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Post Summary

Updated: 2023-10

This post details what is in my Presenter's Tech Travel Kit, a go-bag for frequent presenters who want to avoid presentation disasters. Be warned, this is a long post, so take your time. Links are provided for convenience to reference and identify items I actually have. This post was updated as I was preparing to go back out on the road (now that I'm traveling again after Covid), updated my devices, and re-stocked my kit.

The Ultimate Technology Guide for Presenters

I present fairly frequently, and I work hard to deliver a good, valuable presentations to an audience that, in my opinion, has granted me the gift of their attention. To help ensure that, I started carrying around a bunch of equipment that meant I would never have a problem wherever I was presenting.

We've all had those moments, right? Where you get ready to present and find out that the internet isn't working. Or you forgot the Mac adapter. Or the projector is old and only displays part of your screen. You make due, but it's frustrating, as a presenter to have problems presenting. And it's worse for the audience.

I decided that, ultimately, I'm the one responsible for solving any technical problems that arise because of the devices I choose to travel with. I want to be prepared for any situation and everything must work.

The burden is on YOU to anticipate compatibility issues, and not on the organizers to accommodate you without any forewarning.

Presentation Guru

A few years ago, my company donated a new projector to the East Bay STC because I actually had that exact problem with their old projector. I was trying out a new Android tablet, as a travel-presentation device—I'd thought, "Why cart a laptop around just for a presentation?"—and even though I had the right adapter with me, the projector was so old that it couldn't handle the tablet's resolution.

You never know what's going to happen. Tech moves pretty fast and venues don't always keep up. After that presentation disaster I decided I wasn't going to get caught in that situation again. I created a Tech Travel Kit. We all have a Travel Kit, but I also wanted a Tech Travel Kit that I could pick up and take with me anywhere. I wanted to always be ready.

Since that day, I haven't had another presentation disaster. In fact, I've saved the day for several other presenters over the last few years because my Tech Travel Kit had the adapter that they forgot to bring.

Until I started packing my kit, I didn't always know the names of all the displays and would constantly call the Micro-HDMI a Mini-HDMI (same for USB, and still do, in fact). That's part of why I packed my kit in the first place. I didn't want to have people or techs out searching for what I needed at the last minute only to have them come back with the wrong thing.

Now I have a kit that matches all my devices and everything is configured for plug-and-play. There is literally almost no work and no trepidation (at least from a technology stand point) when it comes to presenting anywhere any time.

In my kit, I carry a variety of adapters, cables, power converters, and other miscellaneous things to support my devices and to make my travel as comfortable and easy as possible. While this may seem pretty straightforward, I've discovered that there can be some hiccups buried in there.

What's new? What have you changed and why?

I upgraded my phone this year. The reason for the upgrade was, in large part, because the iPhone 15 switched to USB-C for charging. For me, that is a huge win: it significantly reduces the number of things I have to carry around. As soon as I upgraded my phone, I upgraded and tested everything my kit. I found a few things that have stopped working and others that I don't really need anymore. My shoulder is already thanking me.

The other big change is that I got rid of my mini travel router. First, hotels stopped limiting the number of devices you could attach to their network and second, my phone has hotspot capabilities and I've got a really good, reasonably inexpensive plan that can step in if I need it.

So here it is...

A full description of everything I have in my kit and why it's there. I've included links to the various products on Amazon, so you know which ones I have, if you're looking for something similar or if you just need a starting point from which to find the thing you need for your situation. Search is great, but sometimes it helps to have a starting point.

Note: I selected, purchased, and tested all of the products in this review myself after extensive research based on my specific requirements.

Let's start with presentation software

I use Google Slides for presenting and have for a very long time. First, they display beautifully on every device I have. Second, I can always access them because they exist in the cloud. Third, you can export them to Powerpoint or PDF for distribution.

Using Google Slides means I have my choice of devices to take with me. All of my devices have browsers, so no matter what device I have, I always have access to my slides as long as I also have internet access. 

I've had a couple of times where Google Slides saved my presentation. Once, because of some bizarre technical glitch, I ended up presenting from my iPhone. The adapter and the iPhone worked with the venue's tech and saved the day.

Another time, the event hosts wanted us to copy our presentations to a computer they managed and had hooked up to the venue's system. I was able to log into a private browser on their machine and give my presentation. No issues with missing graphics or video files; my presentation was as perfect as if it had been on my own (comfortable) machine.

