12 Essential Road Warrior Hacks to Improve Life on the Go

Mobile Edge: Traveling for Work - 12 Tips for Life on the Go

Travelling for work—whether you’re employed by someone else or work for yourself—can be both exciting and stressful. The excitement comes from getting to see and experience new places. The stress comes from being on the road and away from family, friends, and home on a regular basis.

Finding ways to reduce that stress are critical for a road warrior’s enjoyment of his or her life on the go . . . and here are 12 life hacks designed to do just that:

1. Due diligence of the hotel/area you’re visiting. One of the first orders of business is to do due diligence of the area you’ll be visiting. This includes everything from where you’ll be meeting clients or customers, area hotels, nearby airports (if you’ll be flying), rental car options, and proximity to area dining and shopping. You’ll want to look into things such as internet connectivity, cell phone coverage (especially if travelling internationally), or whether your hotel offers laundry service (if you’re going to be staying a while), a microwave or fridge, and even a hair dryer. You’ll also want to check on the weather forecast for the area, or at least general climate data if it’s a region you’re not very familiar with. Is it hot or cold, rainy or dry?

2. Pack Wisely. Simply don’t bring what you don’t need. Your due diligence on an area will help inform what you’ll need to pack. If the weather promises to be hot, you can leave your jacket at home. If you’re in for a cold stretch, you probably don’t need to pack a week’s worth of shorts. Knowing what the hotel has to offer will help you determine what toiletries to bring, especially shampoo, conditioner, and hair dryer (and if you must bring a hair dryer, get a small, travel version). You’ll also want to consider whether you will be dining casually or formally (or both), how many pairs of shoes to bring, and how the amount of ”stuff” you bring gets impacted by checked baggage allowances/charges if you happen to be flying. Mobile Edge’s new Professional Backpack and Rolling Case combination provides a great option for packing your essential electronics and other personal items in one convenient mobile-friendly unit. And our SlipSuit Sleeves can lighten the load carrying your laptop to meetings.

3. Don’t leave home with a half-charged smartphone or tablet. Chances are you’ll regret it. You can avoid any such scenario by plugging in and charging your smartphone, tablet, laptop, portable chargers, digital cameras, etc. the day or night before you’re going to leave. Ensure easy retrieval and packing of your devices the day of your trip by designating an area of your home/office where you always charge them. You can also give yourself peace of mind with an immediate back-up battery power supply such as UrgentPower USB Battery Chargers.

4. Keep an eye on Prescription refills. Running out of prescription medicine while you’re away from home can be harrowing experience. Not only are you faced with missing doses of important medication, but the stresses of finding a pharmacy and coordinating refills with your doctor’s office can be significant. Always check your prescription bottles before and after every trip.

5. Do Your Banking online. There’s nothing more hassling than trying to remember when a bill is due and coordinating its payment with your travel schedule. Calendar when your routine bills are due, and to the extent possible register with various vendors, suppliers, utilities, and service providers to pay your bills online any time of day, no matter where you are (all you need is an Internet connection). Also keep in mind that most banks and credit unions allow you to make electronic deposits of check payments with your smartphone or tablet—which is extremely helpful for payments you may receive while on the road.

6. Managing your USPS mail. If you’re going to be away for two weeks or more at a single address for the duration of your stay, consider forwarding your mail to this location so you don’t miss important bills, payments, or communications. If you’re going to be away for shorter periods, have a friend or family member check on your mail every few days so he/she can flag anything urgent.

7. Bring a cash stash. Most of us like to use plastic on the road. It’s less bulky and, let’s face it, easier to swipe a card than to count out bills. But what happens if your card gets declined or there’s a glitch? Stash some cash in your wallet, purse, or travel bag as a contingency for those times plastic just won’t cut it . . . and be sure to include some small bills to tip sky cabs, hotel clerks, and housekeeping staff. For the security of your non-cash (i.e. credit and debit cards) invest in an RFID wallet, such as the Sentry Credit Card and Sentry Passport Wallets.

8. Bring copies of important documents/ID cards such as your health insurance card, AAA membership, and proof of automobile insurance if you plan to rent a car. While you hope to not need these cards while travelling, you just never know when you might need them.

9. Keep Track of those receipts. Chances are a good portion of your expenses while on the road are either reimbursable by your employer or tax deductible. If so, keeping track of receipts so you don’t miss anything is a vital skill. When possible, ask hotels to provide you with electronic receipts. That way you’ll have the necessary documentation emailed to you upon departure. If electronic receipts aren’t possible, designate a folder or pocket in your carry-on or laptop case for storing and organizing all trip receipts so you can retrieve them when you need to.

10. Bring some form of entertainment to pass the time on a plane, in an airport, or in the hotel room after a long day on the road. Smartphones and tablets routinely give you access to your music library, and you can watch movies and videos—and even log in to your Netflix account while you’re on the go.

11. Limit restaurant dining if/when you can. Most hotels offer rooms with refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers, which means you can escape the never-ending parade of cafes, diners, and restaurants. Sure, it’s fun to eat out once and a while, but any road warrior will tell you that restaurant fatigue is real. Stop by a local market or Trader Joes or Whole Foods and get some good eats for your hotel room, including bottled water, juice, and various healthy snacks. Your palette, stomach, and waistline will appreciate it.

