Updated: 2018-07 - I found an even better booth bag.
It's conference season and that means many of us who present frequently are on the road at some point in the next few months. For me, the season starts with a 9-day trip that begins at STC Spectrum and ends at STC Conduit.
That's nine days on the road and away from home: Four conference days as a speaker and a sponsor. Two travel days. Three days working remote in a very transient and under-equipped "office." And, as you know, I like my travel to be E‑A‑S‑Y.
A Presenter Needs
From the traveling speaker perspective, my Presenter's Kit gets me a long way. It covers anything I could need as a presenter to make sure that my presentations (my reasons for traveling) go as smoothly as possible. This bag is also known as the magic bag. I've saved other presenters more than once. (And did it again at Spectrum.)
How do you get one if you can't get to a conference?
When we retired the Guru D presentation, we we realized, with some sadness, that it meant the DITA Cult button would be retired too. We never gave it away at any other time? We've had some requests for it over the years, so decided to make it available on our website.
For our TPC Affinity Group members: To thank you for your continued engagement with us, we're giving away one of each to you! Pick your favorites and pack your goodie bag. Check the monthly reminder email for the link.
If you're not an affinity group member, but want to get one, just pay the shipping and handling and we'll send it to you free. The "price" listed in the store is the handling cost. (We had to do it that way because of sales tax jurisdiction laws and the Supreme Court decision earlier this week.)
So, if you wanted one but never saw us in the wild...
A Vendor Needs
As a sponsor, I've got extra collateral to carry and I'm lugging it around by myself. This year all the other sponsors were jealous because of my new booth-carry bag, the Eagle Creek X-Large Rolling Duffel. It's got wheels; it folds up into a tiny bag when it's empty; and it counts as regular luggage to the airlines.
For most conferences, I can get almost everything in this bag. Anymore, I travel with a 1x3 or 2x2 XPRESSIONS Snap Select pop-up or tower display. I can put either (or both) in this bag, and the shelf, table drapes, and most of the collateral.* I like it better than my old bag, which I loved but which was heavy even empty. With this one, it's super easy to stay under the 50-lb, non-oversize baggage limit.
Best features: Wheels. Super light. Counts as regular luggage. Collapsible. Backpack size when folded up.
A Remote-Worker Needs
As a transient-remote worker, it's hard to get all the other stuff you "might need" the three days you're working on the road.
Plan your workload -- what you can do, what you will do, and what you'll need to get it done -- can really help here. I can guarantee that, unless you're a 6' man, the "desk" the hotel room offers isn't going to meet your ergonomic needs. Neither will the "business services office" in the lobby of the hotel. Plan out your work so you aren't going to be doing too much that keeps you chained to your so-called-desk for long periods. Make sure you're mobile enough that you can rotate to stand, sit, and be in different positions.
I do that by adding Google Drive and a Chromebook to all the things in my Presenter's Kit. I load Drive with copies of the raw materials I'll need to complete my workload in advance of travel, in the comfort of my office where my ergonomic needs are met. I won't have to spend a lot of time searching for what I need when I'm in an environment that isn't tuned to my ergonomic needs.
The Chromebook is very light and supports wireless access, so I can sit on a sofa or in a chair or at the desk, and rotate my position on a regular interval to prevent RSIs. And when I pair it with the HooToo, I can go anywhere within reach of the hotel's wireless access points in an instant. (Even outside.)
Travel Made Easy!
That's all I took to get through a 9-day, 2-conference trip to two states. One checked bag with my booth and clothes and one carry-on full of electronics that I didn't even need to pack. Pretty sweet.
P.S. If you're wondering whether the HooToo really is the traveler's secret weapon, ask Chris Ward from Webworks. He pulled me aside at Spectrum 2017 to tell me how much he appreciated my pointer to it last October. He's found it useful in a number of situations. (Ask him about it if you spot him in the wild; it's a great story.)
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