What about when you can't reach the cloud and you're using cloud software? There are various ways to solve that problem. Most venues have a free guest network for attendees and presenters to use. Alternately, I have a mobile device with a data plan that I can present from. My travel router and ad-hoc internet service provider give me even more options.

If you're looking for tips about creating good slides...

In TC Camp's Room 42 podcast, Dr. Traci Nathans-Kelly, the Associate Director for the Engineering Communications Program at Cornell University, College of Engineering, discussed her decades of research into optimizing slide design to crafting better technical presentations that not only support speakers in their live talks but have lasting archival value as well. Watch or listen to the episode ›

Next, let's talk devices

When you're traveling to present at an event, you need to support the purpose for travel (presenting) and the need to work remotely. At any given time, I travel with one or more of the following:

Before I upgraded my phone, I was supporting even more devices with an even greater variety of connectivity and power requirements. It was quite a chore to pack. I had to pack far more than I needed (which was both heavy and hard to keep track of).

Not everyone needs a big kit. When you create your own, you should keep your devices, your needs, and your purpose in mind. With a good kit, you can grab it and go and feel confident you have everything you need.

If you're looking for tips about working while remote...

My recommendations for the best USB headsets for audio and web conferencing includes a discussion for travel-friendly options. Read the article ›

If you like to draw pictures when you're explaining complex ideas, read my discussion on the top ways to better whiteboard collaboration on remote conference calls. Several options will work when you're traveling as well. Read the article ›


Connecting to a projector (Adapters)

The projectors at most venues support VGA input. By 2018 I was starting to find venue projectors that supported both VGA and HDMI in, here and there. With the pandemic delay it's hard to anticipate what we'll find when we all start presenting again. I doubt most venues continued to upgrade their equipment when no one was attending large, in-person events. 

For me, because I might travel with any combination of 5 devices capable of connecting to a projector, if I want to be able to connect to both VGA and HDMI.  But now, with the iPhone 15, I only need two:

  • Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt to VGA/HDMI (Windows Surface Tablet)
  • USB-C to VGA/HDMI (Macbook Air, iPad, Google Pixel, iPhone)

Note: I rarely use sound in my presentations, so I can get by with just the video adapter. However, if you find yourself in a situation where the projector is only VGA in and you have a need to project sound, you may also need a standard aux cable to plug into the sound system.

When choosing an adapter, make sure you buy the right one for the situation you'll be in. If you present often, at a variety of venues, it may be a good idea to have both Male-to-Male cables and Male-to-Female adapters. If you're concerned, my suggestion is to check with the organizers in advance, but if you want to be prepared, it's not a bad idea to have both adapters with you just in case.

While this all seems pretty straightforward, I've discovered that there can be some hiccups buried in there. For example, if you have a newer laptop with only USB-C ports, you might want to make sure your adapter includes a second USB-C port for power or an adapter that will supply power while supporting output at the same time. This is especially important if your adapter takes your only power port. You don't want your laptop to run out of power or go to sleep during your presentation!

For modern PCs
  1. HDMI - HDMI: No need for an adapter, this is becoming standard on most projectors.
  2. HDMI - VGA

For Macbook Pro, Apple Air
  1. USB-C - HDMI, with power (double port) and USB port if you also want a mouse attached.

For Windows Surface tablet, older MacBook Pro
For iPad, iPhone15, Google Pixel
  1. USB-C - HDMI, with power 
  2. USB-C - VGA, with power

For older iPhones (14 and earlier)
For older PCs
  1. VGA - VGA:  This is the old standard configuration provided by most venues; before I replaced it, even my oldest PC didn't have a VGA port.

Other Useful Tools

The rest of this list includes items that serve in a backup capacity or otherwise provide benefits to the presenter on the road that go beyond just hooking up slides to a projector.

For example, remember earlier when I said that I once tried to use a projector that was so old that it couldn't handle the my device's resolution? What about times when the WIFI is down and your presentation is on Google Slides? What do you do? How do you guarantee you can present successfully and still provide a full experience to your attendees?

Having backup options means you're never ill prepared. You can't imagine the relief at being able to come through with ease and professionalism in the face of technological adversity.

Additional cables for other devices

I always have at least one cable per device so everything can be used or charged without waiting for another device to finish.

  1. USB-C to USB-C (or to USB-A, depending on your power adapter) (iPad, Pixel, iPhone 15, Kindle, Skyroam, Nintendo Switch)
  2. USB-A to Micro-USB (audio devices like headsets, earbud chargers, Roku, and other accessories)
  3. USB-C to Apple Watch
  4. Power "Bricks" and cables (the ones that came with the laptops)

The cables in my kit are generally no longer than 1ft because I plug everything into the powered USB hub (see below). I tend toward preferring the braided ones because I've had to fix too many plastic cords over the years with electrical tape.