12. Maintain normal routines. If you work out at home, work out on the road. If you go to bed and rise at certain hours each day, do the same when you’re on the go. If you eat and snack healthy at home, there’s no reason to switch things up when you’re away.

What tips do you have for your road warrior brethren? What lessons learned have you discovered through your own experiences? Share them here.

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. We are known for our innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction

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Mobile Office Musts

Mobile Office Must - TipsSo you’re headed on a business trip in a few days. Whether it’s a one-day car ride halfway across the state, or a three-day junket cross-country by plane, you’re probably giving some thought right now to getting your mobile office organized.

What should you bring? What’s a must have versus a nice to have (after all, there’s only so much you can squeeze into your business briefcase)? What can’t you do without, and what can you leave behind?

If you’re a mobile office veteran, chances are you’ve become quite good at knowing what to bring based on where you’re going and who you’re meeting with. Then again, reminders never hurt. Here’s my Top Ten list of “Mobile Office Musts”—those things you absolutely, positively, don’t want to be without:

1. Your laptop or tablet. This item should be self-evident. Without a laptop or tablet, you’re not going to be very productive now, are you? If you use a desktop in the office, be sure to sync files, especially if you’re going to need to access them while offline (such as in an airplane).

2. Wireless mouse/keypad. I don’t know many people who actually like their laptop track pad, except in those instances where they can’t use a regular mouse. If you haven’t already, invest in a wireless mouse for an instant productivity bounce. Better yet, invest in a wireless keyboard. You’ll appreciate the feel of a real keyboard vs your laptop’s keyboard.

3. Chargers/Cords for your Laptop, Tablet, Smartphone. Don’t commit the ultimate mobile office faux pas and leave your laptop power cord behind. Your batteries will only last so long. The same goes for your tablet, smartphone, and other accessories. It’s lots of cords, but you’d be nowhere fast without them.

4. Headphones. The advantages to bringing headphones are two-fold. Playing tunes or watching an in-flight program is a great way to pass time in the air. Earbuds with a built-in mic are a great for taking calls on your smartphone without having to deal with annoying background noise.

5. USB Drive. If you don’t have cloud storage (such as Google Drive, iDrive, and Dropbox) or a backup service such as carbonite, you should. If you don’t or aren’t able to get online, back up essential data and make it portable by using a USB flash drive. Many affordable models make 128GB of storage instantly available. All you need is a USB drive on your laptop.

6. Power inverter. This handy device is a necessity for long road trips when you won’t be able to get to an AC power supply conveniently. Power inverters come in many shapes, sizes, and voltages, but their main purpose is evident—to turn your car’s 12V DC supply into household current so you can plug your laptop charging cord in and other similar devices.

7. Portable Backup Charger. When you’re on the go and beyond the reach of the electrical grid, a backup charger is a necessity for keeping your smartphone or tablet powered up and connected. Countless models abound to meet various needs, price points, and devices.

8. Ethernet Cable. Wi-Fi may be ubiquitous, but sometimes the unthinkable happens—you can’t find a Wi-Fi signal, your wireless adapter fails, or you simply need to plug-in to get a better connection. A 3- or 6-foot Ethernet cable can be just the peace of mind you need.

9. Periphery devices. Need to print documents while you’re on the go, but toting your Officejet is out of the question? There are many mobile printers available that can go on the road with you when you do. Ditto for portable scanners, especially if you need to scan receipts for expense reports or other documents on-the-fly.

10. Pens, paper, and files. We haven’t gone 100% digital yet. It’s always a good idea to have some of the “old fashioned” tools of the trade on hand such as pens, a writing tablet (I prefer the bright yellow, 8-1/2 x 11 writing tablets myself—they’re hard to miss!), and even some paper files and folders that you might need for your trip. Often, I’ll print out important items such as contact information, reservations, directions, etc., and bring them along with me just in case I can’t access them on my phone, tablet, or laptop when I need them.

Last but certainly not least, you need a way to organize your mobile office so that everything you need has a place and is accessible when you need it. Products such as Mobile Edge’s Razer Tactical Bags, SmartPack Backpacks, or our business professionals collection offer durability, style, and optimal storage for a wide range of devices and user needs.

What indispensable items do you include in your mobile office? Share your ideas with your fellow business travelers.

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. We are known for our innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.

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8 Ways to Survive the Airport Gauntlet

A trip to the airport...

A trip to the airport has never been on my top ten list of favorite things to do. Sure, you’re probably off to some exotic location or family-friendly venue for vacation, or you’re heading out to make the business deal of a lifetime—all good things. But getting to and through the airport with your sanity and your baggage intact can often times be quite a chore.

Here are a few tips for both travel veterans and newbies alike:

1. Give yourself plenty of time. The days of rushing the gate with 15 minutes to spare before boarding your flight are gone. Increased security, screening checkpoints, and the mere “process” of checking bags, getting boarding passes, and moving through an airport require extra time. How much is enough? Most advise arriving two hours before your flight. In some airports, that can be too much time, in others, not enough. Get to know the airport you’re about to depart from by checking out traveler reviews for a sense of how quickly or slowly a particular airport handles passengers.

