What's In My Travel Bag

I'm constantly asked about what I use for my Mac and iOS devices, so here's a peak at what's in my travel bag for a typical trip:


When I travel, I like to keep my gadgets charged, most notably my iPhone. In the past I’ve bought Mophie Juice Packs to use as a travel case for my iPhone. While I love the Juice Packs, I’d have to keep buying them every couple of years as the design of the iPhone changed. A couple of years ago, I switched over to a universal charger that will work with any USB powered device (Notably iPads slow charge most of these types of chargers). Mophie makes the 6000mAh Powerstation Duo that will charge two devices at once. This is enough to charge a dead iPhone more than three times (The iPhone 5S has a 1570mAh battery). However, to get the most bang for your buck, it’s hard to beat MonoPrice’s battery packs. They sell a 8000mAh dual port battery pack for $36.00. With external battery power packs you will have to supply your own cables, but more on that later.

For powering devices back at the hotel room, I always travel with a Kanex DoubleUp Dual USB Charger. This charger is larger than a standard Apple USB charger, but not by much, and it has two full power 2.1A USB charging ports. This means it can charge two full size iPads at full speed simultaneously, or fast-charge an iPhone. I previously reviewed the DoubleUp on my blog

I also travel with my Twelve South PlugBug. The PlugBug is a 10w USB wall charger that connects to your Apple MacBook power adapter allowing you to power both your Mac and charge a USB device from a single outlet. This is great when you’re looking for an extra USB outlet to charge an iPhone or iPad overnight and adds almost no extra bulk to your travel bag.


We haven’t yet standardized on a single cable, which means I usually have to travel with an assortment. There’s nothing that can ruin a trip faster than not having the right cable to charge a device. But, I hate the mess that cables can make when you have to travel with several of them. For this reason, I like traveling with miniature or short versions of standard cables. They take up less room and don’t get tangled.

Griffin makes a great starter set that includes a set of three 4" cables including a mini USB, Micro USB and 30-pin. Unfortunately, the set hasn’t been updated yet to include lightning cables but you can buy a 4" Amazon Basics lightning cable in either black or white. These are Apple Certified cables and I find the shorter cables especially useful for carrying in my bag or for use when charging when connected to an external power charger.

For times when you need a longer cable, Scosche makes retractable cables. They have a retractable lightning cable available in black or white that will extend up to three feet but coil back to a compact size for travel. I keep this cable in my car and use it when connecting to my stereo. The cable is easily retracted when not in use to keep things tidy. Scosche also makes a retractable combination mini and micro USB cable.


When possible, I prefer to travel with my iPad only, but I still prefer the feel of a physical keyboard when it comes to typing anything of length. I usually travel with the Logitech K760 solar keyboard, along with a carrying case. I choose the K760 for a few reasons. First, the solar panels on the top of the keyboard, while they add some additional bulk, mean I will never be without a charge. More than once I’ve gotten to my destination only to find the batteries in my USB powered keyboard were dead. This keyboard also has the ability to control up to three bluetooth devices, so I also have this keyboard paired with my Apple TV and my Mac mini home media center in addition to my iPad. Lastly, this keyboard just has a good feel and I find typing for several hours on it to be quite comfortable. At some point I may move over to the smaller Logitech K811, which charges via USB rather than solar power and is backlit.

I often travel to give presentations and like to travel around the room to do so. If I’m presenting from my Mac, I’m almost always using the Kingston Wireless Presenter. This remote fits nicely in the hand and has the added benefit of a laser pointer and 2GB of built in memory that doubles as the USB wireless receiver. Before I leave to give the presentation I load a backup copy on the USB key so if I end up having to switch computers at the last minute, I have my presentation, and my remote all with me together. It requires no software and works with Keynote (and I would assume PowerPoint) right out of the box.


When I travel, I like to load up my iPad with movies and TV shows for the plane or downtime back at the hotel. Unfortunately, this can quickly take up space. There are a number of external storage products for the iPad, but the one that makes the most sense for me is the Kingston MobileLite Wireless. I reviewed the MobileLite wireless more extensively, but in a nutshell it will allow you to store data either on a memory card, or on an external USB drive and access that data on up to three iOS devices simultaneously. I like the MobileLite because it allows me to “bring my own storage” as may be appropriate for the occasion and helps me keep my costs down. The device itself is only $60 (currently $40 on Amazon) plus whatever the cost of storage, which could be nothing if you have a spare USB drive of memory card laying around.

Depending on the trip, I’ll also regularly travel with my Apple TV. More and more hotel rooms are accommodating now by opening up their televisions HDMI ports to allow access to travelers. If the network is decent, I can stream content on my Apple TV or play movies or TV shows I’ve brought myself using AirPlay from my iPhone or iPad. You can also use the Apple TV as a presentation device if you want to give presentations from your iPhone or iPad. For connecting to older equipment, you may need a special adapter such as the Kanex ATVPRO, which allows you to connect an Apple TV to a VGA projector. You’ll also want to make sure your Apple TV and your Mac are on the same wireless network. For this I use an Airport Express which is conveniently the same size as an Apple TV.

This article first appeared in the March Issue of [ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine](https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/screencastsonline-monthly/id543166334?mt=8).  ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly via Newsstand on the iPad. You can find out more at http://www.screencastsonline.com/magazine