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20 Essential Accessories for a Business Trip

When travelling for business, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference or impact. Most well seasoned business travellers have their favourite things to take, but this list will escalate you to true executive level.

Noise cancelling headphones

Flying is usually the largest and most disruptive part of any business traveller’s itinerary. For a regular traveller, they may spend much of their working lives on planes. It’s impossible to overemphasise the benefits of a good pair of noise cancelling headphones, as they allow you to block out ambient noise, actually hear your music or movies, and even have an uninterrupted sleep as they still block out aircraft noise even if you’re not listening to anything. As a result, you’ll reach your destination feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Travel wash bag

This differs to your usual wash bag as it should be much smaller and more compact. Take mini toiletries rather than your regular items. Many travel wash bags also have essentials kits which include nail clippers, combs, and other personal grooming accessories. Toiletries can take up too much space, so don’t fall into this trap.

iPad

Slim and powerful, an iPad allows you to store important documents, reading material, and even movies. It is almost as good as a PC or laptop for checking your emails, and you can even Skype your family from your hotel room.

Multiple time zone watch

For the regular time zone traveller, a watch that shows and adjusts to different time zones will be a lifesaver. It will ensure you don’t miss flights or appointments by relying on mental calculations, and it will help you pre-plan your synching for arrival (your sleep time, for example).

Luggage and tags

The expert business traveller should always have a light, compact yet sturdy bag that ideally fits in the overhead compartment. There’s nothing quite like disembarking and going straight to the taxi rank. If you do need to check in your luggage, a large, unique tag will help your bag stand out.

A spare stylus

Use your tablet with precision. A stylus can prevent fatigue and unlock a greater level of efficiency from your tablet. It’s always good to have a spare as inevitably, one will go missing at some stage.

4-port USB hub

A USB hub will help you connect your peripherals more easily every time you set up your mobile workstation, and will even allow you to charge all your devices from your laptop at once.

iPad or laptop stand

Just because you’re on the road, it doesn’t mean your ergonomics should suffer. Stay productive and comfortable with a stand for your tablet or laptop.

Mobile charger for iPad

Don’t get stranded without power. Use a mobile charger in your rental car to ensure your devices are always online and ready to go.

USB to serial port adaptor

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a different office needing to connect your laptop to peripherals that may have an older serial port. This is a cable that should sit in your laptop bag for these situations. All you need is a spare USB port on your computer and you can connect to a printer, monitor, or any other legacy device.

Micro USB Bluetooth adaptor

Need a Bluetooth connection on a device that doesn’t have inbuilt Bluetooth? This tiny adaptor will solve all of your problems, providing a Bluetooth connection for these situations.

Keyboard

This keyboard will be compatible with any corporate system, and on the road it will allow you to work as efficiently as you do in the office.

Wireless mouse

Small enough to carry in your laptop bag, a wireless mouse is essential in maintaining efficiency and preventing RSI based symptoms associated with extended trackpad use.

Lap mat

Find yourself working from your hotel bed or the sofa at the airport lounge? A lap mat will provide extra comfort on your lap, with the added benefit of keeping both you and your laptop cool.

Presenter

Be prepared with your own presentation tools when visiting clients or other offices. A compact presenter should always sit in your bag, and one with a slide clicker and laser pointer will add another dimension to your presentations.

Laptop charger

This sounds obvious, but always remember to carry a laptop charger when travelling. Some are particularly lightweight and slim, perfect for travelling and it’s worth getting a spare and just keeping in your laptop bag at all times.  

Cable lock

Being on the road and working out of hotels, lounges, and foreign offices, it’s important to keep your devices safe. A cable lock will allow you to secure your devices. It can also come in handy when you need to leave your bags unattended at a hotel concierge as you can lock them together, or even lock them up in your room to prevent theft.

Privacy screen

An important tool for many business people who find themselves working on the go, a privacy screen ensures you can read confidential documents and information in public without having to worry about the person next to you reading over your shoulder.

Travel docking station

We know how disorganised business trips can get, even when you prepare yourself beforehand. A travel docking station can save you the trouble of having to scramble around looking for the different cables you need, with a single fast USB3.0 connection from your laptop to workspace peripherals. Save space and time trying to find those pesky cables!

Chill mat

Perfect for those hot, humid areas where you can’t escape the heat and feel your laptop burning on your thighs. A chill mat disperses the heat using dual fans, preventing the laptop from overheating and encouraging maximum comfort so you can work longer hours. The chill mats are ergonomically designed and have rubber stops to prevent them from slipping beneath your laptop. Simply plug them into your USB port to begin.

This list of accessories is sure to make even the most seasoned business traveller a true veteran in the field. Stay organised, be productive and notice the difference it makes to your travel, no matter how frequently you fly.

Preventing Back Problems Caused by Heavy Backpacks

Back pain is a common issue that affects almost everyone at some point of their life. Most cases of back pain go away on their own or with some basic treatment, but there are a number of things we do in our daily lives that can cause back pain or set us up for future incidents of back pain without us even realising.

