How to Set Up a Mobile Office

How to Deal with Hot Desking | CorporetteWhat do you do if you don’t have a specific desk or workspace every day, and instead have to carry everything you need for work with you? How do you set up a mobile office, or deal with a “hot desking” situation? I’ve had a few questions about this recently, so let’s discuss.

First, Reader S — a British reader starting a new career — will be spending most workdays at clients’ offices, with no more than one day a week at the home office; she may also be commuting on very crowded public trains to and from her work. Essentially, she wonders:

How do I create a “mobile office?
– what are the essentials I should carry everday in order to have everything I need, but not look like I’m moving in and damaging my back in the process?
– What should I bring with me but maybe leave in the hotel room if I don’t need them EVERY day?
– How do I pack light clotheswise but stay stylish?
– Also, what few things should be the things I prioritize and keep in my locker at my company’s office?

A second reader, R (also from the UK! hello Brits!) wonders how to deal with a new office where “we ‘hot desk,’ meaning there are desk tops with docking stations but no drawers or pedestals (with a small locker allocated to them, so small it won’t even fit a pair of shoes.)

Whoa. I’ve always been the kind of worker who likes to really personalize my office — it’s one of the main reasons I’ve resisted working in coffee shops or a group office space now that I’m self-employed. Although it looks like hot desking is already fairly common overseas, Inc. notes that it’s the “latest office design craze” here in America as well, so let’s discuss. (And I’ll say at the outset that your job will dictate what you need — an accountant may need a more specific calculator than the one on your phone; a lawyer may need more highlighters or tape flags than a consultant, and so forth.)  We’ve talked before about how to lighten your tote bag, but here are a few more ideas for you:

- Get really comfy with your devices – smart phone, tablet, netbook, or laptop — and know which things you can do with which device. For example, if you’re making notes to yourself while reviewing a document, you may want to try using a dictation program like Dragon Naturally Speaking with your smartphone — you may also want to get a foldable keyboard.  If you’re moving between computers and devices, services such as Xmarks and Last Pass (both of which I use and like) can help you keep your bookmarks and passwords synchronized, respectively.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m a fan of B-Folders (more of an Android/Windows app) for a secure, non-Cloud way of synchronizing notes, contacts, and more between devices.

- Minimize — get minis for everything you think you want to bring with you every day.  There are companies like Minimus that specialize in mini-sizes of things, but you can also make your own travel-sized items.  I would suggest for the first month maybe bringing two cosmetic bags in your purse for supplies.  At the start of the month put the items you think you’ll need into Bag #1 — and as you use them through the month transfer them to Bag #2.  Anything that is still in Bag #1 at the end of the month (meaning, you didn’t use it at all) should be discarded (just buy it at a drugstore or borrow from a friend), and the stuff that is nearly empty from Bag #2 you may want to consider buying in larger sizes or keeping in your locker.

- If you’re traveling with a limited wardrobe, I would focus on a suit made up of separates in a neutral color, a silk t-shirt or two (packable, washable, lightweight), and a dress or a skirt.  Pick one color scheme, and have as many of your fabrics match (hence the suit suggestion) as possible — they’ll be the easiest to mix and match then.

- Use the limited locker space you have for the stuff you know you’ll need and don’t want to tote every day.  For example, buy an extra set of chargers for your laptop, your phone, etc — cords can be a pain to transport, even if they’re in their own cosmetic case.  I would also add feminine products, maybe a mug or water bottle, and an extra set of glasses.  I’d use whatever space remains on the things that you know you’ll use regularly, but are fragile (e.g., powder eyeshadows) or delicate (silk cardigans always seem to snag when thrown into a bigger tote), but that you wouldn’t want to have to buy at a drugstore if you need it in the moment.

I think you’ll actually be surprised by how little you actually need — remember, you can always buy extra stuff at a local store, particularly in a big city.    Readers, have any of you worked in a hot desk environment, where you didn’t have an assigned office space?  What are the essentials you need for a hot desking situation?

(Pictured: Hot desking, originally uploaded to Flickr by Adam Tinworth.)

