the time I was done with the trip, I had easily put 10 miles on my body, and I was certainly feeling the side effects. What I discovered was that I did use everything in my bag, but it would have been even nicer to shed a few more pounds if possible. But by keeping it light and skipping packing accessories like a camera, I easily saved some harm on my back in the process.