Backpacks are one cause of this pain, as they have the potential to encourage awkward carrying posture and tempt people to carry them much more than they should. Many people see the humble backpack as an opportunity to fill in as much as possible so that nothing has to be carried in their hands. The danger with this is that it results in the body having to compensate for the load, which has long term effects on posture as well as the potential risk of a more immediate injury, such as a strain or even a slipped disc.

The dangers and effects of a heavy backpack apply to both adults and children alike. While adults feel that they may be strong enough to load up their backpacks, this doesn’t do them any favours. Children use backpacks for school, and they don’t have the relevant knowledge to ensure that they are packing and carrying their backpacks correctly, so it’s up to us to ensure that they aren’t at risk of injury.

The tips outlined in this article don’t only apply to children’s school bags, however. Adults alike should follow the same tips and advice so as to ensure that they are always safely carrying their backpacks, despite how strong they may think they are.

Construction

It is crucial to purchase a backpack that is sturdy, as this will help it bear the weight of the load while also providing structure. An excessively soft backpack will not hold form, and this can affect our posture. The straps should also be broad with sufficient padding,as this helps distribute the weight.

Weight

The weight you carry in a backpack should ideally be less than 10% of your bodyweight. This is particularly important for children, as their bodies and muscular strength are not able to cope with higher loads. Adults can carry beyond this, but it’s important to not overdo it.

Width

The width of the actual backpack should not be wider than that of the chest. Again, this tip applies to both adults and children, but is particularly important for children to ensure they aren’t trying to carry something that is too big for their size.

Waist straps

There is a good reason as to why backpacks have waist straps or belt. These straps help secure the bag in place when walking, and they have the important benefit of distributing the load more evenly across the body and taking unnecessary pressure off the back.

Pack correctly

When packing you or your child’s backpack, there are a few simple rules to follow. Put the bulkiest and heaviest items at the bottom as the lower centre of gravity will make it easier to carry and provide a sturdy base for the other items. The closer the heavy items are to the spine, the better. Never overload a backpack, even if there is still plenty of room inside. Just because there is room, it doesn’t mean you should be using it.

Plan loads

To ensure that bags aren’t overpacked, try and plan the loads. For example, you could keep certain things at work or school to avoid having to carry everything all the time. In the case of children, planning homework days for particular subjects means that they don’t have to carry all of their heavy textbooks around each day. This is something that you should plan for both your child and yourself.

Carry correctly

There’s no point in having the right backpack packed correctly if it isn’t carried in the correct way. It’s therefore vital that you use both straps; never sling one strap over a shoulder as this will cause imbalances and injury. You should also use the waist straps, especially for heavier loads. Finally, never carry the backpack lower than the small of your back. Adjust the straps to ensure it is sitting in the correct position.

Following these tips, and being sensible when lifting and carrying your backpack, will save you from the pain and troubles of back trouble later. In addition, always set a good example for your children and ensure you teach them the correct way to use a backpack. Despite how unfashionable they may think it is to carry a backpack in the way it was intended to be used, educating them will go a long way.

The History of i

On October 23, 2001, at a rented auditorium near Apple headquarters Steve Jobs presented to the world the first iPod. Its importance, both as a standalone device and as a precursor to the coming iPhone and iPad, could never have been known at the time. Over the past 15 years since that day, Apple has systematically released generation after generation of these popular devices. Check out the full history below: 

The History of i

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Why You Need a Rugged Case to Protect Your Phone

Rugged Case

Chances are, your smartphone has become your best friend, whether you admit it or not. In this constantly connected world we live in, our phones never stray far from our pockets. The fact that smartphones are an expensive, fragile piece of technology means that cautious phone owners are investing in all types of cases for their new smartphones to ensure that they stay shiny for years to come - or at least long enough that it still looks good when they sell it and replace it with a new model.

Keeping your phone safe and protected from surface scratches, drops, bumps, and other disasters that could potentially compromise its aesthetic appeal or technological function has never been easier. With the advent of the rugged case, there is something to suit all situations and activities. The hoards of pretty, slimline cases available will no doubt protect your phone from small scratches, but for real and comprehensive protection, nothing beats a rugged case.

The case for rugged cases
Rugged cases now come in various levels or degrees of protection. If you are clumsy and tend to drop your phone, there is a rugged case for you. This could save your phone from a drop whilst you’re frantically texting a date that you’re running late. It could also save your screen when a passerby accidentally knocks you whilst you’re talking on the phone, sending your phone pummeling face down towards the pavement (as it inevitably does).

Similarly, if you are a tradesman and your phone is being used at worksites or in situations that could cause major damage, there is a rugged case for you. A stray brick could crush your fancy device, or the prolonged exposure to environments containing excessive dust could allow foreign particles to get into the cracks, causing severe internal deficiencies. In the past, there was only one type of case, but there are now more options depending on the level of protection required.