Comments

  1. Yes, help witth this please! I need a structured day and work environment (as much as I hate to admit it because I think saying this out loud at work would be very much frowned upon. I’m now in a position where im commuting often, haven’t been assigned an office yet (so its hotstation for at least 6 mos) and its not working well

    • It is easy. My dad did it for me and it is DEDECUTIBLE on my taxe’s too! YAY. What you have to do is have a portion of your apartement (or house, if you have one), dedicated EXCLUSIVELEY for BUSNESS. You can NOT use it for pleasure or personal things. If you have a desk, a computer, a chair, a file drawer, and a garbage can, you can deduct a PRORATA share of ALL expenses for your OFFICE! That mean’s rent, maintnenece, common charges, tip’s to the hired help, phone bills, electric bills and cable bills (but ONLEY if you have a TV in there that you ONLEY watch educational things on).

      My dad does my taxe’s and by moving out my personal stuff from a part of my apartement, I am saveing a few THOUSAND DOLLARS a year in taxe’s! YAY!!!!!

      Dad is very smart and he does my taxe’s, so if you have a smart dad, ask him. Otherwise you should go to HR Bloek, and they can tell you the same thing. If you want a good INTERNET start, look here!

      This is from the IRS, so it has to be right!

      http://www.irs.gov/uac/Work-From-Home%3F-Consider-the-Home-Office-Deduction

      YAY!!!!!

  2. I am only at my permanent desk 1x a week, and at a mobile office on other days. I commute by public transit and foot. I carry two bags: 1 Timbuk2 Swig Backpack (I hate that I have become a backpack person, but it’s a great bag) and one small purse.

    In the backpack I carry:
    –laptop & charger
    –“office” pouch with cordless mouse, phone charger, headphones w/mic
    –“personal” pouch with sanitizer, lotion, lip balm, mints, Advil, band-aids, hair-ties (this goes into my regular purse on weekends)
    –flat plastic folder for the odd flyer or print-out (a paper folder gets ratty really quickly)
    –in the front pouch of the backpack I have an ethernet cord, compact umbrella, foldable shopping bag, 1x each of pen, pencil, highlighter, USB stick, and a handful of paper clips.

    In the purse I carry: wallet, phone, Kindle, handkerchief, business cards.

    And that’s it. I wish I didn’t have to lug my laptop around, but I honestly don’t ever need anything else. If I had a drawer, it would probably just get filled with junk I never need.

    • Also, I use Evernote to sync my notes across devices (laptop, phone, Kindle Fire).

      • Question: Is it quite common to be able to add personal apps and software to company owned computers and phones in the US?

        I see it mentioned quite a lot on this site…

        We are sooooo not allowed in big companies in the UK.

        • Actually, in my exerience, what is more common in the US, is that you use your personal tablets and phones to do work. For example, although my company issues a blackberry, the blackberry does not have phone service and I am not allowed to use the internet – it is ONLY for work emails. But I am expected to be accessible by phone at all times for work (even though they don’t provide me one), so I have to use my personal cellphone. I hate carrying multiple devices, so I now read my work emails on my personal phone as well and leave the blackberry in a drawer. And although work will not issue tablets or laptops (other than on a temporary basis for specific business trips), I am allowed to use my own personal tablet for work. Because I am “on call” all the time, I have an iPad so I can simply step into a coffee shop and do what I have to do when needed, instead of having to go back home or to work on nights and weekends.
          In the US, we can add personal apps to the devices we use for work because they often belong to us and not to work. I think this prevalence of personnal devices used for work has made it so US companies are more lenient on what apps you can add to work devices, when they provide them.

          • Wow, that’s very different. We are usually discouraged from using personal devices for work due to IT security and confidentiality – although some places are now switching to BYOD (bring your own device) schemes. My last company had one of those schemes, but then didn’t allow you to use it on an Android or anything other than an iPhone/iPad because the security wasn’t tight enough! If you do use your own phone for work email etc then you have to grant permissions for work IT department to be able to remotely wipe your device (e.g. if you lost your phone).

            I think work laptops are usually encrypted though so you definitely can’t use your own – although what you said about laptops for specific business trips can be common here too. Again, in my last place you couldn’t even put your own memory stick into a work computer (laptop/desktop) so you couldn’t “steal” information or introduce a virus to the network – same reason sites like outlook.com, gmail, skydrive, dropbox etc are blocked from work.

            In companies where they don’t issue a work phone or laptop I have come across them expecting you to be available on your personal mobile all the time (in that instance I got a separate SIM card just for “business” on a pay as you go price plan” so I could turn it OFF on vacation etc); and I have had managers look the other way about email docs to my personal account and using dropbox to be able to work from home.

