This article was published on October 31, 2013

Top tips for business travel the geek way

Top tips for business travel the geek way
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
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Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

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As writers for an international blog we travel a lot. We hold our conferences in Amsterdam, Sau Paulo and New York now but have also held smaller events in lots of countries across Europe and South America. We’ve seen our fair share of airports and hotels and have our own little tricks and tips for geek traveling.

(Disclaimer: I happen to be a Mac user so some of the tips are more useful for Apple users than non-Apple users. Sorry about that).

socketWhen I travel I bring a laptop, my iPad and my iPhone. Every device has a charger that needs to be plugged in somewhere. You can buy the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit, but that is expensive and has a bunch of adapters you will likely never use.

Years ago I started collecting these little thingies you can attach to your power adapters. I got a few British ones, about 5 US ones and a bunch of European ones. Now when I travel somewhere I find out what power sockets are used for that country and then replace all my adapters with the right add-on.

Another smart option is to bring a basic 5-Outlet Power Bar Strip Splitter with you with just one international converter. That way you can keep your local power sockets attached and use just one plug. Many hotel rooms only have one power socket near the bed, so this is a very efficient way to connect all your devices, and not worry about finding a converter for every device you carry.

If you end up forgetting your adapters (it happened to me) just go and talk to the hotel reception. Ask them to check the ‘Lost & Found’ basket if they don’t keep an extra adapter behind the desk. A lot of travelers forget theirs (it happened to me) when they leave the room, so usually they have a whole basket filled with these things somewhere.

The other thing I always bring is an ethernet cable. If you have a newer MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, you might need an extra Thunderbolt adapter, so get one of those too. Some hotels offer free wired networking and paid WiFi, so then an ethernet cable comes in handy. I’ve also had instances where the WiFi was down but the network still worked.

If I’m traveling longer I bring my own Airport Express station which I can connect to any network and then use to set up my own WiFi network. This is handy for hotels that have ethernet but no (or bad) WiFi network in your room. I name the network ‘’ for some extra guerrilla marketing.

These days the better hotels all offer a large LCD TV in your room. So far I have always been able to reach the back of these things and attach my own Apple TV via an HDMI cable. In the US, you can also order a Google Chromecast which is even cheaper and works just as well for streaming.

Image credit: Alliance/Shutterstock

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