Packing For Travel

I have many thoughts about this article.

Packing For Travel:

Your bags: Travel bags should always be rollable and made with telescoping handles.

No! No! No! If one has health reasons as to why one cannot carry bags, then roll-a-board bags make sense. If so, I strongly recommend the two wheel variety and not the common four wheel type. Why? If one needs to quickly move – say, to a distant gate to catch a tight connection, and/or have to deal with stairs – say, anywhere where there are stairs, then the two wheel bags will handle those far better than the alternative.

However, if one can do non-suitcase bags like backpacks and shoulder bags, they are the best. They are more portable, safer, flexible, and are less likely to be gate checked. I will take one of each on longer business trips.

Do Not Travel with camo or khaki or military drab or overly tactical bags. There are many places in South America and Asia where that will flag you for additional scrutiny, at best.

Also, a lot of non-US airlines are very strict about bag weight where US airlines care more about bag size. Keep that in mind when choosing between a suitcase that weighs 6 pounds empty and a bag that weighs 2.

Do Not Travel With Four Wheel Suitcases! They are AV carts, old-school Daleks. The wheels are tiny and prone to breaking. One cannot move quickly with them and they require more space when one runs alongside. To be fair, I own one for a very specific use case but otherwise avoid it.

Ideally, if you are traveling by air, you can pack everything in your carry-on, at least for the outbound trip.


This is because checked bags force you to wait at the airport for them to come out at the claim

… unless you can gate check them. If so, then you might be waiting about 10 minutes.

They can also get delayed or lost, forcing you to rely on an airline’s delivery services that can take several days.

NEVER only check bags. Always keep one with you with at least a full change of clothes, medication, toiletries, and anything that might get stolen.

Lastly, as the snarkily fun/Air Babylon/suggests, checked bags can get pilfered, and since 2001 it’s effectively impossible to lock them. Even locks advertised as TSA-safe can result in your bag arriving half-open and with zippers wrenched-off because the security services don’t care. Since you can’t lock checked bags, anything that has a possibility of being checked should also be anonymous: black nylon with no particular designer marks.

True. Suitcase locks are beyond worthless. They instead signal that the bag might be worth taking.

Leave the gorgeous Rimowa aluminum on Instagram and the custom-fitted, excruciatingly heavy leather luggage for a car trip.


If you have a flashy bag, … 

Don’t. Just … don’t.

For the return trip, consider shipping things home if you have a lot. I bought a bunch of books on a recent Portland trip and was on the tipping point of shipping versus cramming into a checked bag.

… always keep the following ready to go:

Plenty of plastic bags: To store dirty laundry, wet clothes such as swimsuits, leaky bottles of shampoo, or the new bottle of wine that you’re bringing back. You never know when you’ll need them.

Yes, but not for those reasons. You do not want to store wet clothes in a plastic bag for more than an hour or so. Instead you want something made of a modern fabric that will wick away moisture. Why are you traveling with liquid shampoo? If your wine bottle breaks a plastic bag will not help.


Agree. Muji sells some and they have a good travel option when it’s in stock.

Travel tray: To keep hotel keys, sunglasses, change, watch, wallet, and other stuff that’s otherwise easy to leave lying around your room. Available at all price ranges, such trays can be unbuttoned at the corners so you can pack them flat. I love mine.

I have a Tom Bihn model that is multipurpose as a packable bag for tech kit.

Plastic utensils: A spare set of plastic knives, forks, and spoons will come in handy when you have to stay somewhere too sketchy for room service. More advanced colleagues travel with nutrition bars.

Agreed, though I include chopsticks (also useful in unexpected non-food ways), a thermal bottle, and a collapsable water bottle. I level up with a foldable plate/cup/bowl set. Instant coffee and tea sachets are great when you can get hot water.

Clear travel washbag: Regulation sized, of course.

Yes, but … 

In addition to hotel-sized toiletries, you need a compact, concentrated shaving cream. 

No. If you’re traveling to a modern hotel they will have shaving cream. Better, find a dry shaving soap one can lather up with a washcloth.

Travel accessories: A plastic receipts folder, noise-canceling headphones with jack adaptors, plug converters, and spare charging cords. I usually keep extra collar stays in my bag and a cheap pair of ribbon knot cufflinks if I ever mistakenly pack a French-cuff shirt.

Yes!!! Also, a lapel pin and tie clip. Bring some duct tape or similar for de-linting clothes (and quick repairs), a sewing kit, and a shoe polishing cloth.

Roll, Don’t Fold: Remember to pack clothes by rolling them, not folding them. 


Also, pack a small collapsible umbrella because it will rain if you don’t.