2. If you travel more than once in a great while, enroll in a frequent flyer or rewards program. You’ll earn benefits that can lead to free flights for you or a loved one down the road, as well as little extras such as free drink coupons, free checked bags, etc., that can take a lot of the headache and hassle out of air travel. Consider enrolling in rewards programs for two different airlines to ensure you have rewards options with carriers for those hard to get to places.

3. Plan ahead. Does the airport offer curbside check-in of bags? If so, you might save yourself valuable minutes and frustration by dropping your bags with a skycap. Travelling heavy? Weight your bag (or bags) at home. Most airlines have a 50-pound limit. While some might fudge that limit a little bit, don’t count on it. It’s no fun to re-pack your bags under the watchful eyes of disgruntled fellow passengers awaiting their turn. And by all means, print your boarding passes before you get to the airport. Many hotels offer this as a free courtesy, or you can print at home. Better yet, save some paper by using the airline’s app on your smart phone to display your boarding pass.

4. To TSA or not TSA? Ever wonder what it feels like to be one of those people that get to cut way ahead in line at the security checkpoint? It’s not such a crazy notion. For less than $100 for a five-year period, you can get TSA pre-checked (provided, of course, you pass the security screening). Even if you fly just 3 or 4 times a year, it’s probably worth it if you value your time and your blood pressure. Most major airports have TSA offices in them, and the interview is relatively painless. Often, you get your TSA credentials within a week or so of the interview.

5. Be ready. Don’t be one of those people that slows the whole security line down because you’re not ready. You will have to show your license and your boarding pass. Have them out and ready, not stored in some rabbit-hole of a pocket in your carry-on. Don’t wear shoes that require 5 minutes to lace off and lace back on. If you’re not TSA pre-checked, you will have to remove them! Ditto for belts and jackets. Go light or don’t wear a belt or jacket at all. Have your 3 ounces or less of liquids easily accessible (i.e. a Ziploc!) so the screeners can inspect them as needed, and by all means don’t forget to remove your laptop from its bag. One way you can help ease your time through security is with Mobile Edge’s ScanFast™ Collection of checkpoint friendly laptop cases, designed especially to speed you through airport security checkpoints.

6. Don’t wait until the last minute to find your gate. First, determine which gate you’re departing from. Second, make sure that gate isn’t on the other side of the airport or in a different terminal altogether. Some airports are big—small city big—so moving from Gate A-5 to Gate C-22 might not be the leisurely 5 minute walk you’re expecting. It’s always a good rule of thumb to locate your gate and then look for dining and drink opportunities around your gate area as time allows. One way to make your way through the airport with ease and in style is with Mobile Edge’s new Professional Rolling Laptop Case and matching Professional Backpack, each of which was designed for busy travelers, corporate road warriors, and people on-the-go.

7. Board as directed, quickly, and orderly. Don’t try to cut the line, even if you have a seat assignment. You’ll not only anger fellow passengers, but you’ll likely slow down the boarding process. Believe it or not, most airlines do have a method to their madness! Once you’re on board, find an overhead bin before your seat or above it to stow your carry on—not after it. Don’t be frantic and rush, but also know that there are dozens of others who want to get on board, too. If you can, tote your carry-on down the aisle in front of you rather than wheeling it. Also, for your allowed “personal item,” truly have a bag that fits under the seat in front of you. And if you plan to listen to music or use your tablet or smartphone in-flight, have headphones out and place them in the back pocket of the seat in front of you to avoid wasted time searching for stuff in flight and disturbing others.

8. Overcome pre-boarding anxiety. Take the time to get an adult beverage (if so inclined), coffee, or some other drink, plus a snack or light meal before boarding. Getting some nosh and a drink with your carry-on in tow is a great way to settle down the pre-flight jitters and fill your belly and your mind with thoughts other than the flight ahead. Besides, airline food and snacks aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Peanuts, pretzels, anyone? And by all means, go to the bathroom before you board. You don’t want to suffer the misfortune of getting stuck in a ground delay while your bladder is bursting at the seams!

What tips do you have for your fellow travelers? How have you been able to make it through the Airport gauntlet? Share your experiences here.

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. We are known for our innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.

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Budget and Time-Friendly Tips for Enjoying Your Labor Day Weekend

Budget and Time-Friendly Tips for Enjoying Your Labor Day

Enjoy Your Labor Day!

It may be called “Labor Day,” a day to celebrate American workers and their achievements, but for many the holiday has come to be tantamount to summer’s last hurrah—one last break before regular work and school schedules resume.

What are you doing this year to celebrate Labor Day?

Here are a half-dozen ways to make the most out of summer’s last official holiday without busting your budget or wasting precious time:

1. Take a quick trip to get away overnight or for the weekend. This is a great way to put an extra charge into your mental batteries before a return to school or work. Go with a friend, spouse, or partner. Or if you prefer travelling solo, go it alone. And try to keep your travel time one way under three hours either by plane or car. You don’t want to end up spending an entire day travelling to and fro. Think: cabin on the beach; a fancy suite in a nearby major city, close to restaurants, watering holes, and activities galore; or crashing with a good friend in a neighboring state for the weekend.