          • Meg Murry :

            I work at a US company that does R&D and manufacturing, and they take corporate intellectual property VERY seriously – so although we occasionally make phone calls or texts on our personal phones, they are generally not IP related (more “I’m running late” or “what time is the meeting” “where did you put the file on X” than anything that needs to be kept secure business). Personal devices can’t connect to our wifi, and you can’t add your email account to your personal device. Software is on all the computers so we can’t use flash drives, etc, and emails with attachments are flagged if they go anywhere other than internal email. Dropbox, gmail, google docs etc have been blocked from our network and installing personal software is really frowned upon, if not blocked altogether. People who have travel heavy jobs or managers who take work home are assigned laptops and/or blackberries, and there is a trial going on with some managers being given iPads – but overall we are NOT allowed to install software, etc. They only concession we have is a webmail portal, so if you plan ahead you can email yourself documents you may need – but the webmail portal is slow and buggy, and our email policy has a really short retention, so it really only works if you email yourself documents that you’ll need in the next few days.
            Just for another perspective on work vs personal devices and what is/isn’t allowed.

  3. I’m a consultant that is usually traveling to the client site Mon-Thurs and back in the local office or working from home on Fridays.

    I’m used to traveling with just one bag for the past 2 years. I use a Lo and Sons Travel Tote (I also use the OMG sometimes while traveling as I can fit more in it) that is the perfect size for my laptop, chargers, notebook/papers, water bottle and snacks, 2 phones as well as my “emergency stash”. In my emergency stash I have pepto bismol, motrin, lipgloss/chapstick, tissues, feminine products, blotting papers, hand sanitizer, eye drops, ponytail holders/bobbypins and mints. I don’t usually worry about applying/re-applying makeup at work, so I don’t bring any with me (unless I’m going to a date/event after work).

    This system has worked pretty well while traveling and in the local office. I do wish I had my own space to leave things like sweaters, shoes, snacks, etc. but I usually commute in my formal shoes, and if need to I can stuff them in the bag and wear commuting shoes.

    I think the main thing is having a good bag with plenty of useful pockets.

    • I forgot I also usually fit my Kindle and a mini-umbrella in my bag too. If I know that it is definitely going to be raining a lot/all day I’ll carry a golf umbrella instead.

    • Anon,

      Thanks for the reply. I will be working as a consultant too and I am going to have to get used to having a lot less stationery and “stuff” to hand every day.

      I am a big lover of paper and usually print things out as I find it easier on my eyes to read long documents of large spreadsheets/project plans (printed on A3) in hard copy [sorry planet!]. I also find that annotating documents helps me think, as well as serving as a great reference point when I need to get my hands on info quickly, and is convenient when working on the train with no internet connection.

      Have you had to seriously cut back on what you have on paper to minimise what you have to carry every day?

      Also, if you are out of town Mon-Thus do you bring anything with you that stays in your hotel room? Such as files/reference material you will need during the week but not every day. If you do, how to you usually organise it?

      On another “random” note, I love the idea of some of the apps/software Kat has suggested for organisation, butin most companies I have worked for using stuff like that isn’t an option because IT security prevents you from downloading software on your computer or installing apps on your Blackberry. It is also usually also against the rules to email stuff to yourself (although people sometimes do).

      • Ahh I’m late! I hope you see this. Consultant here – I have a pretty strict Mon-Thurs travel schedule, usually flying.

        I used to love paper (wrote out all of my notes in college, printed everything) but it got very old very quickly – I was on a long-haul project where I left a suitcase at the hotel and by the end of a few months I actually couldn’t lift the bag because of the amount of paper that just accumulates in this job. I rarely take paper home and always shred everything before leaving the client site unless it’s crucial notes for the next day. I do have a notebook that I take to meetings, but usually have to type the notes up for circulation by EOD. I’m very strict with paper now just because it gets SO heavy so quickly.

        In my travel purse I carry:
        – Laptop + charger
        – Personal pouch with advil, lip balm, bobby pins, hair elastics, mascara, other OTC meds
        – Work pouch with cordless mouse, headphones, pens etc.
        – Notebook
        – Tiny travel umbrella if it’s raining – I’ll keep this in my rollaboard instead of my purse if it’s not raining

        Leaves me enough room to throw in a pair of heels for actually being at work, I work with a lot of men and a 30 minute walk from the hotel to the client site is pretty common.