This varies based on destination. I would not bring an umbrella to Japan. Not because it won’t rain, but rather because one can buy a better-than-average one in a konbi for little. On an NYC trip and I will definitely bring my own.

What to wear when you travel?

That is the question.

When I have to travel light, I usually wear a pair of my suit trousers. They have side adjusters to loosen them when I try to rest, and their wool generally breathes.

I travel with a pair (or two) of modern performance trousers that can work in a business casual environment. The company that made mine lost its way, so I’ll link to a resource to help you find something else). I’ll usually wear one on the plane.

I may wear the jacket on the plane as the pockets are useful for travel documents and other essentials.

Pockets on the plane or train or other conveyance are key. I often wear a travel blazer on board.

However, instead of a dress shirt, I usually wear a fine-gauge knit, which is more comfortable and softer than a woven button-up.

I wear a modern performance button down shirt, such as from Ministry of Supply and Mizzen & Main.

When I travel, I often take only a single pair of shoes, something laceless and made with a rubber sole. Laceless because airports and planes can be filthy, and it saves time having to remove and put them on again at security (which is why I also keep a small shoehorn in my bag). Rubber-soled because you never know if it will rain while you’re traveling.

I do much the same with shoes that are color muted. I also pack boots if I think I will do any hiking or long walks.

After this, I hope you can stumble comfortably off your red-eye and eventually direct yourself to a shelter where this advice helps you settle, spruce up, and feel you have what you need. … 

The post Packing For Travel appeared first on Put This On.

Other things I recommend (brain dump; I’m not sure the last time I did such a list):

  • Printed boarding pass (even if you keep it in your bag and use your phone in the airport)
  • Playing cards and/or dice
  • Book(s)
  • Sleep mask
  • Melatonin
  • Notebook, notepad, pen, and pencil
  • Copies of your ID kept away from your actual ID
  • A piece of paper with important numbers (emergency contacts, embassy and consulates, hotel, local contact, etc.), medication, blood type, etc. in a plastic bag
  • Foreign language guide (if needed)
  • Wool socks
  • Wool t-shirts
  • Wool or performance underwear
  • Lots of $1 bills (in the US for tipping) and the same in other countries as culturally allowed
  • Emergency currency
  • Wired over-the-ear headphones (and adaptor, because mobile phone makers hate us)
  • Inexpensive reliable watch (Casio makes a bunch of these)
  • Hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Bandanas and handkerchiefs (for nose issues and sweat and tourniquet and hobo-ing and sun avoidance, etc.)
  • Day bag (that I also use as a packing cube)
  • RFID-blocking pouch (for passport, etc.)
  • Inexpensive reliable compass
  • Whistle
  • Door stop
  • Destination map that includes the airport or train station
  • Jumbo binder clips
  • Airplane seat back organizer
  • Airplane cup holders

Here endeth the lesson.

“To me, the definition of hell is simple: it is a place where there is no understanding and no compassion. We have all been there. We are acquainted with hell’s heat, and we know that hell is in need of compassion. If there is compassion, then hell ceases to be hell. You can generate this compassion yourself. If you can bring a little compassion to this place, a little bit of understanding, it ceases to be hell. Hell is here, all around us. Your practice consists in generating compassion and understanding and transforming the suffering around us.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

(H/t Patrick Rhone)

Financial hand waving

In 2008 the prices of some structured credit products built out of subprime U.S. mortgages went down, and as a result there was a global recession and millions of people lost their jobs. If you had asked a normal person in 2007: “How would it affect your life if it turns out that investors have mispriced the super-senior risk in synthetic collateralized debt obligations built out of subprime mortgage tranches,” that person would have said “I have no idea what you are talking about, but I can’t imagine how that collection of words would affect me.” But it did. 

(Via Matt Levine in Money Stuff)

That was messy but somewhat comprehensible. I guess. And then this:

If you asked a normal person, you know, two weeks ago: “How would it affect your life if the prices of some monkey JPEGs and algorithmic stablecoins crash,” I think most people would reasonably have said “I do not own a monkey JPEG and do not aspire to own one, so this will not affect me at all.” My guess is that they would have been right. My guess is that the real world is not too affected by the crypto world, and that if crypto prices crash there will not be a ton of contagion in the rest of the financial system. But I think it is, at this point, debatable. Crypto has at least started to work its way into the real financial system. Some traditional investors also own crypto; if their crypto goes down they might have to sell regular stuff. Some public companies are exposed to crypto (because they are crypto exchanges, because they have levered crypto holdings, etc.), so your boring old index fund might go down when crypto goes down.

There is nothing about cryptocurrency and NFTs that doesn’t scream !SCAM!. The amount of magical thinking in this thing shocks me. That it will become part of the real economy, the one that helps people pay bills and buy groceries, terrifies me.