2. Family outings and BBQs are almost as synonymous with Labor Day as they are with the Fourth of July. What better way to spend one last long weekend than with family and friends at an outing at your place or theirs? Get some steaks, salads, pasta, adult beverages, and soda pop and you’ve got a party in the making. And if BBQs aren’t your style or preference, pile the family and friends in a few cars and trek to the beach, amusement park, or some other family friendly venue to celebrate the “summer that was.”

3. Go to a movie (or two) with your besties. There must be at least one or two summer blockbusters you missed. Make an event out of catching up on one or more flicks you meant to get to but never did. Grab a matinee, get dinner, and then cap it off with an evening show. You could even have a sleep-in movie marathon at home. Start by making some popcorn and then queuing up parts 1, 2, and 3 of your favorite movie franchise on DVD or stream it to your Smart TV.

4. Take a hike—literally. Many active individuals and families seem to always have plans to go hiking in the summer, but weather, high temps, and busy vacation schedules get in the way. For most, the long Labor Day weekend means cooler temperatures and less hectic schedules, which is a perfect recipe for finally taking that hike (or hikes) to the nearby mountains, valleys, or the desert.

5. Labor Day doesn’t have to be all play; you can do some work at home, too, and feel good about it. Three days might be just what the DIY repairman ordered for you to finally wrap up that summer yard work, repaint the living room, clean out the garage, or complete some other household project that’s been nagging at you.

6. Last, but not least, enjoy a staycation at home. When is the last time you woke up in your own bed with no schedule and no lengthy to-do list? It’s probably been a while. Staycations help you avoid crowds, traffic, and the stresses and expense of travelling to “get away from it all.” Of course, if you’re the type who needs to get away from home to truly disconnect, then a staycation might not be for you. However, if you can unwind at home and bask in familiar, comfortable surroundings without feeling compelled to do anything too strenuous, then a staycation might be just what you need to put your mind and body at ease this Labor Day weekend.

How do you celebrate Labor Day? What ideas do you have for busy individuals, families, and students looking for a little late summer relaxation?

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. Mobile Edge is known for its innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.

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Going Back to School? Check out These College Student Tech Essentials

Going Back to School?

The days of a college student’s back-to-school toolkit including only pens, pencils, and three-ring notebooks are long gone. Nowadays going back-to-school is a little more high tech. Today’s tools of the trade include ways to get you connected and keep you connected, productive, and entertained.

Here are some obvious and not-so-obvious tech items and accessories essential to a successful return to school:

1. Laptop or Netbook: Chances are long before you head back to school, you’ve equipped yourself with a portable computer, either in the form of a laptop or netbook. While you may be more comfortable with either a PC or Mac platform depending on what you’ve been using for the years leading up to this point, you’ll want to check with your professors/class syllabus to see what platform is preferred or required. You may find that some classes require certain hardware/software platforms. Common devices you’ll see in the hands of students these days include the MacBook Air (especially the 11-inch, 128mb model) and the PC-based Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 models, which can function as both a laptop and tablet. Slim, and lightweight, many of these newer “mini” laptops have as much firepower as the larger laptops of yesteryear with the added convenience of extreme portability, which is ideal for classroom use and college life.

2. Online Backup/Storage: Every student needs peace of mind that their valuable digital files are safe and secure even if their hardware goes missing, gets damaged, or breaks down. Services such as Google Drive, iDrive, and Dropbox offer varying levels of storage and backup, from 5GB to 15GB of free storage to monthly subscriptions of around $10 for 1TB of storage.

3. USB Flash Drives: Another way to back up essential data and make it more portable is to use a USB flash drive. Many affordable models make 128GB of storage instantly available. All you need is a USB drive on your laptop.

4. Power Strips/Cords: You can never have enough cords and connections. Of course, you don’t want to turn your dorm room or apartment into a scene from A Christmas Story (fans of this well-loved 1980s film will know what I mean), but a few cords and power strips will go a long way to make your plugging in more convenient. Better yet, many of today’s power strips have built-in USB chargers, including some that are Lightning certified so they will charge your Apple devices.

5. Portable Backup Charger: When you’re on the go and beyond the reach of the electrical grid, a backup charger is a necessity for keeping your smartphone or tablet powered up and connected. Countless models abound to meet various needs, price points, and devices.

6. Portable Speakers: Listen to your music in a small space with a big speaker sound. Connect your phone, tablet, or mp3 player to a portable Bluetooth speaker to listen to music from your library or a streaming service such as Spotify or Pandora.

7. Noise Canceling Headphones: If there’s a loud party next door or your roommate insists on talking incessantly or playing his or her music loud enough for all to hear, now you can study in silence or enjoy your own music all by your lonesome with noise cancelling headphones.