        One thing that has saved me multiple times is a travel wallet that I keep my passport, travel card and travel docs in. I’m very paranoid about losing my passport, and do a lot of international travel (Canada-US-other NA) so knowing that I have them all together and not floating around is great.

        If you want to chat more about the consulting lifestyle or have more specific questions feel free to email me, I’m burnt from just getting off a flight now. email: luxe24 at the google mail dot com

        • Midwest Transplant :

          Don’t know who is going to see this, but the paper thing for me has been challenging. I’ve accepted the fact that to save my back I might have to hurt a few trees. It is easiest for me to read printed materials so I print two sheets to a side of paper and then shred/ recycle when I’m leaving a work place, generally at the end of the week. Anything I might need is generally electronic, and the next time I have to read the large document, I’ll print out another copy. Terrible.

          • That sounds like a good way to at least try and keep the amount of paper you accumulate and carry around down.

            I usually end up with copies of different versions of long documents that I have to review, revise and get signed off. I now I need to get better at shredding/recycling documents once they are no longer the “current” version. I work in Project Management so there are certain documents I like to have on hand for daily reference purposes (risk logs, project plans, the latest status report etc) and then other documents I like to have the “final” version of available should I need to refer to them (project initiation documents/scope documents etc that will be required throughout the full project).

            That’s why I was wondering if maybe I should have some of the reference documents that I don’t need every day in my roller case when I travel, so if I need to bring them in to the office on a particular day I have them with me at the hotel, but don’t schlep them around every day.

            I should probably get better at reading and annotating long documents on screen, but paper is just so much easier to work with and doesn’t require an internet access (unlike shared drives, sharepoint sites etc).

      • As a recovering road warrior, I also recommend keeping an extension cord in your suitcase. Comes in handy for hotel rooms that don’t have conveniently placed outlets, long airport layovers, etc.

  4. Midwest Transplant :

    I’ve worked like this for the last six years, so I understand the pain and agree with most of the suggestions. l I try to reduce the amount of items I carry back and forth on a daily basis. What I do:
    – If you have a permanent space at your client site I would recommend “moving in” there, although clearly to a lesser extent than a real office. At my client I leave a headset, extra laptop and phone charger, computer mouse, mug and a small pouch of office supplies. If I’m going to be there for more than a month, I start bringing a wrap, umbrella, and hand lotion.
    – At my locker in the home office I keep basically duplicates of the same items, but the office supplies, which I can access anywhere in the office.
    – My bag contains my laptop, files (only if I have to transport, otherwise I try to leave at the client), a notebook, wallet, kindle/ ipad, small cosmetics bag with secure token, band aids, avid, chapstick, etc. and often a few snacks.

    I think you have to get comfortable with having fewer physical files and don’t be afraid to purchase multiples to keep in different work spaces. It gets easier with time, although if I had to hotel more than just on Fridays, like the second reader, I think it would get frustrating.

    • Thanks for the tips.

      Unfortunately hot-desking and hotelling is becoming more and more popular in the UK in the name of “efficiency” (aka budget cuts). It can be quite frustrating. I think hotelling is slightly better because at least then desks are bookable for a week or two at a time.

  5. I work in IT, and in IT it’s more acceptable to have a backpack versus having a tote bag. It’s so much easier to bring around your laptop in a backpack AND have a whole bunch of things when you’re walking a lot.
    What I stick in my bag: first-aid kit (like the cheapo ones you can get at Target), small bottles of any meds I might need (especially ibuprofen, variety of stomach meds, feminine products), cleaning products (makeup and eye, also nails). In case something happens I bring any almost-empty foundation and add it to my bag.

  6. More U.S. companies are avoiding assigning permanent desk space/cubicles to contractors, & use of contractors in professional fields has been on the rise for the past decade — both for cost savings. Thus, hot desking.

    The worst part, imo, is the ergonomics, so do what you can to alleviate this by adding a wireless mouse & keyboard to your laptop, & use a borrowed book/binder to raise the laptop & avoid neck/eye strain. Or ask the office if you can plug into a freestanding monitor when you’re there.

