What's In Your Bag, Dawn Foster?

I wanted to add my take on the What’s In Your Bag? series of posts, but I decided to wait until today to write one. I just arrived in my hotel in Washington, D.C., for a business trip, so what you are seeing is fairly typical of what I carry when I’m traveling. You’ll notice that I’m not a gadget collector and that I enjoy traveling light, bringing only the necessities along with me.

Dawns Gear

I always carry a backpack. Like Simon, I prefer to keep my hands free, and I think that backpacks are more comfortable than shoulder bags or messenger bags. I bought this backpack when I was living in San Jose, Calif., right before the dot-com bust (2000 or so), and it’s survived quite a bit of abuse from my carrying it every day.

Most of my gear is focused on the fact that I frequently travel to client sites or conferences to give presentations or training sessions on a variety of community management topics. I have a MacBook as my primary computer, and I never leave home without the adapter for projection units. I also always take the remote, which makes it easy to advance slides during presentations. I also carry the extended power cord for when I can’t get quite get close enough to the outlet.

Of course, I have the obligatory smartphone, an iPhone in my case. I use it extensively while traveling to check email, read and post to social networking sites, keep up on feeds, get directions, and more. I also still carry my older first-generation iPod Nano, which strikes people as odd, since my iPhone would work just fine for listening to podcasts. As a heavy iPhone user, I struggle with battery life, so I prefer to save the battery for other tasks by offloading audio to my iPod. I also like the tactile click-wheel interface on which I can easily adjust the volume or forward to the next podcast in my list without ever removing it from my pocket. I also carry an iPhone/iPod USB cord with a wall plug adapter to help manage battery life issues.

Aside from the iPhone or the MacBook, the piece of equipment that has saved me more times than I can count is my Verizon mobile broadband card for wireless Internet access. I can’t count the number of times that coffee shop or hotel Internet connections have let me down at the worst possible moment, usually when I really need to send an important document to a client. Having a reliable backup wireless source is a great investment for frequent travelers and consultants.

On more touristy trips, I also carry a cheap digital camera (not pictured for the obvious reason). Since I’m visiting Washington, D.C., for the first time in more than 20 years,  I decided to make time to also play tourist while I’m here, so I brought the camera with me.

What’s in your bag?

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