Wall-powered USB hub

Hotel rooms never always have enough outlets (or enough outlets in convenient locations). Wall-powered USB hubs have saved my sanity more than once. With these, I can charge everything at once and they're small enough to fit in my kit.

The fast charging, wall-powered hub is far superior to the multi-device single cable. Multi-device cables split delivered power. Even if you leave everything plugged in over night, you can wake up with all your devices only partially or minimally charged.

Wall-powered hubs deliver full charge to each device attached thereto. The trick is to find one that matches both your power consumption and the number of cables and devices that you need to charge overnight. I've found that many of these don't deliver enough power or have the right port-type distribution to match the devices I have to support.

My current favorite is a 256W, 8-port charger. It supports the power requirements for all of my devices, including my laptop, at the same time. Most of it's ports are USB-C and not USB-A. Since most of my devices are now USB-C, there's no reason not to have USB-C on both ends of the cables.

If you need another reason to switch, these are friendly devices: If you're in a public location and taking up one of the few plugs available, it provides slots for other people to join in the charging!

The Unidapt is special: It works for nearly every outlet type and cord worldwide. USB-powered devices are the same everywhere. Three of us tested it out in 2019, just before the pandemic, and because of its versatility, compactness, and utility, it has earned a permanent place in my tech travel kit.

On-the-go internet access

For me, this is an emergency item that doubles as reasonably-priced internet access for international travel: The Solis (formerly Skyroam). 

Techcomm Geek Mom introduced me to this little technology toy. Occasionally, the last couple of years, the office has lost connectivity due to power outage or other network issue. (We all saw what happened to the AT&T network in Dallas in October 2018). 

This little device came to the rescue. It got us up when service was down. That it also will give you access on any international network is a bonus. It's got a day-pass option, so you're not paying for service you're not using every day, which makes it very useful and highly flexible. That's what's earned it a permanent place in my kit.

Video streaming

We've been cable-TV free for a dozen years or more. We rotate our subscriptions (Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Disney+, Amazon Prime, etc) as interest grow and decline. It's a world you get used to pretty quickly. And when you travel, you remember why you did it in the first place. (Commercial TV is now impossible for me to watch.)

Want your favorite streaming services in your hotel room? Well, streaming stick to the rescue! These are super tiny devices ... I mean, look at these things:

These devices will plug into any HDMI device. Isn't that handy? Most hotel rooms have TVs with HDMI ports. I have run into one or two where they've disabled that port in favor of their pay-for programming. That's ok. I have a mini-projector in my kit (see below) that has an HDMI input. Problem solved! 

I've tested all three, the Chromecast, the Roku and the FireStick. Most hotels have free Wifi but require you to authorize each device on the network through a browser. The Chromecast device doesn't have a browser, so you can't authenticate it on the network the usual way. The Amazon Fire Stick is the same way. The Roku has the ability to authenticate, but some places charge you per device.

In the end, I chose the Roku for it's simplicity, because it supports multiple streaming services, and ultimately because it can handle the  authentication problem.


About the same time I donated a projector to the East Bay STC, I bought a mini one for my travel kit. Prices had gotten so reasonable for projectors, it seemed like a great idea. If I had my own projector in my kit, I would never be in a weird situation again.

I have the Fatork Mini Projector that I like very much. We used it to host outdoor movies this summer.

When you're looking for a projector, there are three things to care about:

  1. Available input ports
  2. Standard Camera Mount
  3. Lumens (brightness)

The Fatork supports standard HDMI in, which is perfect because we've already packed applicable device-HDMI adapters in our kit. (And the streaming sticks are all HDMI as well.)

You can Screen Cast to it from a mobile device over a WIFI network; However, (1) both your mobile device and the projector must be on the same network, (2) the network must be 5Ghz, and most importantly, (3) the WIFI network cannot be hidden. Luckily, it has a remote control, so moving around to select the letters and numbers that make up the WIFI password isn't too bad. 

The Fatork came with a tripod and connects to it via a standard camera mount on the base. Industrial projectors have little feet that you can use to raise/lower the projector, the standard camera mount means I can put it on any other standard camera tripod, if I need more height. The Fatork also has built-in speakers (I used to have to carry an additional speaker for my old Brookstone Pocket Projector) and a dial on the side to help you get the focus nice and clear. Overall a solid projector even given the lack of support for hidden WIFI networks.

