Solicited Review: TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

Disclosure: My friend and colleague, Erik Deckers, asked me if I would review the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2. I agreed; TravelPro sent me a review unit, but provided no other compensation.

Product Basics

The TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 is a 21-inch roller bag with four wheels on the bottom, the usual standard features including multiple pockets, a laptop compartment, and compression straps/pockets. Here’s how it looks compared to the Osprey Meridian:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

The laptop/electronics compartment:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

The compression straps:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

TravelPro claims that its magnetically aligned wheels make for the smoothest experience when moving the suitcase around. More on this in a minute.

The TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 is also an inch shorter than other 22” suitcases. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the days of cramped overhead compartments in airplanes. Diagonally, I can still fit a 21″ monopod inside it:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

Likes

By far, the most notable feature for me as a frequent traveler was not the magnetically aligned wheels, but the unit’s balance. This is by far the most easily balanced suitcase I have ever used. I mounted my briefcase (not included with suitcase) out of it and with one hand usually push the entire unit around:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

Even with a substantial amount of wiring and electronics, the unit remained balanced, never falling over. Open the briefcase and it still doesn’t fall over:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

If all you do is throw a suitcase in the trunk of a car and don’t walk more than a few feet with it, balance is largely meaningless. However, if you walk for any distance with the suitcase, the balance means that you’ll spend far less effort moving the suitcase from place to place. It’s nearly effortless to push around on hard floors, and the handle is shaped nicely for pushing, rather than pulling. I walked a couple of miles with this suitcase in recent trips to Montreal and Toronto, and felt the difference compared to lugging a suitcase behind me.

Areas for Improvement

TravelPro’s claims about its magnetic alignment being the smoothest experience only hold true on hard surfaces; when on a grooved or carpeted surface, the wheels are no better or worse than any other suitcase. A few times, it went in unpredictable directions on carpet, especially. The wheels also could be larger or shaped differently; rolling over gaps in pavement and sidewalks can sometimes snag a wheel and knock the whole thing over.

The other major area of improvement are the compression straps. They are useless if you have less than half a suitcase of clothing:

TravelPro Platinum Magna 2

TravelPro would do well to copy the compression straps in other popular brands of suitcases, allowing you to cinch down fully on any amount of clothing. An external compression strap would also be useful if the suitcase is not full; the laptop compartment even when empty makes it protrude more than other luggage I own.

A Buy for Frequent Walking Travelers

If you’re a business traveler who walks on hard surfaces – airports, convention centers, hotels, etc. – then the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 is a definite buy. Pushing this suitcase around feels effortless, and its balance means you can set up shop and work without removing your briefcase or satchel if it’s attached. You can purchase it at Amazon and other retailers. (affiliate link, of course)


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Social Media Marketing World Success Guide

Social Media Marketing World is one of the largest, if not the largest, social media marketing conferences in the world. Michael Stelzner and the crew at Social Media Examiner do an amazing job of putting on this mammoth show each year in San Diego. Getting the most out of the show requires a few simple steps in advance. For first-timers, I’ve got a few suggestions to enhance your SMMW experience.

1. Stay hydrated. You’re going to two deserts for the price of one: San Diego, which tends to be a hot, arid climate, and a convention center, which tends to run air conditioning and thus remove even more water from the air. Drink water copiously. As the US Army expression goes, if you don’t have to use the restroom frequently, you haven’t had enough water.

2. Bring COMFORTABLE SHOES. You will be walking a TON. See this lovely map below? That’s the San Diego Convention Center. End to end, it’s a third of a mile long. There’s a baseball field next to it for size comparison.

Tour_Guide_and_Google_Earth.jpg

3. Bring a portable power strip and power banks. Outlets aren’t always nearby and you will burn down your phone battery being social. I’m partial to the Anker 20,000 man power brick. It weighs as much as a small brick but will keep a tablet and phone charged up all day. I also carry a Monster travel 4-port power strip, which I love dearly. It’s a friend-maker – bring it out and make friends.

Also, don’t forget your device cables. Bring 2 of each.

4. Arrive with a BURNING question that you ask everyone you meet. What one question MUST you get answered in order for the conference to be worth it? If you don’t have a burning question, you’ll enjoy the show but you won’t get the most out of it.

5. Plan your sessions in advance. Got that burning question handy? You’ll find session planning on the official agenda much easier. Use the event planner to start and be sure to add key sessions to your calendar using the handy add to calendar feature.

Detailed_Agenda___Social_Media_Examiner.jpg

Planning on attending my session on data-driven customer journeys? Click here for calendar reminders for Google Calendar, iCal for Mac, and Outlook.

6. Party responsibly. If we speakers are doing our jobs right, your brains should really hurt by the end of the event. You want to get the most out of the event, so pace yourself. That business-changing insight you’ve got a burning question about may happen on the last day of the event, and you want to be sober enough and awake enough to catch it.

7. Bring earplugs. I always travel with ballistic earplugs. They’re great for reducing that screaming baby on the airplane to a dull roar, and priceless for major events like SMMW. Loud convention centers and concerts and parties are awesome… for a short while. Enough loud noise will fry you. Bring a bottle of earplugs and you will end up much less fatigued.

8. Bring business cards. Duh.

9. Bring space. As in, pack lightly so you have room for all the fun stuff the various exhibitors have to offer.

10. Bring a day pack/bag. There will be times you won’t want to lug around heavy luggage or a full laptop case. A small messenger bag will fit the bill perfectly. I’m personally a fan of the Osprey Nano, but any small bag or pack will do.

See you at Social Media Marketing World! Haven’t bought tickets? Get them here.

Disclosure: All links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links. I earn a small but non-zero fee if you buy something. The Social Media Marketing World link is also an affiliate link.


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Simple travel tip: USPS flat rate large box

When I travel on business, I occasionally do pick up things from my travels, such as interesting trade show giveaways, the random souvenir, client materials, etc. After a few trips, you learn to minimize what you pack and travel with. Going on the road is easy – you have total control over what you pack. Coming back after travel? You can get some interesting wildcards in your luggage.

Consider then, what it costs to bring some extra stuff back:

average_baggage_fees_-_Google_Search.png

Depending on what you’re carrying, the checked baggage fee may cost more than the items are worth.

For less stress, less heavy lifting, and less money, this has become my new best friend:

Priority_Mail_Large_Flat_Rate_Box.png

The USPS charges $18 for half a cubic foot of space. Granted, that’s not as large as a checked bag, but I don’t have to carry it with me. On my most recent business trip, I had a half cubic foot of extra stuff, and this did the trick. $18 later, my luggage was about 15 pounds lighter and I didn’t have to worry about fitting into an overhead compartment nearly as much. In fact, for future trips, I may be able to even ship basics and avoid the larger bag entirely.

Next time you’ve got some business travel and a little more cargo than you anticipated, don’t forget about the $18 box from the Post Office.

Disclosure: I was not compensated or asked to write about the Post Office’s large box.


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