Meeting and event planners travel. Some travel a little, some travel a lot. Some travel so much that their plants all dry up and the dog left a note on the door that said “yo stranger, I am outta here”. Thankfully, my travel schedule is right in between the two extremes. Enough to still love it but not so much that my neighbors forget who I am. When I travel, I have gadgets and tools that have to come along for the ride. They just have too. Whether it is a site inspection, client event, or even on vacation, you will find these little buggers scattered throughout my bag.
When I travel, I have gadgets and tools that have to come along for the ride. They just have too, or I go a little insane. Whether it is a site inspection, client event, or even on vacation, you will find most of these little buggers scattered in my bag, tucked in my carryon, or shoved in a pocket.
I opted to list them in no particular order because this is not a top ten list and what is amazing to this guy may not be a favorite of that lady. You will find links to each in the title of the item or in the description! You may also find similar items that are just as good and get the job done… no problem with that! Anyway, I blather… You want to get to the good stuff.
You write in a notebook with special paper (from inexpensive to moleskin) with a very special pen, and like magic, your notes, drawings, and doodles are transferred to your tablet or phone. The app will even convert your handwriting to text that can be sent to Word, Evernote, email, or wherever. Livescribe is very cool and I find it one of the most used tools on site inspections where I can sketch and take room notes.
As a meeting and event planner, I love my Fitbit. Weird? Maybe. But I love knowing the pain and suffering we go through on a daily basis while running through airports, conference centers, and hotels. The knowledge that I can walk 22,000 steps on three hours of sleep makes it easier to get motivated when I am back in the office planning the next one.
Portable phone chargers are everywhere. It seems that half of the exhibitors on the show floor are giving out branded ones like M&Ms. Skip those. They suck. Get real power. The Villain 20000mAH Charger will give your phone or tablet multiple charges, has a built-in flashlight, and all for about $30.
Belkin Surge Power Center
No joke, this is the first item the i3 Events team unpacks when we are setting up our conference office. We put this sucker right in the middle of the table. Once it is plugged in, you have six outlets, eight USB charging ports, and very happy conference staff. This puppy is not cheap but I think it is well worth the $86 to keep everyone’s devices powered up.
A Tablet or Phone Stand
Pass right by the crappy branded phone stand that booth 204 is handing out. You deserve better. You need a real phone or tablet stand. There is nothing better than being able to let go of your device while you sip your Starbucks at 34,000 feet. This is the one that I own, it’s only $10 so grab two.
Gaff Tape, Gaffer Tape, whatever you call it, having a roll should be in the meeting/event/conference planning rule book. We should never be allowed to travel without it. I don’t care if the trip is for work or fun, on a plane or in a car, across the state or around the globe, there is always a need to make something stay in place, stay stuck down, or stay out of the way. Get a roll, hell, get two. Only $17 on Amazon. Here is a neat trick. If you don’t want to take the whole roll, just grab 10 feet or so and wind it around a pencil or a pen and toss it in your carry on.
Amazon Fire Stick
I used to poo-poo traveling with my Fire Stick until just recently. A new one had just arrived and since it was still in the little box, I decided to toss it in my bag, take it with, and plug it into the TV in my hotel room. The experience was amazing. Once connected to the hotel wifi, I was catching up on my local news via the PlayStation Vue App and not losing the ability to work on my tablet or laptop. It almost felt like I was at home. New Fire Sticks have the Alexa voice remote built in which just makes you cool. And all for $40.
Tile Slim Bluetooth Tracker
Have you ever lost your phone, tablet, or your keys at home? I have misplaced mine a million times and it still drives me freaking nuts. When you lose them during one of your conferences or events it doesn’t just drive you nuts, it can produce a state of near panic bordering on batshit crazy. Get Tiles. Attach them to everything, a four pack is only $69 bucks over at Amazon.
Extra Lightning or Android Charging Cables
One of the things that always makes me chuckle when I am on an event site is the number of people that ask me if I have an extra charging cable. If you were ever that guy or gal, know that you can change, you can be the person that always has a charging cord because they are now plentiful, cheap, and so easy to get that you should order twenty of them. Stick them in your suitcase, purse, laptop bag, and carry on. Throw four or five in your meeting planner supply kit. Check out the pic above. These retractable cables are CHEAP. You can get one lightning cable (iPhone) for $11.99 or a TWO USB cables (Android) for $8.99 on Amazon.
Yes, Veronica, I am saying a Chromebook can be life changing for travel. There is nothing better than having a spare laptop when you are at an event or on the road. This is not “your” laptop, rather, this is the “other”. You can loan it to the registration desk, leave it in the show office, or like me, use it on the airplane to work and watch movies because the battery on these things runs forevah. And if you are a Windows or Mac person, no worries, Chromebooks are easy to use. They are also cheap. And by cheap I mean dirt cheap. Can’t beat an extra laptop for under $300 and this Acer is pretty slick.
Logitech MX Anywhere Mouse
We all need a good mouse for travel. Get one. You will not be sorry. This Logitech is my favorite. Oh, and get a case for that puppy.
Get them for your electronics , get them for the hotel room remote, and get some for you because the flight from Chicago to Lisbon was long.
Some may not agree with this one, but, If you have ever had to write more than three sentences on a tablet or phone we share something in common. Tears. We share tears. Typing more than a text message on a screen keyboard sucks and makes me want to cry. I don’t want to weep in public so In my travel kit I toss in a lovely Logitech K-380 keyboard. I can almost leave my laptop at home now. Almost.
A Better Roller Bag
I do not own this but I REALLY want one. I have kicked the tires on one of these and If you have an extra $450, this rollaboard will blow you away. Massive wheels for easy gliding, a waterproof bottom, laptop pocket, and a tablet pouch on the outside, charging ports for your phone, and more, this thing is the Range Rover of carry-on luggage.
One of the best devices in my conference planner tool kit is my KarmaGo. It is simple WiFi. You can connect up to eight devices at a time and get them online for a pretty reasonable price (starting at $3 a month and $10 per gb). All of this with no long term contract and cheaper than most phone carrier devices and plans.
UE – ROLL 2 Bluetooth Speaker – Volcano
Good tunes make conference and event planning even betterer and this is a waterproof speaker that sounds as good as it looks. We do incentive travel programs so a little on the rugged side never hurts.
The Wrap Up
There you go. A whole crap-ton of stuff that makes travel a little easier, a little more fun, and a bunch more productive!