The blogger's travel checklist

Ian Lurie

I’m in Hawaii at Search & Social Woot!, and I keep losing stuff.

My cell phone’s USB cable. My tickets to special events. My wedding ring (thankfully found again on the floor in my hotel room). My mind.

I have no excuses, but the rash of absent-mindedness has me thinking about the stuff I always take with me or do when I travel. Turns out, a lot of it revolves around my blogging, so here’s a quick list of the stuff I consider essential for any blogger on the go:

  1. Something to write in/on/with. I’ve had very few real vacations in the last 8 years, so I usually have my laptop with me. Bit if I don’t, then I have my trusty Moleskine notebook. That way I can scribble down ideas as they occur to me. Writing is near-compulsive for me – it’s better if I can just write when I feel the need.
  2. A recording device. It’s so easy now I always bring something with me that can record audio. My cell phone does a decent job. If I have my laptop, then I bring my USB headset, too. I often end up babbling a new idea out that becomes a podcast or the beginnings of a post.
  3. My to-do list. This sounds pathetic, but I do bring my to-do list along. That way, if I suddenly realize there’s something I need to do when I get home, I can record it and forget about it. I can also jot down blog ideas. I use todo.txt and DropBox, so I have my to-do list any time I need it.
  4. Business cards. Just a couple. Without fail, the one time I forget is the time I discover I have a long-lost relative who has millions of dollars and wants to hire me (exaggeration, but you get it).
  5. A good book. ‘Good’ is relative. Could be trashy science fiction, or good science fiction, or a David Ogilvy tome. It’s nice to read and disengage now and then.
  6. My favorite podcasts. The latest from my favorite podcasts, which include Penny Arcade’s Dungeons & Dragons recordings (GEEK), Vanessa Fox’s Office Hours (GEEKIER) and SEO Rockstars (YES I AM A GEEK). I genuinely enjoy all of these, working or not. These come with me on my phone, now that I have a Droid.
  7. My favorite music. Led Zeppelin, Sting (Nothing Like the Sun), My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (I know, weird), etc.. If I really get on a roll writing something for work or fun, a good soundtrack helps a lot.
  8. Something random. OK, this isn’t essential, but I always bring something bizarre/random with me: A lego mini figure my son says is me; a sticker my daughter put on my laptop; a bicycle tire lever. Whatever it is, it ends up in front of me while I write. I don’t know why, but there you have it.

Not the typical list of tools you might expect, I guess. But if I have 90% of the above stuff, I’m good to go no matter where I am.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. If I’m going anywhere tech-related, I bring an extension cord with multiple outlets on the end, and a portable laptop desk.
    Granola bars, advil, cold medicine, and water usually end up in my backpack as well.

  2. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for the list. I’d have to say #1 is my big “must have” when I go somewhere, even on vacation. Otherwise I’ll come up with an idea in the middle of the night when I’m trying to get comfortable with the hotel pillow and it will haunt me if I don’t write it down.
    I have to say, #8 intrigues me. But quite possibly I don’t really want to know any more about it. 😉
    I’d add cell phone and charger. Seems standard, but it’s a real bummer if you forget them.

  3. I think I have a brother in you:
    1) I’ve a moleskine since University;
    2) I had to have my todo list with me;
    3) I always have not business card with me when needed
    4) I too read sci-fi book to distract myself
    5) I too hear at podcast when travelling (especially airplane)
    6) Same rock tastes
    7) Hearing soundtracks when working (I have a huge collection)
    I just miss the recording device 🙂

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