Having visited 81 countries and traveled all across the United States, real estate investment expert Jason Hartman knows a thing or two about packing for a trip. In a recent episode of his podcast show, “Creating Wealth,” Hartman offers some packing tips that his followers and subscribers will find useful when it’s time to head to the airport.
Hartman also talks in the podcast about how traveling and increasing one’s vocabulary will help his followers and investors become “students for life.” And, he welcomes a recent news report that the number of people who rent has increased sharply in the past decade.
That latter report, of course, is good news for those who invest in real estate income property, in which Hartman and his Platinum Properties Investors Network specialize and favor over other investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and metals.
Jason Hartman’s Travel Packing Tips and Tricks From His International Adventures
Hartman’s recent podcast was coming from Helsinki, Finland, from which he was getting ready to travel to Gdansk, Poland. He has traveled to both of those countries before, but this time he was looking forward to visiting the Polish city where Lech Walesa led the way for Solidarity to become the first trade union in the Soviet bloc in the 1980s. Later, Walesa became a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the president of Poland himself.
From that upcoming leg to Poland and his visits to 80 other countries over his career, “I think I have learned how to hack packing and make traveling easy,” Hartman says.
“I have read a bunch of articles on this. Sometimes when (Platinum Properties investors) have an event, I will bring all the materials for the event—all the workbooks, I will bring the projector, I will bring my clothing, I will bring my dog and my dog stuff.” (The dog, Coco, has traveled to eight countries with Hartman herself, by the way.)
When traveling internationally and not leading a work conference, though, Hartman has learned how to make traveling and packing easier. Thus, he offers the following six hacks on how to pack for a trip:
Hartman Travel Packing Tip Number 1: Don’t Check Your Luggage
“Don’t check a bag,” Hartman says. “You just have to bring your luggage with you. It’s just so much easier. It doesn’t get lost. I’ve had my luggage lost a few times, and it’s no fun. It’s a huge hassle. Sometimes it will be lost forever, but sometimes you get it back a couple days later.”
By not checking any luggage, you also avoid the extra fees airlines always charge these days.
Hartman Travel Packing Tip Number 2: Pick the Right Suitcase and Backpack
You’ve seen people wheeling through the airport with fancy, designer-type, carry-on bags that look as though they’re made exclusively for a CEO. Don’t use those.
Hartman once used a German model that costs $600, but he has abandoned that one.
“The one I use now, and I have two sizes of these, is by Delsey. It’s 72 bucks—cheap. I like it because it’s just better, easier, lighter, more versatile. … It’s just a simple little bag on wheels. My outfit is basically that bag and a backpack.”
And what sort of backpack should you use to complement the carry-on bag you take aboard a plane? The backpack that Hartman uses is made by Tortuga, because he likes its durability. He also says you should opt for something that’s not too big and clumsy.
However, you’re not quite done with backpacking for your trip quite yet. Hartman also suggests that you place a smaller, packable backpack— if you will—and place it inside the one that you’re carrying on your shoulders. His second backpack is a Hike Pro that costs about $15, and he folds and places it inside his Tortuga.
Why the second backpack, you ask? You use it after you’ve arrived at your destination. “When I go around and I go to a coffee shop and just want my iPad and my laptop with me—and you know, a few things like a jacket or whatever—I just take that little backpack and the big backpack stays in the hotel room,” Hartman explains.
Hartman Travel Packing Tip Number 3: Use Packing Cubes, Take Only Thin Fabrics
“I kid you not, this is very important that you pack thin fabrics and you use the packing cubes that are the super thin ones,” which made of nylon, Hartman says. “I have used compression cubes, and I don’t like them very much. I find that just the whole suitcase is the compression cube.”
Everything you pack in a suitcase, including all your clothing, should be thin, according to Hartman.
“If you have big, bulky sweaters and things like that, that’s going to be very difficult,” he says.
What sort of thin clothing should you use? Hartman likes two brands, SmartWool and Icebreakers. “Wool is this amazing fabric, especially this new modern version of wool,” he says. “It basically is like a self-cleaning fabric … you can cheat and you can wear it multiple times and it will not smell. You just air it out, hang it up and you iron it with a steam iron, which basically cleans and sanitizes it.”
SmartWool also is warm but “very breathable,” so if it gets warmer outside, you won’t be too uncomfortable.
What about the color of your clothes? “The other thing I’m a huge fan of is black—black clothing,” Hartman says.
“All of your clothing needs to match. You’ve got to be able to put everything together in the same concept. Black goes with everything except … maybe not navy blue very well, but, hey, it goes with everything else, so you can wear it with jeans or whatever.
“Have black as a staple of your wardrobe.”
Hartman Travel Packing Tip Number 4: Take the Right Shirts and Shoes
When you lug a shirt with a collar, say, a Polo, it will take up a lot more space in your suitcase than something like a pullover T-shirt or a V-neck. Such details may seem a bit much, but, Hartman emphasizes, “Packing thin, light fabrics makes a huge difference.”
When it comes to footwear, you should bring but one pair, and that pair of shoes is on your feet when you board the plane, Hartman says.
“It’s pretty hard to do, but you can shop around and find a very versatile pair of shoes that will literally let you get away with walking all around town and will be very comfortable,” he says. “You can also get into a nightclub or go to a nice dinner and wear the same pair of shoes.”