8. Chargers: There’s a not-so-old saying, “You can never have too many chargers.” There’s no worse feeling than needing to power up and not being able to find the charger for your smartphone or tablet. At a minimum, you’ll want a wall unit charger as well as one that can plug into a 12-volt supply—and don’t forget to check that any chargers are approved for your device. Better yet, check out the latest “wireless” chargers which let you plop your phone onto a pad for overnight charging.

9. Amazon Prime: Need something and need it fast? Amazon Prime is a great gift for college students. Not only do they get free, two-day shipping on most items purchased through Amazon, they also get access to Amazon’s music library, streaming movies, and TV shows.

Of course, all these devices, accessories, and gadgets need a convenient place to “live” and be available when needed and where needed. Mobile Edge offers a wide range of stylish and student-friendly laptop sleeves, messenger bags, and backpacks to help students get organized, stay organized, and keep their gear safe.

Do you have other tech necessity recommendations for today’s college students? Share them here.

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. Mobile Edge is known for its innovative and stylish designs, superior, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.

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5 Life Hacks to Balance College Academics and Play

5 Life Hacks to Balance College Academics and Play

Articles abound about the importance of work-life balance for adults—but what about college-age young adults? Does the fun end when the school bell rings? Are they doomed to a four years of all school work and no play?

According to Forbes.com, “Knowing what drives you, inspires you and fulfills you . . .  and figuring out how to balance this with the need to keep a roof over your head is what a happy life looks like . . . and often that learning comes from peer interaction, not (college) lectures.” The same article cites author William Deresiewicz who, in his book Excellent Sheep, argues, “an undergraduate experience devoted exclusively to career preparation is four years largely wasted.”

Of course, college students shouldn’t ditch their studies and strong work ethic quite yet. Read the fine print above again. The key is learning “how to balance this with the need to keep a roof over your head.” You can’t be all play and no work, either. Like anything in life, balance is the key.

Here are five life hacks designed to help you balance your academic work and your social activities:

1. Being organized is critical. At work and at play, knowing where you’re supposed to be, when, and with whom is vital to not missing assignments or missing out on any of the fun. Being late, missing critical steps, or forgetting to return emails, phone calls, or texts, is a colossal waste of time—for you, your friends, and your instructors. With today’s smartphones and tablets, there is no excuse for not having your schedule at your fingertips wherever and whenever you need it. Check out Tom’s Guide to the best calendar apps for iOS and Android.

2. Get plenty of rest. Whether your day ahead is earmarked for work or play, you need plenty of rest to get the most out of whatever you do. Remind yourself, “Staying up late may be fun, but it doesn’t add to the time I have for fun or to be productive if I simply sleep most of the next day away.” The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per 24-hour period for young adults, aged 18-25. How does that compare to the four hours you got after cramming all night for an exam, or after you stayed up to the wee hours at your friend’s party? Interestingly, NPR recently reported that a study of the sleep habits of tens of thousands of students, ages 18-22, found that college students average between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night, which appears on track with the recommended amount. Of course, that’s an average—meaning there are many that sleep much less and many that sleep much more than that. Plus, keep in mind the quality of sleep matters, too: alcohol and caffeine intake can greatly affect how well rested you really are.

3. Make a list and write it down (or type it). Making a list is more than just a way to compensate for a shoddy memory. According to Fast Company, “Lists gel well with the brain’s cognitive penchant for categorization. They minimize choice and make it easy to process data.” This is sage advice for busy students trying to juggle academics, social activities, and work responsibilities. Making a list helps us wrap our minds around those things we need to get done that, when conceptualized in the mind, might seem ominous and overwhelming. Seeing items on paper (or computer screen) not only helps us make sense of the jumble, but allows us to see how completing one task can lead to the next, and so on—bringing much-needed order to our chaos. Plus, writing things down can help encode that information in our memories, improving recall.

4. Eat well, stay well. Adequate sleep is necessary for good health, but so are good nutrition and seeking medical care when you need it. Most school meal plans offer plenty of health choices and on-campus options—and there’s always the local grocer to keep your refrigerator stocked. If money’s an issue, pool resources with your roommates or classmates to make sure you have healthy choices (fruits, veggies) available to offset the inevitable fried foods, processed foods, and sweets that make up a good portion of the typical college diet. Check out this Buzz Feed article for tips and ideas. On the topic of staying well, chances are college students are still covered by their parents’ health plans—even away from home. In addition, most colleges have on-site student health centers that can help you get over that bad head cold, intestinal distress, or other minor ailment, or steer you in the right direction locally.

5. Keep you dorm room/apartment clean. This is not the part where we begin to nag about picking up after yourself (your parents have probably done enough of that already). This is where we discuss how important a clean room is to feeling good about yourself, doing good work, and being comfortable enough with your environment to invite friends over to study or socialize. Mom and Dad didn’t nag just to cause you distress. They were on to something. Check out this article from Shape on “How Cleaning and Organizing Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Health.”

As the parent of a college age student, or a student yourself, what life hacks do you have to share? What has worked to help you achieve balance between your school commitments and social activities?

Share them here.

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. Mobile Edge is known for its innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.

