In this monthly Travel Checklist column, we ask entrepreneurs to open up their carry-ons and share the items they can't leave home without.
Based in San Francisco, with customers across the globe, Eric Ryan likes to call himself a "jetrosexual." The colorful co-founder of Method, a maker of eco-friendly home-cleaning and personal-care products, clocks about 150,000 miles a year, for business and pleasure. "A little jetsetting in your life is always fun," he says.
To give you a window into Ryan's typical itinerary, a recent week in September saw him heading from Palm Springs, back home to the City by the Bay, then off to New York (where Method received an award at the Clinton Global Initiative). The next day he trekked to Las Vegas for meetings, followed by a brief stop at home to whisk his family off for vacation in Tinsley Island in California. "I've got major wanderlust," he says, understatedly. "It's great to scratch that itch through your work."
Last September, Method merged with Ecover, a Belgian-based company--a move that not only created the world's largest green cleaning company, but gave Ryan a good excuse to frequent Europe, primarily Antwerp, London and Amsterdam. "Despite all the technology, I'm still a big believer in the in-person meeting," he says. "When you're building a business, driving innovation and selling an idea, it's really about a transfer of emotion--and there's no substitute for doing that in person."
Some entrepreneurs use time in the air as a chance to unwind. Not Ryan. "I'm a grinder on flights, so I use them as my 36,000-foot office," he says. "I find myself really productive. Unless I have an urgent document, I never plug into the Wi-Fi. As a road warrior, you have to use that time to be productive. I would argue it's my most productive hours of the week. I won't get on a flight without a to-do list." As for his travel to-do list? "I want to go sailing in Tonga," Ryan says. "Yeah, that sounds good."
We recently caught up with Ryan, between flights, to take a peek inside his well-traveled carry-on.
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1. Tumi backpack
"It's got a great handle, so that you can carry it at your side for a more professional look walking into a meeting, or throw on your back when sprinting to catch the last flight home."
2. Beats by Dre Headphones
"Yup, I love bass."
3. Acme laptop cover
"Makes sliding my MacBook Air in and out super easy, and looks great when carrying it solo to a meeting."
4. Built electronics holder
"I love this neoprene holder that keeps all of my small electronics organized, from a camera to a jump drive."
5. Apple dongle
"Never leave home without it, because you never know when you might get the opportunity to deliver a keynote. Plus, it's fun to say ‘dongle.'"
6. Mophie battery
"I always keep this little guy charged to keep my iPhone powered during long days on the road."
7. The Athena Doctrine
"Recently published by a former co-worker, John Gerzma, on how a more nurturing female leadership style is becoming more effective over command and control."
8. Note cards
"I always keep a stack in my bag to jot down daily to-do lists or think through an idea. As a design-forward company, we have great stationery."
"I travel internationally frequently, so my passport is always nearby. I also carry my expired passport, which I keep in my suitcase. If my passport is ever lost, I can get back in [the U.S.] on the expired one."
10. Global entry card
"Nothing beats skipping the immigration line after a 12-hour flight home. This is TSA's trusted travel program, and if you submit an application and agree to an in-person interview, you'll be granted admission to the country with just your fingerprints."
11. Plastic folder
"I always carry a plastic folder to keep documents organized. I found this one in Tokyo and love the itchy aspirational copy."
12. Yes to Blueberry moisturizer
"A great all-natural moisturizer to help keep the long hours at 36,000 feet from drying your face."
13. Tiny deodorant
"My wife jokes that if awards were given for light packing, I would be a world champ. I nerd out on tiny toiletries and found this cute little deodorant at the Lancaster Hotel in Paris."
14. Kind Bar
"I always try to keep a couple bars in my bag for emergency moments."
15. Swedish Fish
"My go-to indulgence on long flights."
16. Random pony
"With three kids, seven and under, I regularly find a stowaway toy that made its way into my bag. A great reminder of why I can't wait to get home again."
17. Flash drive
"I always have several jump drives for quick document sharing. Of course, the Method-branded one is my favorite, in popsicle orange.