    Backpacks cause less back/shoulder strain when you’re carrying a load than a bag slug over one shoulder, or try a wheeled bag if you really have a lot to carry. Make sure the pack has a padded back to protect both you & the laptop, & that the straps are sturdy & secure. My work bag weighs 15lbs, & that’s almost all required tech gear, plus 1 tube of lipstick, a tiny pill case, kleenex, my wallet, house key, & sunglasses. That’s a lot to commute with, so a backpack is the safest. This is one place where personal health should trump fashion.

    • Midwest Transplant :

      I’ve been thinking more and more about a backpack. If I wasn’t able to leave my brick of a charger at the client site, I definitely already would have purchased one. Ah, vanity.

      • Yep, the brick chargers are the worst. But so necessary! Also, long power cords, the longest you can find — you never know how far you’ll be from a plug when you’re mobile. I often work in conference rooms, & the layout isn’t conclusive to easily plugging in unless you have 6 feet of cord.

        • Some laptop companies offer travel-sized brick chargers. That can help the size/weight issue.

          The one I have for my Lenovo is about 1/2 the size and weight of the main power supply at me desk. (I do my daily work on a laptop which is docked)

    • I use a backpack almost year round except in the summer because I don’t like my back getting sweaty in the summer. (I commute by train and/or bus.) I have a very plain, grownup looking (to me) black backpack with no doodads or patches on it. It can’t be confused with what a high school kid would carry. I got mine from eBags and it has pockets and pouches for tech gear, side water-bottle/mini-umbrella pocket and a cell phone pocket.

      If I had extra $$$ I would buy a black leather backpack, like a Tumi or similar.

    • I agree about the ergomomics. If people have a disability or illness thatbrequires special equip,ent on the desk, or a chair adjusted a certain way do they have to move that every day too?

      • Really depends on the company. They might make accommodations or let you keep larger items, like a specific chair, on site, but then, if they can do that, why wouldn’t they just give the employee an assigned desk? Personally, I’d bring what I need (& keep it small). Not sure where ADA (in the U.S.) or similar requirements come in on this. Also, if you’re talking about going to work at a client’s office, then all bets are off.

  7. Don’t have a mobile office, but I do work from home, and frequently have full day/week off-site things (I’m a litigator, so I’ve got a lot of depos).

    First, I designed my own leather handbag through this etsy shop:

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/roughandtumblebags

    Got all the compartments, extra cases, etc that I wanted in colors that worked with a strap length that is perfect for me. Bag is fantastic, and price was super reasonable.

    Here’s what I carry for very long days:

    case for office supplies. mini stapler, pens, post-its/flags, binder clips are the most frequently used.
    case for personal items: travel pack of those face wipes (can double as hand wipes), compact, lipstick, tampons, q-tips (great for dabbing away smeared mascara in a pinch), tums, advil, hair elastics/clips, band aids, fashion tape
    small hair brush
    packet of tissues
    laptop or ipad with keyboard. I never take both. data is on evernote and dropbox, so its accessible on all devices, even my phone.
    wallet with a wrist strap that can also hold my phone, so I can grab it quickly for lunch
    notebook and/or files
    pair of flip flops or ballet flats
    headphones with speaker for calls and for listening to music on commutes

    I rarely bother with kindles, books, etc. I use travel time to work, play games on my phone, or catch on the news and blogs via my blog reader on my phone.

    • @s – I don’t know if you are going to see this, but I’ve been eye-ing a bag from that Etsy store for a few months now. They look like gorgeous leathers and great style. Which style bag did you get, and do you find it heavy with all the organization included?

  8. Veronique :

    My company is switching to hot desking, so I’m interested in reading the comments!

  9. Thanks Kat for answering my question. Your tips and the comments of others are really helpful!

  10. I carry a backpack and a largish purse. It’s too much stuff, really, but it’s all required. And I’m taking public transportation on my current assignment, because I didn’t get authorized a rental car. It sucks, but I’m gonna miss it when my job becomes a budget cut in a few weeks.

    Well, I won’t miss the heavy backpack, but I’d take that over leaving my current position.

  11. My firm converted to the open concept/hotdesks 3yrs ago to “create flexibility and encourage collaboration”. Unfortunately, the floor is very noisy and you work in a fishbowl. Since everything is in the open, I only bring things that I don’t care if they get stolen (we get a few incidents every year). Each hotdesk has a monitor, keyboard, mouse & phone. Copy rooms have staplers, tape, paperclips, company letterhead & envelopes.