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7 Ways to Ease Your Back-to-School Blues

7 Ways to Ease Your Back-to-School Blues

When I was a kid, on the first day after school would let out each year, the summer ahead seemed endless. Ten weeks, give-or-take, felt like a lifetime. I was determined to sleep late, watch lots of TV, stay up late, and hang with my friends at the beach or the movies or the local haunt. And if I was lucky, I might even get a part-time job to earn some spending money.

Of course, summer vacation never lasted forever. Alas, those interminable weeks came and went way too fast. Soon those dreaded back-to-school sales would arrive—a harbinger of things to come and the trigger for my annual case of back-to-school blues. Family vacations were winding up, the days were getting shorter, and both parents and school-aged children were shifting the focus from being out of school to getting ready for it again.

At home, we’d begin to change our routines to better match the school clock and calendar. While I was never a big fan of getting aboard the “back-to-school” train a few weeks early, I now recognize how settling back into our school-centric routines before we really had to made the transition so much easier.

1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise. Regardless of your child’s age (or your age, as a parent, for that matter), sleep is a requisite. Establish regular bedtimes and wake-up times to allow plenty of time for rest as well as plenty of time to get ready in the morning without having to make a mad dash for the door and the bus (and remember, what’s good for the kids is also good for Mom and Dad)!

2. Plan Healthy Meals and Snacks for Home and School. Eating well doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and preparation, two things that often fall by the wayside when families get busy and stressed. Take the time to plan daily breakfasts, lunches, dinners, as well as healthy snacks for in-between. Well-fueled bodies lead to well-fueled brains . . . plus you and your kids will feel more energized and get to enjoy time together preparing and eating meals.

3. Gear Up. From clothing to school-related supplies, August is usually the time most kids gear-up for the start of school. You’ll surely find no lack of back-to-school sales at all your local merchants or online. Talk to other students, teachers, and parents to find out what other kids are getting for school supplies, including what might be needed/required. The more you can do ahead of time, the less stressful those first few days at school will be for kids and parents alike.

4. Maintain a Family Schedule. Knowing who’s where and when is critical to lowering stress levels during the school year, especially when kids are involved in multiple activities and Mom and Dad are busy with work or activities of their own (yes, parents get to have lives too!). Keep an online calendar (such as Google calendar) or use a dry erase board that everyone in the family can access—and if you rely on extended family (grandparents and aunts) or friends/neighbors, be sure to include them in your scheduling as well.

5. Dedicate an Area for Studying. This could be a family room or even a student’s bedroom, provided it’s distraction fee (aka no TV and no social media) or can be made so for study times. This dedicated area is where all things related to school should come home to roost—books, backpacks, school papers, laptops, etc.—so a corner of the kitchen table or edge of the bed just won’t do. This needs to be a dedicated spot that is organized and accessible, without a lot of fuss.

6. Be Planful. With in-school and after school activities galore, the life of a student can descend into chaos quite quickly. In addition to the previously mentioned family calendar and dedicated at-home study area, students need to have some form of daily planner they can use to keep track of assignments and where they need to be. While many students will opt to use electronic organizers for their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, others will choose to rely on teacher websites to track assignments and coursework. A word of caution about teacher websites, they rarely reflect real-time changes to schedules and assignments that may occur in class, so are not always reliable for planning. For many, the best solution is an old-fashioned printed/physical daily or weekly planner, available at most back-to-school retailers.

7. Get Organized. One of the biggest impediments to academic success is lack of organization, especially with student books, papers, assignments, and electronic devices: where to store them, how to transport them, how to keep them safe, and how to access them when you need them? Mobile Edge offers a wide range of stylish and student-friendly laptop sleeves, messenger bags, and backpacks to help students get organized, stay organized, and keep their gear safe.

The end of summer vacation time can be a stressful time for kids and Moms and Dads alike. It’s time to get back to school, back to work, and back to those good old habits (and some new ones) that make life easier. Take the time now, over the next few weeks, to ease back into those old routines. You, your family, and your grades will be glad you did!

What tips or suggestions do you have for back to school time? Share them here.

Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. Mobile Edge is known for its innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.

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Eight Dos and Don’ts to Smooth Your Return to College

Return to CollegeThe annual migration is about to begin. No, it’s not the wildebeests making their way through East Africa. It’s the annual return to school for America’s college students. The highways and byways will soon be clogged with overstuffed, underpowered cars and trucks as the nation’s youth make their way back to classes and classmates.

Here’s a helpful list of “DOs and DON’Ts to make the transition back as smooth as possible:

DO look forward to the return to school and the possibility it represents. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your future. Embrace the return to school as one of many stepping stones along your path to success.
DON’T lament the passing of summer and dread the return of classes. Negative thinking derails productivity and achievement. Acknowledge that summer has come and gone . . . and then get on with your studies.

DO re-connect with old friends and make new ones. Attend a party (or two). With today’s technology, staying in touch over the summer and re-engaging when classes resume should be easier than ever.
DON’T make the first week or so of classes a socializing-only affair. While it’s OK to attend a party or two, don’t fall behind from the outset by having a little too much fun and blowing off the important early days of classes and relationship building with your professors.

