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Good to Go: The Best Tech Travel Gear

Good to Go: The Best Tech Travel Gear

    When I want to hit the road – whether it is for vacation or for business – I like to be able to grab and go. That’s why I arm myself with some of the most travel-friendly technology around.

    Hacking your travel doesn’t just come down to getting the right price on flights or picking the right accommodations. It has a lot to do with what you do in advance of traveling; things like preparing for travel at moment’s notice (such as keeping travel essentials packed at all times) or having the right gear just for the purpose of use while traveling.

    Power Gear

    If there’s one thing I hate when travelling, it’s having to grab my main power adapters to take with me. They are conveniently set up for home use – and are inconvenient to get at once I’ve done that. That’s why having a dedicated power supply solution when you travel is key.

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    If you’re a Mac user who happens to also have an iPad or iPhone with you on the road, then the TwelveSouth PlugBug is the way to go. It allows you to simultaneously charge your Mac laptop and the iDevice of your choice – and use only one outlet while doing so. This handy little device will let you leave your main power supplies at home, and reduces cable clutter in your travel bag as well.

    If you’re not a Mac user, a great option is the Belkin Travel Adapter FSL010. Suitable for PC laptops under 17″, it also has the ability to charge a wide variety of mobile devices, and won’t take up a ton of room in the process.

    Audio Gear

    Much like with power adapters, you don’t want to be taking your home audio solution with you when you hit the road. And while you may not always need to have a portable sound system when you travel, it’s nice to have that option if you’re going to be conducting business on the road and want some music (or podcasts) to listen to “sans headphones”. This is where picking up a lightweight – and yet versatile – audio solution comes into play.

    Sphear speakers are pretty innovative, and they won’t put a huge dent in your wallet either. They form a ball (or “sphere”) when not in use, making them easy to pack. They are USB or battery-powered, meaning there’s no excess power cables you’ll have to find an outlet for – and it has a USB port built-in so that you don’t use one of those valued ports when the Sphear speakers are being used. So if you want something lightweight, versatile and inexpensive – the Sphear speaker set may be for you.

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    The JAMBOX by Jawbone is pretty awesome – but it’s also a bit pricey. This wireless speaker is small, wireless and sounds absolutely great. But at a price tag of $199.99 USD, you’re going to want to use them for more than when you’re on the road. I use mine in my home office and take it with me when I travel, and being able to simply pop it into my bag and know it’ll be good to go with my devices means that I’ve got one less thing to think about. There’s value in that.

    Baggage Gear

    If you’re travelling for work, then having a good bag or tow is a must. I have a couple of great messenger bags by Booq that I alternate depending on what devices I plan to use during my travels. Booq carries a wide variety of bags, sleeves and backpacks – and they are top-notch. Booq also uses something on many of its products called “Terralinq”. Terralinq may help reunite you with your lost bag once it has been located and reported to Terralinq, meaning you’ve got a shot at regaining any valuable cargo that may have been in the bag. Each Booq bag with Terralinq carries a unique item number on a metal label. When you register your product, it links that unique number with an identity – yours. That way, if a registered bag be reported as lost…and then found, Terralinq will attempt to contact you with a bag’s location and the finder’s contact information. And a bit of peace of mind on that front never hurts.

    As for more conventional luggage, the Roots line of luggage has never steered me wrong – literally. I have a bright orange hard shell suitcase that has wheels that steer with ease. It’s also a remarkably roomy suitcase, and because it is so compact I can use it for short or long excursions. I never have to worry about it being over-sized when flying, either. IT always goes on the plane with me, meaning I can “deplane” and go. It’s both efficient and effective.

    Storage Gear

    With cloud computing hitting its stride, travelers are now able to keep very little in terms of physical hardware with them when they hit the road. Provided you can connect to Dropbox, iCloud or other cloud-based storage solutions, the need to bring any physical storage when you travel is not necessary. Or is it?

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    While I use the cloud a great deal for my storage – especially for syncing across devices – I have learned never to put my faith on these solutions entirely. So I keep a few USB thumbdrives both at my desk and in my travel bags so that I’ve got some for those “just in case” moments.

    I also like to have a bit of fun with them, so I tend to use Mimico USB Drives. But…to each their own.

    Grooming Gear

    Today’s grooming products are as advanced as the iPad I’m writing this article on, so I’d say they are definitely a “tech” of sorts.

    Having dedicated grooming products for when you travel is essential, and I like to use the same products abroad as I do when I’m at home. So whether you buy travel cases and pour your home grooming products into them as you go or buy travel-sized portions of your products, it’s best to stick with the same stuff no matter what.

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    I am a big fan of the OM product line, which offers a variety of hair, skin and shaving products for both men and women. Much of them come in travel-sized options…and there’s even a travel shaving brush available for those guys who want to go with a brush shave while traveling.

    What are your “go-to gear” when traveling? Leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Keyboard to Book Travel via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

    4 Simple Steps to Brain Dump for a Smarter Brain Why Is Productivity Important? 10 Reasons to Become More Productive Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

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    1 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 2 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 3 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 4 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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