    My locker is ~18″ x 18″ x 12″ and stuffed-
    2 pairs of heels, 2 new notebooks, a few file folders, mug, small emergency umbrella, shawl/wrap, personal case w/ toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, Advil, feminine products, Tums & tea bags, and work case with bus cards, pens, pencils, post-its, USB pen drive, phone charger, 2 laptop cords & a docking station.

    If I can, I bring my laptop to meetings. If I write notes on printouts, I type them up later or scan the printout. My notebook is for brainstorming (I think better when I write/draw) and taking notes when it looks funny to bring my laptop with me.

    I switched to a very small purse when they converted to hotdesks and lock it in my locker daily.

    I commute with a Lo & Sons OMG bag and carry daily-
    my laptop, small umbrella, work case with phone charger, USB cord, USB pen drive, pen/pencil, 2 earphones for music/headset, VPN device, bus cards & notebook, personal case with Tums, Advil, gum, feminine products, lipstick, chapstick, concealer, floss, breath mints, Tide Stick & tissue. If really really needed, I’ll bring home printouts in a large envelope that I take from our copy rooms. I leave my tablet at home. On the train, I read email/surf on my blackberry or personal phone.

    Trying to become paperless was hard, but learning to be more electronically organized was even harder b/c I couldn’t save paperwork and page thru it later. So I scan and type up notes a lot!

    • Your open plan office sounds like most of the offices I have worked in except for the hot desk bit. I have never seen a cubicle on an office floor in my life! (well I have on TV but not anywhere I have worked). I think desks used to have a backboard and maybe low dividers either side, so at least you could pin things up (contact lists etc) but now most don’t even have that. A lot of places have introduced “quiet rooms” though for focussed work or making/taking confidential calls – does you office have those?

      Open plan and centralised copy rooms and stationery cupboards I am used to, but I am so used to have a fixed desk with desk drawers and a small filing space. Hot desking, and working away from my company’s offices is going to take some getting used to!

      • Hi Reader S — we have a few phone rooms on each floor that you can use for confidential calls, and they are on a first-come-first-serve-basis. We also have reservable conference rooms, small & large. Good luck with everything — I’m sure you’ll adapt just fine!

  12. Three tips from someone who’s been doing strategy consulting for over a decade:

    1. Get a privacy screen for your laptop so you can work on the train. A privacy screen is a very thin piece of plastic (about the thickness of an overhead projector transparency) that’s polarised so that you, working on your laptop, can see your screen perfectly, but no one else can read it.

    2. Hot-desking: I absolutely love it, because it forces me to clean my desk (and organise my stuff, and my mind) at the end of each day. Put pics of your nearest and dearest on your phone screen and your desktop background, rather than in a physical frame next to your computer – it will work just as well.

    3. Create a duplicate toilet bag that you just have to grab and go without needing to sort makeup from your supply at home in and out.

    4. Oh, and always – always – pack the night before.

  13. I’m a remote worker who is in the office 6 days a month, without a dedicated workspace. I found, quite by accident, that my coach diaper bag is the perfect bag for this situation. The four smallish elastic pockets hold my various chargers (laptop, phone, bluetooth) as well as my k-cups (that I have to bring my own coffee drives me batty!!). My external hard drive fits perfectly in one of the center pockets and my cell in other. There are two zip pockets too; one I use for pens/highlighter/extra small office supplies and the other is all personal products. I use a small laptop at work and the bag divider keeps that to one side while any files I need live on the other. I’ve also started carrying a much slimmer wallet, that fits in the side pocket with just CC, DL, cash and metro card. I carry only the wallet when I head out for lunch or coffee and while a purse might be nice sometimes, its really not necessary.

    I have recently purchased a spare laptop charger so one lives in my bag for work days and the other stays on my desk at home. I need to do the same with the phone. I’ve left it behind one too many times!

  14. I want to reiterate the backpack suggestion – I am way past “backpack age” but when my boss walked in with one a couple of years ago, and I spent 6 months in physical therapy for back and hip problems, I bought one too. Not just any backpack, but a Tumi backpack. It’s not leather – those are really heavy – but it’s very professional looking, it feels great, and it’s “TSA Friendly” in the US. That means that I do not have to take my laptop out when going through security. As for what I carry around, I don’t have too many other suggestions, but I reiterate the advice for multiple chargers in various locations and in your travel bag.

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