DO bring some comfort items from home: your favorite sweater, robe, and slippers; a book (yes they still make those), DVDs, video games and consoles; pictures of your family and friends. You get the idea. Familiar items can often make the transition to new or unfamiliar surroundings a little easier.
DON’T try to re-create your entire home life at school. First of all, your dorm room/apartment and the small piece of it that is yours to occupy isn’t likely to afford the space you need (at least not without annoying your roommates). Secondly, college life is about the new and undiscovered, and about leaving your childhood behind.

DO explore campus clubs and activities, such as gaming and social clubs . . . and participate. It’s a great way to get to know others, share experiences, discuss classes and professors, and work through any homesick blues you may be feeling.
DON’T stay sequestered in your room 24×7, venturing out just for classes and feedings. It’s tempting these days when you can connect online for all things ranging from social interaction to gaming, but don’t lose sight of the need for people time.

DO get to know your teachers. In the vast majority of cases, they are your best allies and advocates. They want you to succeed. Find out from them what it takes to do well in their classes . . . and then do it.
DON’T be determined to do it your way in class. College instructors generally have very specific expectations concerning class participation, teamwork, homework, and test performance. No one likes being a conformist, and part of being young is wanting/needing to rebel, but part of college is learning to collaborate with others, follow directions, and meet the expectations of others—just as it will be when you get your first “real” job post-graduation.

DO study when you need to and get your homework done on time, every time. It’s hard to catch back up once you fall behind.
DON’T assume that your study and work habits from high school will carry you through college just fine. Most likely, you will need to study harder and longer for tests to do well, and you will have to put in long hours at your PC or in a lab outside of class to get your work done satisfactorily.

DO attend your classes, lectures, and labs. Grades for a great deal of most college classes factor in class attendance and participation.
DON’T think you can get your work done and pass tests without showing up for classes and still get good grades. College instructors know who’s there and who isn’t, but unlike K-12 teachers, they aren’t babysitters. You are responsible for your own attendance.

DO have fun, responsibly. College can be both an exciting and rewarding experience. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be looked back fondly upon in later years. Friendships, romances, parties, new learning and new experiences—it’s all part of college and it relies on you making the most of it.
DON’T forget your personal safety net. As a young adult, away from home for the first time, you will need to make decisions for yourself about classes, relationships, and even things as mundane as what groceries to buy or meals to make or eat. You’ll have bills to pay, assignments to complete, grades to watch, social commitments to keep, and quite possibly a part-time job on the side. If it all gets a bit overwhelming, don’t forget Mom and Dad, Gram and Gramps, lifelong friends, and all the other people who’ve mentored you through life and have always been there for you. There still there. Don’t forget to reach out to them when you need to, but remember that, ultimately, the choices and decisions you make, and the results you get, are yours.

Carpe diem!

Go Back to School Organized and in Style: Don’t leave home without ensuring that all of your electronics are protected and easily accessible. From laptops, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, games, and charging cords and accessories, Mobile Edge makes it easy tote your gear in bags that are durable, versatile, and stylish. Check out our Mobile Edge backpacks, laptop sleeves, messenger bags, and more, geared especially to students.

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Mobile Edge – Bags for Every Occasion, Style and Personality. Where Do You Bring It?

Carrying Cases for Every Occasion - Mobile EdgeTravelling overseas or just two States over? There’s much more to Mobile Edge laptop bags and backpacks than first meets the eye. Sure, protection and portability for your mobile electronics and various devices are a given, but what else can you—should you—expect?

Always stylish and forever functional, Mobile Edge makes bags for a wide range of people, personalities, and purposes. We invite you to meet some of our typical customers below, learn how our products support their mobile lifestyles, and then join our growing legion of customers and fans. Bring it on!

  • Meet Roger. He’s 24 and on a flight to the Sabakon gaming/pop culture convention in Las Vegas. It’s his first time, so he’s checked and double-checked various online forums and recommendations from friends who’ve been to the venue before. Their advice: if you can’t take it with you—if it won’t fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you—you don’t need it. Overhead, in the carry-on his Mom loaned him, he’s packed a few changes of clothes, his toothbrush, and some toiletries. But under the seat in front of him, is his Alienware 17” Vindicator Backpack. It’s full of the important stuff— his hardware and games, plus some bottled water, snacks, his convention schedule and tickets, a stash of extra cash, and directions to the hotel where he’s meeting up with his buddies later tonight.
  • Meet Tilda. She’s flying cross country on business to pitch for a prospective new client. Her presentation’s been done for a week now, but she can’t help but think she should make use of the 5-plus hours of in flight time, prepping and practicing. She wants to make sure her slides are in sync with her printed materials, and that she comes across as knowledgeable and confident. She’s had her Mobile Edge Green Suede ScanFast Element Checkpoint Friendly Briefcase for 6 months now, and she doesn’t know how she was able to make her on the road/in the air time productive without it. Not only was she able to pass through airport security easily with it, everything she needs to practice and deliver her presentation is safe and sound and easy-to-access in-flight. Better yet, the big guy next to her has dozed off, so she can run through her slides on her laptop knowing she won’t have him looking over her shoulder.
  • Meet Dwayne. He’s zooming down the Interstate at a steady 65 mph. To anyone passing him, he must look quite the sight. His Ford Focus is overstuffed with clothes and supplies for his return to college, his roommates, and his crowded apartment. On the seat next to him, is his school companion of the last two years. No, it’s not his girlfriend (she’s not due to arrive at school for another few days). It’s his Mobile Edge Eco-Friendly Canvas Backpack. Made of all-natural cotton canvas, it not only protects his mobile devices and electronics from the bumps and bruises of the road, while also providing storage for files, folders, books, and accessories, but it’s also stylish and features a minimal carbon footprint.
  • Meet Grace. She runs her own real estate business. She’s always on the go and needs her office to be as mobile as he is—have laptop, will travel! She also needs to look the part. Mobile Edge’s Verona Laptop Tote offers everything she needs: professional styling with a durable Vegan-leather exterior, padded poly-fur lined pockets for both her laptop and tablet, multiple pockets for securing personal items and accessories, top zipper storage sections, a matching accessory clutch, and a lifetime warranty.