Allow your shoes to dry, as you can while in your room, because the moisture from your feet also can make your shoes “uncomfortable and unwearable.”
You can dry your shoes with a blow dryer in your room, and if you get shoes with insoles, you can take the insoles out of them at night and let them air out.
And the socks you wear? Hartman likes the SmartWool brand for those, too. “I love SmartWool’s socks,” he says. “They are awesome. They are like these amazing, breathable, semi-self-cleaning socks in black that you can just wear and wear.”
Hartman Travel Packing Tip Number 5: Put Outfits In Both Carry-On and Backpack
On frustrating occasions, you may become one of those travelers whose carry-on suitcase may not be allowed on board because of its size, or perhaps the airline crew wants you to check it in the boarding bay, because of lack of overhead storage space inside a full plane. And then, to add to your frustrations, the carry-on may get lost or late-arriving once you get to your destination. It’s because of these possibilities that “you want to have another complete outfit with you in your backpack,” Hartman advises.
He favors Eagle Creek packing cubes in which to place outfits, and he suggests you have at least one outfit in your backpack in the event your carry-on does get lost. “One packing cube goes in the backpack—maybe two if they can fit, depending on size of your packing cubes—and then three of them go into the suitcase,” Hartman says.
Also add a couple of empty packing cubes in your suitcase. And why would you need those? They’re for your laundry, your dirty clothes, of course.
With each outfit you pack in a cube, make sure it’s accompanied by the proper accoutrements to complete your ensemble: We’re talking socks and undies that will match your shirts or blouses, pants, skirts, dresses or jackets.
Hartman Travel Packing Tip Number 6: The Rest of the Stuff
You may have found it frustrating to get on a plane and untangle your ear-bud cords because you just tossed them into a bag. Hartman says you should use black-mesh bags in which to place your electronics, cords, transformers or computer mouse. “All electronics go in the backpack—don’t ever put them in the suitcase,” he says.
If you have an iPad, he offers this tip: He converts his iPad for use as a dual monitor for his laptop, via an app called Duet.
Don’t forget to include a portable, travel-size umbrella and a pair of slippers in your backpack. And do you have a pet traveling with you, like Hartman’s dog, Coco? She sports a backpack on his trips, too.
“I want to make her self-reliant,” Hartman says. “I don’t want her to become an entitled Democrat, and she has to carry her own luggage. She has to carry her own food and her own stuff. Teach your kids good values, right?”
Hartman on How Traveling Makes You Smarter
Hartman says traveling is important for people, especially if you’re an investor who follows his podcasts and the first commandment of his 10 Commandments of Successful Investing: “Thou shalt become educated.”
“Traveling will broaden your mind and you can see how other people do things … travels really do change you and improve your life for the better,” he says.
“I’ve often said that anybody who wants to run for political office should be required to travel the world and own their own business and be responsible for the livelihood of other people. When you’ve got to have that stress of making payroll, of paying other people, there’s just no way you’ll understand how the world works until you do that.”
When he travels, Hartman also doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to learn a country’s language.
“I would rather study the economy of a country, the history, the geography, meeting the people,” he says. And, “Most people (in other countries) speak English anyway. Granted, I would love to learn some other languages, but I just don’t think it’s the best use of time. I think it’s better to learn about other things.”
If you’re an American investor of rom an English-speaking country, Hartman thinks you should study the English language, which has “adopted so much from so many other languages,” as a way to try to improve your own vocabulary.
He calls English “one of the richest languages on earth, if not the richest.”
“I think it has 600,000 or 700,000 words, the English language, whereas French, Spanish, German, Italian have about 150,000 words (each), I believe. That’s because English adopts all of these other words—we just kind of steal them from other languages.”
If you were like Hartman, you would be eager to study the ways of Poland. rather than its language, as you were headed there. Having been there before, he knows that Communism—”that toxic, toxic ideology that really is responsible for the deaths of about 150 million people in the last 100 years”—once cast a heavy influence on the Polish people.
“Few things can be more evil than big governments and communism, and to a lesser degree, its younger brother that’s not quite as ugly called ‘socialism,'” Hartman says.
He describes Walesa as “the revolutionary who changed the whole course of history in communism and Poland.”
Hartman on the Rising Numbers of Renters
On the real-estate front, Hartman in the podcast discussed a recent MarketWatch report about how the number of Americans who rent is at its highest number in the last 50 years. That report, citing census bureau and Pew Institute statistics, said the percentage of U.S. households renting was just over 31 percent in 2006—but by 2016, that number had risen to nearly 37 percent.
“Folks, I’m telling you, the demographics coming at the rental housing market in the next decade are nothing short of phenomenal,” Hartman tells his podcast followers and fellow investors.
“And guess what? I’ve been saying that for about five years. I should have been saying five years ago, ‘The next 15 years are going to be nothing short of phenomenal.’
“Because if you ask me, you know, by looking at the age demographics, the economy in general and the Gen-Yers who saw their parents get burned in the great recession, the rental market’s going to be phenomenal for the next decade. You should ride this wave easily until 2027.”
“It’s an amazing time to be a real estate investor,” he adds, “and it’s also an amazing time to be alive … happy travels, and happy investing.”