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Five Things to Pack for Travel

Five Things to Pack for Travel

I’m on my way to Stockholm, Sweden to organize PodCamp Europe, and I’m a little anxious as I’ve never traveled outside of North America before. Within my country, I’ve put on thousands and thousands of miles over the last several months, and I’ve come to realize there’s a few things I want to take with me every time I head out for a trip. Here’s my plan: I’ll tell you five things, and you add your must-haves in the comments section. Deal?

Power Strip– As a geek/business traveler, I’m often surprised that hotel rooms aren’t tricked out with 100 free plugs for me to stuff my gadgets into for a charge. I think this PowerSquid Surge Suppressor is cool, because if your chargers have bulky ends like mine, this fixes that issue.

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Quart-sized Plastic Zip Bags– I use these for a lot of things. I keep one for my expense receipts. I use another to store extra business cards. I keep a few energy bars in a third. In a pinch, these zip bags can come in real handy for a lot of reasons.

Baby Wipes– Not just for babies any more, a few of the unscented “just like cloth” type found in any baby products aisle at a grocery store tucked into , wait for it, a one-quart zip bag make a million useful saves for me while on a trip. Use them to wipe up after snacks on the run, or to clean up spilled coffee. Use them to spot clean clothes. Plenty more uses, I’m sure you’ll find on your own.

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Duct tape– I don’t mean that you should take a roll, but instead take about 10 feet wrapped upon itself into a little rectangle about the size of a wallet. Use this for instant lint brushing, for hacking curtains shut to better darken the room, for hanging signs, for taping down your laptop cord at a conference, for mending damaged luggage, and about 3,149 other reasons, as well. (**Caution: taking a full roll on your carry-on might cause a security issue.)

Energy Bars– Meal replacement bars, or cereal bars, of whatever kinds of calories you can store simply and access when you need a boost is what I’m talking about here. Once, my plane was delayed after we’d boarded, and the delay stretched past an hour. I’d rushed to catch the plane, skipping breakfast, and here we were without any service (because they weren’t getting out those food carts in case we miraculously were cleared to get out of there). Energy bars to the rescue. These also save you from eating something horrible, nutrition-wise, just because you’re a captive somewhere. I don’t o anywhere without a few energy bars in my bag.

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Your Turn!

What are a few MUST-HAVE travel items that you pack away every time you go on a trip? Hack my suitcase, people! I’m heading overseas tomorrow, and I might just need your help.

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Chris Brogan blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]. He is co-Founder of PodCamp, and community developer for the Video on the Net conference.

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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