Digital Hotel Hobo Essentials.
For the past 11 months I have been living out of two small bags and a variety of hotels. To date I have “moved” well over 90 times and have stayed at somewhere around 50 different hotels. I’ve killed more time between checkouts and check-ins at various Starbucks than I care to admit (or ever do again.)
My friends and folks have been bugging me to write a larger blog of the daily ins and outs of my exploits but I really don’t have any interest (or time) for that.
So instead, here’s a quick list of my favorite essentials that have helped keep me comfortable and somewhat sane during my life as a hotel hobo.
- Backpack: Chrome Cardiel Fortnight. This thing is badass. Completely waterproof, tough as nails and has pockets everywhere. I lug around 39 lbs of clothing and tech in it daily and it’s no worse-for-wear. It also fits in an airplanes overhead bin. Hizah for no checked luggage! Unfortunately they’ve discontinued this model but they occasionally discover backstock and place them on their site. *UPDATE: 11/2016 They’ve reissued this bag in some seriously badass colors and I updated the link above. Hooray!
- Courier bag: For my daily walk-around bag I use either my custom Chrome Citizen or my super-ridiculously beautiful Narifuri x Star Wars bag. The chrome sits higher and has more built-in pockets but the Narifuri fits more, has a laptop compartment and has badass Star Wars graphics inside. ‘Nuff said.
- Zojirushi 16oz insulated thermos. I first learned of this on Tested and I swear by it. Keeps liquids cold or hot for longer than you’ll ever need and the lock / seal is so good that I can throw it into my bag full of tech without worry.
- Hausbell CREE 7W Mini LED Flashlight. Everyone needs a good flashlight in their bag. This one is tough, bright as hell and around $5.
- Midori Travel Notebook. These have a cult following for good reason. Completely modular and adaptable to whichever way you want to use them. I personally have three inserts in mine. One for daily to-dos / notes, one for personal and one for work.
- Zebra f-701 pen. Faust tested, Faust approved.
- Muji packing cubes. These are great for keeping your clothes organized within your bag. Throw them into one of the ziplock packing bags (listed below) to maximize your space even more.
- Muji Toiletry bag. Pretty self-explanatory, this.
- Chrome Utility Pouch Large. Great for portable HDs, Cables, etc.
- Chrome Utility Pouch Small. I use mine to carry my streaming sticks / remotes.
- Ziplock packing bags. Just roll em up and save precious space.
- Apple Macbook Retina 15". This is my workhorse machine and I love it. If I had the extra cash I’d probably exchange some power and storage for one of the newer, lighter (and GORGEOUS) Macbooks.
- LaCie Porsche portable 2tb (for photo backup.)
- Ricoh GRII. While I’ve missed having access to my larger camera collection this little guy has been perfect for daily use. A wide (28mm) lens, WiFi and a CMOS sensor all in a ridiculously tiny frame.
- HooToo Travel router. Connect once and be done with it. Connect this to the internet and then all of your other devices connect to this. *You’ll need one of these if you want to use your Chromecast or Dropcam in hotels.
- Amazon Fire stick. The single-best streaming stick for travel. Connects to hotel networks easily and is hackable to add Kodi (trust me, you want to do this.)
- Google Chromecast. Great for watching your fave youtube channels or doubling your display on a big screen. *Note: you’ll need a travel router like the HooToo mentioned above to use this on hotel networks.
- Dropcam. To keep an eye on what’s going on in my hotel room / Airbnb while I’m out and about. *Note: You’ll need a travel router to use this too.
- JBL Clip. It never ceases to amaze me how much music can transform a space. I’ve brought this lil guy with me everywhere. Great sound from a tiny (and cheap) little package. I have his larger brother as well but his size and weight makes me leave him in storage.
- Mrice e300 In-ear headphones. Audio nerds have compared the sound quality of these $20 headphones to ones that cost thousands. While I can’t speak to that point personally, they do sound damn good (and I won’t smack myself if I break or lose them.)
- RCA 3 device remote. Some (ass-backward) hotels still lockdown their TVs. Use this plus a little googling (hint: Search for your TV model+ “hospitality mode.”) to get around their ridiculous lockdowns and use your Amazon fire or Chromecast at will.
- Retractable Ethernet cable. Hotels often have sucky and flaky WiFi. Plug in directly to skip the middleman. If your computer doesn’t have an ethernet port you can always use the HooToo travel router mentioned above.
- Ziplinq Retractable AC Power Cord. This is a the solution for the dreaded and clunky apple extension cord.
- AmazonBasics retractable Lightning Cable. ‘Nuff said.
- Extended Iphone battery packs. Because everyone needs a boost now n then. Apple Extended Battery / Mophie Juice Pack Air / Anker Ultra-slim Extended case. (I have all three)
Lodging & Travel:
- Hotel Tonight. 38 Separate bookings through this app. It’s wonderful. Hotel prices change on pretty regular intervals. 12pm, 3pm, 5pm and Midnight.
- Priceline. I’ve done 14 bookings though their cheaper / blind “express” option. Use betterbidding.com for educated guesses on where you’re booking. With a little research you’ll save $50 a night or so.
- Hotwire. I’ve only used these guys a few times for stays up in Boston. Worked well there but their deals in NYC seem to be average at best.
- One Night Standard. The Standard’s own discounted room app. Rooms go live at 3pm but they go fast. Stay a few times and they’ll do auto-upgrades if available.
- Airbnb. Tough in NYC due to regulations, but wonderful elsewhere.
- TripAdvisor. A great mobile app to check for reviews but take them all with a grain or two of salt.
- SPG / HHonors / Hyatt. It’s worth signing up for these even if you don’t get points because you booked via a third party app. Often you’ll get free premium Wi-Fi and the like.
- Jetblue. My fave.
- Uber / Lyft. Who needs a car?
So that’s that! Hope that you found a few things to make your nomadic life a little less painful. Happy wandering and feel free to drop me a line at redboy @ redboy.com if you have any questions.