What makes them rugged?
With the improvements in materials and case technologies, rugged cases have become more attractive, and less bulky and heavy than their previous iterations. Polycarbonate shells provide better impact protection, whilst maintaining an element of tactility. Screen protectors have become thinner, making it less of a compromise for touch screen phones. All of these developments have led to an increasing number of consumers and personal smartphone users turning to the rugged case for greater security and increased peace of mind when taking their phone out. As a result, the active lifestyle (or clumsy user, for that matter) no longer has to pose a threat or risk to the condition of your personal technology.

Rugged cases such as the Targus SafePort provide everyday protection whilst keeping the form attractive and stylish. After all, nobody wants a case that adds significant bulk and hides the beautiful form of a brand new iPhone.

A rugged case like the SafePort can be the perfect choice as it will allow you to live your lifestyle without having to worry about damaging your phone, while seamlessly transitioning into your work zone should you require additional protection there too.  Knowing that your expensive device is safe can actually allow you to focus more on your activities and enjoy them, rather than worrying about whether your phone is at risk of damage.

Guide to Choosing the Perfect Laptop Bag

Targus Laptop Bag

In this day and age, the classic laptop bag is a much needed accessory that has both practical and visual benefits. A significant investment has already been made in purchasing the laptop itself. The laptop bag is designed to protect this investment. Thinking of the bag as insurance for your computer will allow you to truly appreciate the importance of purchasing a laptop bag that is sturdy, will stand the test of time, and most of all, keep your laptop protected.

Before making the purchase, there are some things to consider. Laptop bags exist in designs to suit every kind of person, from those who prefer hand-held sleeves or messenger bags, to those who’d rather wear backpacks or over the shoulder totes. You should think of your purpose and buy a bag that suits your needs. For example, is the bag going to be used for work, pleasure, or both? Individuals are increasingly carrying their laptops with them nearly everywhere they go. A casual bag that is suitable for both work and pleasure, that you can also carry on the weekends, is a good option for most people.

So, how do you go about choosing the laptop bag that is right for you? Here are some factors you should think about before you buy:

Size matters

While this may sound obvious, the bag needs to fit your laptop. As silly as it sounds, measure the bag. Know the measurements of your laptop if you don’t have it with you when purchasing the bag. Different laptop bags are sometimes designed for different computer brands and styles, and what fits a MacBook will likely be too small for a Windows laptop.

Ideally, have the laptop with you when you purchase the bag to measure how snugly it fits into the bag. You don’t want to buy a bag that just fits your measurements, but takes some time to shove the laptop in.  At the same time, you don’t want a laptop bag that has too much extra space for the laptop to move around. Buy one that is a comfortable fit for your particular laptop.

Work or pleasure?

If you solely use your laptop for work, then you’ll likely need something resilient and practical that can be carried to and from work with ease. If you catch public transport, the bag may need extra padding for those times you get knocked around on the bus or train during peak hour.

If you ride a bike or motorcycle, a backpack style laptop bag is the best option. If you walk, consider a bag that is waterproof for those rainy days, and one that won’t strain your back and shoulders. A backpack style bag is again a good option here.

Extra storage

It’s essential that your bag has pockets and separate compartments for your other accessories such as USBs, notebooks, cords, batteries, mouse, etc. This will protect your laptop from bumps and scratches, and your other items from being squashed by the laptop.

A laptop sleeve is only a good idea if you have the laptop itself and nothing else to carry, unless you intend on placing the laptop in a sleeve and then in a backpack.

For frequent travellers, some new designs of laptops have wheels on them for easier carrying through airports and busy areas. They also have additional compartments for additional luggage, a perfect option for business trips.

Quality

  • Durable fabric is a must. Your laptop is something you use everyday, and remember, the bag is there to protect your computer. You want to ensure the fabric is both lightweight and durable. Plastic casing is also available for those who prefer a hard top and extra coverage

  • Quality zips are critical to keeping your laptop safely locked in the bag. You want them to last for years, as a broken zipper will deem the entire bag useless

  • Extra padding on the bag itself, and particularly the shoulder strap, is ideal so that both the laptop and your bones are protected. Laptops can weigh quite a bit and you don’t want the bag to cut into your shoulder when you’re carrying it

  • Adjustable straps can help customise the design to better fit your body and keep the bag as ergonomic as possible when carrying it around and running for the train or bus

  • Waterproof lining is critical to ensure your laptop stays safe in all weather conditions. You don’t want to end up with a wet laptop after walking in a bit of rain

  • Scratch resistant compartments are necessary if you also want to carry an iPad or tablet in your laptop bag.

The essence of you

Some people are concerned only with the practicality of a laptop bag. For others, it’s an extension of their personal style and an accessory in itself. Think about whether you prefer the casual look, or the slimline executive look. Remember, you’ll be carrying your laptop bag for most days of the week, so make it something you love.

Warranty

While your laptop bag protects your computer, you want to protect the bag itself too. Choose one that comes with a warranty.