At TravelSkills, we are constantly bombarded with emails, press kits, and samples of gadgets, doodads, apps and assorted gizmos. Many of them make us smile and say “huh?” But some are truly noteworthy. If you really wanna know about the stuff I like– the things that I carry along on nearly every trip , here’s a rundown.
SCOTTeVEST Sterling Jacket
I’ve been hearing about the SCOTTeVEST going back to 2000 when it was just a vest with a zillion pockets that could carry as much as a briefcase or backpack. Now it’s an entire clothing line made for travelers. The opening line on its menswear page says, “Briefcases are outdated, backpacks can be overkill, and the man purse, well, let’s just be glad that trend never caught on.” While its rare that I’d wear a vest on a business trip, SCOTTeVEST windbreakers and jackets are fashionable, practical and reasonably priced. Over the past few months I’ve been giving the Sterling Jacket (for men and women: $150) a spin, and I’m falling in love. Why? Because it’s made of very lightweight teflon-coated cotton which makes it water resistant, breathable, and easy to pack when I’m not wearing it. On travel days, it really comes in handy with 25 pockets (seriously)! In addition to a big pocket in the back that can carry a laptop and another up front for a tablet, it’s full of well-thought out, easily accessible and see-through spots for photo ID and phones (and headphone cords). There’s a slit for a pen, a slot for sunglasses and an short wide pocket for a camera. Exterior zippered pockets have straps inside pockets to stabilize water bottles or clip on your key chain. Hide your wallet or passport in a special RFID protected pocket. Sleeves can zip off when the weather warms up and you still need all that cargo space. SCOTTeVEST Men’s Sterling Jacket
Briggs & Riley Transcend widebody, 4 wheeled spinner
Both my briefcase and roller bag come from Briggs & Riley. Over the years, I’ve found that this luggage brand makes a product that can stand up to the rigors of the road and comes at a decent price point (mine costs about $375). It’s not cheap, but I’ve found that you almost always “get what you pay for” when it comes to luggage. A broken bag can definitely slow down a fast-paced trip. Those four wheels may look a little geeky, but they make navigating the airport or the airplane aisle (turn it sideways!) a cinch. At 9 x 15 x 22 inches, it’s about one inch over standard carry on size (9 x 14 x 22) at most airlines but I’ve never had a problem with it boarding the plane. Perhaps the best thing about Briggs & Riley is its no-nonsense lifetime guarantee: If your bag breaks, they will repair it for free, no questions asked. Briggs & Riley International Carry-On Wide-Body Spinner
Black (vs blue) blazer
My dad is one of the best dressed men I know, so I’ve taken his sartorial advice to heart on several occasions. Most recently, he said that the good old blue blazer that everyone has is fine, but if you want to take it up a notch, travel with a BLACK blazer instead. It goes with just about anything, looks sharp, and does not show wrinkles. I travel with a black blazer so often now that I have two– one in lightweight cotton for warmer climes, and a black camel hair version for winter. To me, a black blazer is equivalent to the “little black dress” in nearly every woman’s travel wardrobe. Everyone has different body types and styles, but here’s a good basic black blazer from Ralph Lauren: Men’s Ralph Lauren Blazer SCOTTeVEST has a black blazer, too, although I’ve not yet tried it: SCOTTeVEST Sport Coat
Bucky eye mask
The cheap eye masks provided by most airlines are uncomfortable, don’t keep all the light out, and leave marks on my face and temples. So every year I invest in new Bucky Blockout Shades ($18 on Amazon), which block out all light, have thick adjustable bands that don’t leave marks, and offer big velvety cushioning that is soft and cozy on my face. Plus, it’s washable. Bucky Blockout Shades
Betabrand dress pant sweatpants
Last year while strolling down San Francisco’s eclectic Valencia Street, I checked out the Betabrand store and immediately fell for its new dress pant sweatpants which are PERFECT for business travel. Why? Well, they are cut like dress pants– at first glance they appear to be a sharp pair of chinos or wool trousers. But upon closer inspection, you notice that they are made out of sweatpant fabric (“French terry”), which is soft, warm, and stretchy. Combined, they are the perfect pair of pants for overnight travel in business class– very easy to recline or sleep in on the plane, and still look great when you arrive in Brussels or Beijing after a long overnight flight. I prefer the lightweight version. Look for Dress Pant Sweat Pants here
For women, Kim in our office says that Betabrand’s traveling yoga pants are a win all-around with great comfort and a few pockets for important items. Great for going from the airport straight into a meeting. Need more storage? Try the Black Work-It Pants. Betabrand has told me that these are “the same as the yoga pants, just with more pockets.” If that’s not enough, Betabrand‘s Travel Cargo pants offer even more sleek storage and are available in black and gray. Check out men’s or women’s “PANTS” via this link for more details/photos and get $15 off.
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