I used to say something along the lines of, “A lot of smarter people than me figured this was ok, so it must be.” I don’t say such ridiculous things any more.

Not that I don’t respect science and economics and those who do them and associated disciplines. I doubt our current definition of “smart people”. If they’re only the like of Musk and Bezos and Gates and Thiel, then I’ll spend time looking into what actual “smart people” in the arenas think.

I stopped believing in a benevolent billionaire entrepreneur doing anything beyond self-aggrandizement and adding a few extra billion to their Forbes profile.

The metric US that could have been

Why hasn’t the United States adopted the metric system for widespread use? I’ve generally thought there were two reasons. One is that with the enormous US internal market, there was less incentive to follow international measurement standards. The other was that the US has long had a brash and rebellious streak, a “you’re not the boss of me” vibe, which means that there will inevitably be pushback against some external measurement system invented by a French guy and run an international committee based in a Paris suburb. 

However, Stephen Mihm makes a persuasive case that my internal monologue about the metric system is wrong, or at least seriously incomplete, in “Inching toward Modernity: Industrial Standards and the Fate of the Metric System in the United States” (Business History Review, Spring 2022, pp. 47-76, needs a library subscription to access). Mihm focuses on the early battles over US adoption of the metric system, waged in the 19th and early 20th century. He makes the case that the metric system was in fact blocked by university-trained engineers and management, with the support of big manufacturing firms.

This is not a battle for today. At some point the US and the other outliers will embrace the metric system. I drive friend, family, and SO crazy with my adherence to matrix measurements (and 24-hour clocks) where I can.


Are You Experienced dropped on this day May 12, 1967

Are You Experienced dropped on this day May 12, 1967:

… Even though Electric Ladyland was my first album, Are You Experienced is one of my favorite debut albums of all time. As it turns out, Are You Experienced dropped today back in 1967, and I had to celebrate the occasion. Thanks for making a fellow Black kid feel welcome in the rock world, Jimi.
If I get on the radio today, oh boy!

The sky, black with lawyers

jwz on How to fix social media:

What we need is this one simple trick:

A site that scrapes, collates, and de-dups your friends’ posts on every social media site, and then shows you the union of all of those posts as one feed.

This is the only way to break Facebook’s back: to allow your friends’ transition from one social network’s data silo to another to be so gradual and effortless that you don’t even notice it happening.

The thing that makes this difficult, of course, is not the coding, but the fact that if you succeed at it in any meaningful way, the sky will blacken with lawyers, and the data silos’ spending on technical countermeasures will absolutely smother you.

Sadly, people have little agency in all of this. Social Media’s End User License Agreements (EULA) and Terms of Service (TOS) make that clear.

Remeninces of iPod

When I first went to Japan I had a Huawei-built Google Nexus 6P and a red iPod Touch 6th generation 256G. Other than the sometimes arbitrary requirement of iOS apps that one’s device have a cellular radio (active or not), they were a good pair of devices to cover my mobile needs.

Eventually the Nexus battery swelled and I moved fully into the Apple ecosystem. I keep looking for a good Android-based media player WITH A HEADPHONE JACK but they were either scarce on space or wildly expensive. I traded the iPod in.

Nowadays the iPad Mini 6th generation 256g fills the role the iPod did for me, and the red iPhone SE 2020 has that pocket friendly form factor the Touch had.

Hurtful language hurts politicians

United States Senator Bill Hagerty on Tuesday joined Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and nine other colleagues to introduce the Public Servant Protection Act, which protects public officials and employees and their families from having their home addresses displayed publicly online. Text of the bill may be found here. …

United States Senator Bill Hagerty on Tuesday joined Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and nine other colleagues to introduce the Public Servant Protection Act, which protects public officials and employees and their families from having their home addresses displayed publicly online. Text of the bill may be found here.


That’s not how free speech works.

Should public servants and their families be protected by law enforcement? Yes. We all should, and those serving in office should get protection specific to their role as the vitriol is particularly incendiary and the service they provide is important.

Should government officials be sheltered from voters who disagree with them, those who say things they don’t like, in a peaceful manner? No. If the voices are dangerous? Yes.

Should journalists and news outlets couch political grandstanding as “protection” from “threats”? No.

Should public employee addresses be public record? That’s not clear cut. I think elected officials should have their addresses on record since their residence is part of the requirement to hold office. If public service employees, like fire and police, are required to live in their community, then that should be public record as well.

Of course, this is largely moot. Most everyone volunteers their location on social media. It would not take much work to figure out where a public servant lives based on posts by themselves, their significant others, or their offspring.

Lawn care specialists, house cleaning professionals, au pairs, and the like could also post location information.

Maybe neighbors post their own information and it becomes easy to triangulate a voted-on public servant’s house?