travel tips

Road Warrior: Tumi CEO Jerome Griffith

February 5, 2013: 5:00 AM ET

How Jerome Griffith, CEO of Tumi, packs his own luggage

By Alex Konrad, contributor

Tumi's Jerome Griffith on the go in New York City

Tumi's Jerome Griffith on the go in New York City

FORTUNE -- As CEO of a travel-bag company, Jerome Griffith field-tests his products all the time. He's been loyal to the Tumi (TUMI) brand since 1991 -- long before he joined the company, in 2009 -- when he fell in love with a bag made of ballistic nylon, the same material Tumi employs, and began using it to carry his Kendo gear (Griffith, 55, is a second-degree black belt). Since taking the helm, Griffith has spent more than half the year in transit -- 220 days, by his estimate. He keeps it simple but has his particulars: aisle seats on night flights, a gym and Wi-Fi in hotels. "I'm built for speed, not comfort," he says.

My survival skills

security_cardsSkip the security lines. I'm a Global Entry program member [through U.S. Customs and Border Protection], which is absolutely the best because you aren't held up in customs. Another is called TSA Pre-Check, which has separate -- and empty -- security lines. Another, called CLEAR, works the same way. I keep all the ID cards clipped together with a simple, cheap binder clip.

Pick your bags I have different bags for different trips -- overnight, three days, three weeks. I always use our little packing cubes. I got into them because someone here asked me to demonstrate how I packed. It was a mess. Since then I've become a total believer.

Carry-on, always. Fly direct and carry-on at all costs, or your luggage may not make it. Know your carry-on limits: I can make it for four days in a carry-on. Bring a "just-in-case" tote in your bag for once you get there and for bringing extra stuff back home.

compact_umbrellaPhablet habit. I bring my tablet and my phone -- I won't carry a computer. My favorite app to check the weather where I'm going is called Living Earth. On the iPad I have the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Huffington Post, and CNN. I'll read those every day.

Minimal backups. I carry an electric grounded adapter with four different plug configurations, an extra cellphone charger, and a small toiletry kit. In the long run it makes things a lot easier: You never get stuck. I also bring a compact umbrella. When I pack an umbrella, it doesn't rain.

This story is from the February 4, 2013 issue of Fortune.

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