These days, most of my travel is to my biggest clients in France and Switzerland, but there’s also travel to speak at the occasional conference, and the odd business trip. Every time I travel, I take with me the same set of cables and chargers.
Prepping for each trip means making sure I have everything I need while I’m away, and to make getting up and going easier, I decided to put together a go bag which contains duplicates of all my cables and chargers. I keep these in my go bag all the time and never get them mixed up with the ones I keep connected in my studio.
I know it’s a luxury to have two of every cable and charger, but knowing when I pick up my bag that it contains everything I need is both reassuring and a (small) time saver.
When I was choosing a backpack, I couldn’t justify to myself the cost of a Peak Design “Everyday Backpack” so plumped instead for the cheaper XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft laptop backpack. This has been a good backpack, but after using it everyday for almost two years, it’s starting to show its age as The outer material on corners and edges are now flaking off. When I’m next feeling flush, I’ll take the plunge and buy the Peak I always wanted.
Peak Design also make a Tech Pouch, but nice though it is, for the moment at least, I’ll carry on carrying my cables in a free pouch I picked up at UX Australia a couple of years ago. It may not be high class, but it does the job nicely.
I gave up buying replacement Apple cables years ago, as they’re expensive and far less durable than many third-party cables. I buy Anker cables almost exclusively and so far I’ve not needed to replace a single one. I have Anker USB-A–Lightning cables in my kitchen and studio. In my Subaru I have three longer Anker USB-A –Lightning cables (one for each of us) and two Anker 30w Dual USB fast chargers.
I went for Anker cables for my go bag too, and have a second set of:
For charging my iPhone directly from my laptop. Apple’s own 1m cable is £19, but I much prefer the feel and reliability of Anker’s nylon braided cable. I don’t ever find the missing 10cm inconvenient.
I only use Micro USB to charge my vape, and although there are cheaper Micro USB-Cables available, this 3-in-1 cable comes in handy for Lightning and USB-C too.
Although I don’t use it often, it’s handy to carry an HDMI cable for connecting to hotel room TVs. This inexpensive cable from AmazonBasics is all that I need for connecting my laptop to a TV (via a USB-C Hub.)
There’s plenty of choice USB-C hubs, but I didn’t look much further than Anker. This 7-in-1 Premium USB-C hub offers 60w power delivery but I haven’t needed to pass through power yet. It has three USB-A ports, HDMI, plus SD and microSD card slots.
It’s definitely an extravagance to carry a duplicate power charger for my laptop, but I can justify that by not spending around £80 on Apple’s 87w charger. Instead, I spent £35 on a cheaper Chinese alternative.
I miss MagSafe more than anything on my latest laptop, so I bought a magnetic USB-C adapter which connects to the end of my charging cable. This means a leaving a small magnetic adapter permanently attached to my laptop, which is far from ideal, but I’m happy having the peace of mind I get from something close to MagSafe. There are several options available, but I chose this Sicotool adaptor as it has a right angle connector which keeps the cable flush with the side of my laptop.
For power on the go, I chose this power bank from Anker. It charges overnight and lasts me days topping up my phone and vape. At some point I’d like a power bank capable of charging my laptop, but for now this portable power bank is perfect.
What else is in my bag? The usual suspects:
I recently replaced my 2013 MacBook Pro with the 2019 model and I couldn’t be happier, especially as I had major concerns about the feel of its troublesome butterfly mechanism keyboard. Touch wood, the keyboard has been reliable and I’m enjoying the feel of it. I’m happy with its size and weight, and while the TouchBar hardly gets touched, I do enjoy using Touch ID. Best of all? The screen. It’s the best I’ve ever owned. I maxed out this 13" machine with 32Mb RAM and a 512Tb SSD drive.
Fits snuggly around my 2019 13" MacBook Pro and protects it from scratches. Cheap at less than £15 on Amazon but the matte finish feels great in my hands and the quality seems comparable with cases which are much more expensive.
To keep my laptop looking smart, I fitted a UESWILL Smooth matte hard-shell case/cover. At less than £15, it’s considerably cheaper than the InCase cases sold in Apple stores and the matte finish feels very nice. I chose the black option for my space grey laptop.
Last year I upgraded my iPhone 6s to a space grey XS Max. It’s ridiculously big but I soon got used to the size and now I can’t imagine using a smaller phone. It’s price is ridiculous too, so I bought it on Apple’s upgrade programme where I can spread the cost over 18 months and upgrade every year if I want to. My reason for buying an iPhone XS rather than an XR was the 2x telephoto camera lens and I haven’t regretted that decision for a moment.
I’m new to AirPods and only recently treated myself to a wireless charging pair.
To keep the AirPods case protected—and to satisfy my obsession with black devices—I bought a iKNOWTECH Silicon AirPods Case for less than £6. Now, I’m less worried about dropping my AirPods and damaging the expensive wireless charging case.
When I was putting together this list of items for my go bag, I realised that although I spend as much as can afford on my hardware—laptop, phone, and earbuds—I usually save by buying much cheaper cables and cases. I don’t mind no name brands as long as they do their job, feel good, and aren’t emblazoned with branding which detracts from the look of my more expensive hardware.