Bag on wheels
I don’t understand why more people don’t go to conferences with a bag on wheels. I learned in 2000 that lugging a laptop in a shoulder bag around a busy conference for ten hours is extremely tiring. It was a Sony VAIO, weighing just over 1kg, so it wasn’t heavy itself. There’s also inevitable conference materials, t-shirt, cables, plug adaptors, maybe a sweater, external devices, reserve battery, notebook, spare business cards, stuff you don’t really want to leave in your hotel room (wallet, passport, keys), coins, phone(s), perhaps a novel, and all of a sudden you’ve got 6 kilos. Maybe more. I have a chronic back problem and I can’t deal with that much weight on one shoulder for a long time.
But with a wheeled bag you carry virtually zero weight. You don’t get tired. You have more capacity. You can carry a decent sized laptop. And if you want to buy a deeply discounted book (or 3) from the O’Reilly stand, you just do it.
I recently got a new wheeled bag. This is my first that allows you to rotate the handle. Instead of the handle being aligned perpendicular to your direction of travel, you can make it parallel. It’s surprising how much more comfortable this is. It follows the natural way your hand is aligned with your body, as though you were reaching out to shake someone’s hand. When you spend 10 hours a day at a conference, over 4 days, navigating airports, train stations and cavernous German convention halles, walking between hotel and conference or food, etc. etc., little things like that count.