Once you've got a mini-projector in your kit, you find a million things you can do with it. I've run projections at my trade show booth at conferences. I hosted outdoor movie nights during the Pandemic. Who knows what will be next?

What do I put it all in?

I have a two-level, hard shell travel gadget case by BUBM. It was pretty hard to find and I looked at a lot of options before I settled on it.

I used to use one of their toiletry bags. I mean, what did I care what the bag was originally for? It was my bag and I could do what I wanted with it. (I did something similar when I repurposed a tackle box as a first-aid/trauma kit). .

Until I settled this one, I found that most of the electronic organizers have the wrong focus. Many try to replace a purse or backpack. Others had space for only a few cables to support one or two (maybe three) devices. My needs are very specific. I need a tech travel bag to be a go-bag that I can drop into other luggage. I need it to support what I need to carry around. This one has the right number of slits, some zipper pockets, and movable dividers that worked out nicely for me.

It has 8 cable slots and I have 8 cables (1 Laptop, 1 iPad, 1 Kindle, 1 Phone, 1 Switch, 1 Roku, 1 watch, 1 Solis)

It has 4 divided slots (1 solis, 1 wall power hub, 1 roku, 1 mini-mouse, and a set of USB earbuds for conference calls while on the road.

The zip pockets have the HDMI adapters, a blank USB-drive, a USB-power w/data blocker that we gave away at a conference one year, and two low-use cables tucked in there for good measure. One is a USB-C to Ethernet and one is USB-C to printer. You never know what you might need on the road.

The Projector doesn't fit, but I don't take it everywhere, anyway. I ended up putting it, it's cables, remote, and tripod into a separate organizer so I can take it and go when I need it.

That's It!

Everything all fits into my Tech Travel kit GoBag; I can just grab the bag and go. It's a lifesaver and a source of confidence. I don't have to worry that I don't have everything. I may have more than I need if, say, I don't take my Nintendo Switch with me, but carrying one extra cable is a small price to pay to know that I have every contingency covered to guarantee a great presentation!

What's in Your Travel Kit?

Photographers trade stories about what they carry. It's so common that it's a well-known photographer blog topic to write up what's in their kit. Tell me what your favorite travel kit items are and what's in your kit. I'm always looking better solutions and more options and I'd love to hear from you.

For example, one friend's experience with using his phone as his hotspot/internet connection and the ubiquity of WiFi everywhere, convinced me to drop my grandfathered unlimited data plan for a smaller data plan. It worked out because I pay attention to requirements and my requirements always, always, come first.

Want more articles like this?

We like to talk about the importance of requirements here at Single-Sourcing Solutions. If you want to read more articles about requirements gathering, how it's done, and a few examples of how to make sure you get the right tool for you, you should read these:

Don't know which adapter you need?

Here's a little primer—complete with pictures—on the different adapters out there. You should be able to match yours up with it's official name making it a lot easier to find (and cheaper too).

Find your adapter

The Microsoft Surface Pro and older MacBooks have a Thunderbolt ("Mini Display") port. Some have an HDMI port. Older ones have a DVI port, but these are rare enough now that I don't even carry DVI adapters anymore. My particularly MacBook only has the Thunderbolt port.

This is a Thunderbolt port:
picture of thunderbolt port

Newer MacBooks, iPads, and the IPhone 15 have USB-C (no VGA or HDMI).

This is a USB-C port:

Newer Windows laptops and ChromeBooks, have an HDMI port.

This is an HDMI port:

picture of hdmi port

Older iPhones (14 and earlier) have a Lightning port. For the iPhone, Lightning provides power to the device, but it also will serve video output. It can support audio in some if connecting to an input device that supports audio over that channel -- VGA is not one of those channels (no audio over VGA).

This is a Lightning port:

picture of lightning port

Older Windows laptops traditionally had a VGA port. I notice that the new laptops also have an HDMI port, which is very nice, as that's becoming a projector standard. Still, most venues have industrial projectors and those typically have VGA ports on them. You need to know this to connect your device to the projector (typically).

This is a VGA port:

picture of a vga port

The Older Android tablets have a Micro HDMI port. This is a Micro HDMI port (A great picture by hansleman.com that shows the differences between HDMI, Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI):

picture showing the differences between hdmi ports

None of the products in this review were provided without cost in exchange for a review; I purchased and tested them all myself, after selecting specific items through extensive research and based on my initial requirements. 

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

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