My Travel Tricks

by Dave Michels

I am not a hardened road warrior but do typically travel a few times a month. Here’s a few of the devices and practices I rely upon:

  • Power Strip: I carry a small power strip. It has 3 regular outlets, and one USB charging port. I keep it in my carry-on bag for airport use. It’s particularly helpful on international trips as a single adapter gets me everything I need – just be sure your devices can handle 220v.
  • T-Mobile: I pay about $30/mo for 2.5 GBs on T-Mobile. Key features of T-Mo include VoWi-Fi and included international roaming. I had no additional charges on my recent trips to Mexico, Prague, and France. Coverage was weak in HI, but I was able to connect on Wi-Fi. Google Fi also uses T-Mobile and VoWIFI and adds in Sprint.
  • Pen: I keep in my carry-on/briefcase a Cross Multi-function pen. It has pencil, highlighter, blue, and red ink. It seems to get most use on planes with a stack of reading material.
  • 12′ USB cable: I tend to use my phone as an alarm clock and I like it by the hotel bed. Finding power is getting easier, but I solved the problem with a long USB cable.
  • Headphones: I wear passive noise filtering headphones on flights even when not listening to anything. Mine are very small and very effective. For sleeping I usually play one of my relaxing playlists. If you are not into listening – then get some nice foam ear plugs. Background noise is far more disturbing than most realize.
  • Eye Cover: If you need to sleep on a plane – then an eye cover and ear plugs or music are imperative.
  • Evernote Premium: I find this to be the best solution for business card scanning – though not ideal. Open to hearing some alternative solutions. I find Evernote pretty useful in general.
  • Clear Card: When I got it initially it only worked in Denver and Orlando – my two most frequent airports. Since then the program has expanded. It’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s worth it. Always a short line and the PRE line is getting longer.
  • Contigo Mug: It’s hard to find, but Contigo makes a mug that has a hook handle. I generally fill this pre-boarding after security. It is leak proof, and easily hooks onto the seat back pocket. I enjoy my beverage while others are waiting for flight attendants to serve drinks. Also useful in taxis. A Starbuck’s paper cup is a liability as it can’t really be put down anywhere.
  • Video Entertainment: I usually have a few videos on my laptop. For more current features, my DISH Hopper allows me to move current content to Android or iOS. The problem is I don’t like watching content on small screens. Some phones have HDMI-out so it could be connected to a hotel TV. Getting video on to a hotel TV is not trivial. The simple way is HDMI from laptop or mobile. Another option is to carry a Chromecast and a mini access point. A slightly more expensive and less versatile option is to carry a Miracast receiver for the TV. This will work with my laptop, but not my phone.

Misc. Best Practices


  • Always print boarding passes – don’t waste valuable battery life on the ground.
  • Recently, I’ve been taking the bus to/from the airport. I only know how to rush to the airport and find the bus ride relatively relaxing. The hourly schedule isn’t too bad because I never realized before how long it takes to park/shuttle at the airport. I buy prepaid coupons at the local grocer so I don’t need to worry about exact change.
  • Simple rule of gluten free makes a huge difference on airport food choices. Eliminates pizza, burgers, fried chicken, beer, sandwiches – I end up eating burrito bowls, nuts, BBQ, Jamba Juice.
  • I don’t like all the information Uber grabs, so I won’t install the app. However, it is less expensive than taxi’s and I honestly feel guilty getting in a taxi at the airport for a short ride. My next phone will support multi-user (like Moto-X) so I can install Uber on a cordoned off area of the phone.
  • Passport. I used to keep my passport at home unless traveling internationally. However, last year I lost my driver’s license at the airport on my outbound flight – a trip that happened to have multiple flights. Although technically TSA does not require ID, not having one makes things very unpredictable. As a result, I keep my passport in my carry-on bag now. Also has the added benefit of a quick get-away should I need one.