You’d Look Good in a Mobile Edge

As a traveler, gamer, student, business professional, or all of the above, imagine what sporting a Mobile Edge laptop bag or backpack could do for you. Durable, versatile, and stylish, they get the job done  . . . and then some for a wide range of devices, ranging from tablets to laptops to gaming consoles, accessories, and more.

We have a bag for you. For information on the type of bag that’s best suited to your needs, visit the User Personalities section of our website for guidance.

Tell Us Where Do You Bring It

Where have your mobile adventures brought you and your Mobile Edge Bag? The more unusual and adventurous the better . . . and, who knows, we just might feature your story in a future blog.

Stay on Edge

Visit Mobile Edge’s Facebook page to learn about our FREQ Mad Catz Wireless Headset giveaway ($199 suggested retail price). Just enter your first and last name and email address to enter, and don’t forget to like/follow us for more giveaways!

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Gear Up and Get Your Nerd On at San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Gear Up for San Diego Comic-ConIt’s been called the “cradle of nerd civilization” and “one of the most feverishly anticipated pop-cultural events of the year” (Rolling Stone). Its 4-days have been called crazy, insane . . . and an unmissable “circus.” I’m talking about San Diego’s Comic-Con of course, now in its 47th year.

Will you be one of the more than 130,000 attendees braving the lines to get your nerd on this July 21 to 24 at the San Diego Convention Center?

MORE THAN COMICS

Over the years, Comic-Con has grown to become much more than just another comic book convention. It’s the gathering place for anything and everything related to comics, film, gaming, TV, and pop culture.

You’ll find “A” through “D” list celebrities there on panels and in the crowds, find exclusive and collectible merchandise, try out new games, view new movie trailers and TV pilots, and get to mingle with like-minded enthusiasts and cosplayers (many of whom attend in costume).

Not all the excitement will be at the Convention Center. Much of downtown San Diego gets involved in the extravaganza as well, including hotels, parks, restaurants, and many others. Numerous events such as games, anime, the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival and the Eisner Awards all take place outside the Convention Center.

FAMILY FRIENDLY

Comic-Con is family friendly, targeting children from ages 2 to 100! Autographs and fan interaction are commonplace. It’s safe to say, if you’re into it, you can find it at Comic-Con.

  • Younger kids can catch the latest on their favorite TV shows, movies, games, and comics, as well as celebrity and character panels and events (especially on Sunday).
  • While older kids will relish what’s new, as well as appearances by their favorite talents from yesteryear and other nostalgic fare.

GEAR UP

Let’s face it. You’ve made the effort to get to Comic-Con, ponied up for the tickets, got your visitor’s badge, and you’re eager to get going. Now is NOT the time to fall short on gear for the event that will help make the most of the experience for you and your family.

As a Comic-Con attendee, you’re encouraged to bring snacks, water, portable electronics, and anything else you need to make the most of your time there. Plus, you’ll need something to tote home all the free loot and paid merchandize you’re bound to pick up along the way.

The good news is that backpacks and other carrying bags are allowed at Comic-Con, subject to search of course for security reasons (rolling luggage is not allowed, presumably to save wear and tear on the toes of your fellow patrons).

The even better news is that with Mobile Edge backpacks for men and women, you can take it with you! Mobile Edge’s men’s bags and women’s bags are the perfect carry-all solution to complement your Comic-Con adventure. They offer style, storage, and safety for your valuable gear and supplies.

As for gamers planning to participate in Comic-Con tournament play, Mobile Edge and Alienware have partnered to create some of the most cutting edge bags and backpacks available. Each is designed to protect your valuable electronics and make it easy for you to transport your gear comfortably and conveniently.

In fact, Mobile Edge is so committed to helping gamers take their gaming experience to the next level, we’re giving away a FREQ Mad Catz Wireless Headset. For contest details and to enter, visit Mobile Edge’s Facebook page. There, enter your first and last name, email address, and don’t forget to like/follow us for more giveaways!

For additional details on the who, what, and where of San Diego’s Comic-Con 2016, visit the Comic-Con 2016 Website.

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