How Nerds Travel (Pt 2): Express Yourself

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since my last post, and I apologize for the long hiatus. While Marlon (Nerdcoolture) & I have taken a break from writing “nerd travel” blog posts to do actual nerd traveling, you can always find us posting about how we stay geeky on our adventures. I mean, in my case, it’s sort of the point of this blog!

That said, now seems an appropriate time to share this entry I started a while ago since it’s summer  – when many people go vacationing – and because San Diego Comic Con is coming up next week! What better time to travel in fantastic nerd style?

Last time, I talked about accessorizing to geek up your travel wardrobe in case you don’t have clothes appropriate for the destination or weather. I’d like to expand a little more on this topic because accessories are easily my favorite way to express my fandom loves and I don’t only mean outfit accessories.


Novelty suitcases are a simple and casual way to express yourself. You don’t even have to think about it because you’re going to need something to put your gear in anyway. Why not let it reflect what you love?

One of the best fandom things my sister has purchased is her R2-D2 carry-on luggage (from ThinkGeek). During our recent trips, the Sister has received so many compliments on it because it’s instantly recognizable as the scrappiest astromech in the galaxy! People get a kick out of seeing R2, and it brightens up some of the most stressful parts of traveling – rushing around the airport, station, etc. In that moment, we all get to share in a bit of joy thanks to a simple expression of nerdiness.


[Photo/ @catherine]

But if novelty suitcases aren’t your thing, you can accessorize your luggage with clever tags, straps,  and stickers. There are so many cool designs and decals to choose from, you could transform a plain black case into your own fandom masterpiece.


If artist Nilah Magruder gets her adorable Hamilton luggage straps in stock, I am so getting one.

Not to mention, if you check your bags, it’ll be a lot easier to identify your geeked out pieces at baggage claim among the sea of basic black and gray ones.


Aside from your luggage, you’re likely to have some kind of shoulder bag or even fanny pack on your travels. Here’s another accessory you can use to be nerdy. You can go with the obvious like Loungefly’s line of Disney and Star Wars purses or you can be more subtle by accessorizing regular handbags. Tie a geeky scarf or handkerchief to your purse strap. Clip on purse keychains featuring charms or badges from your favorite book or TV show. Braid ribbon in your Hogwarts House colors along the handles.

For something a bit more gender-neutral, messenger bags and handbags that aren’t obviously themed can be decorated in much the same way – with pins and patches and key chains.

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Speaking of keychains, your actual keychain is an unobtrusive place to be geeky and functional. I have a Lego Loki in my purse at all times because he holds my keys. Depending on what it is, it can doubly function as a photo prop.

There are also lots of choices when it comes to wallets, business card holders, and phone cases. I also like cute passport holders. One of my favorites is this one that looks like a Penguin Classics cover of the book On the Road, which I gifted to my sister for her birthday one year. Hers has been on quite a few adventures.

Of course, I’m rarely without pen and paper. There’s almost always a notebook in my bag, and while I’m a fan of the plain Moleskine, you can definitely find fancier journals for documenting your latest treks. Get a notebook that shows off your passion or decorate a plain one. The one I’m currently using features Tolkein’s illustration of Smaug!

The point of all this is that you can take your nerd love with you without having it be part of your wardrobe. Maybe you’re on a business trip and that Batman hoodie just isn’t going to cut it for the dress code, but you can still rep that love with a luggage tag or a business card holder elegantly etched with the Batman emblem. For me, having even a small reminder of the things I enjoy is comforting.

Travel can be stressful and there is always some element of the unknown to it. Having something familiar with you can be the confidence boost you need or a piece of solace in the whirlwind of being on the move. It’s like having a bit of the Light of Eärendil to light your way through the dark.

These are some non-outfit-based ways I keep my fandoms in my life when I’m on the roam. Next time, I’ll share what things I try to always fit on to my packing list.


Q4U: What different ways do you express your geekery when you travel? Got any traveling goods recommendations for me?


How Nerds Travel (Pt 1) – Preparations

To tell you the truth, I’m a wanderer of convenience. My destinations are often based on whims, and once I’ve chosen the destination, I start digging in to see what geekery I can get up to. That said, there are destinations that call to me because of my nerd interests.

Greece, for example, has been on my travel bucket list since I was a kid because I was (and still am) obsessed with Classical Mythology. To tread through the ruins at Delphi and to stand atop the Acropolis are dreams of mine. The reason I keep getting drawn back to the northeastern United States is because of my love for the American Revolution. And then there’s stuff like – oh, I don’t know – San Diego Comic Con. 

So let’s talk how nerds make travels like the above happen.

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In My Bag

It’s been a while, and I do apologize for my sudden hiatus. I’ll actually be on the road again when this posts, so I thought it’d be fitting to write about what’s in my bag.

These are the essential things I have in my bag/purse when I’m traveling.

1) The Bag

In recent years, my all-around go-to travel bag/purse has been one of these Longchamp Le Pliage Nylon bags. I’ve been using the Le Pliage Nylon Large Tote. They come in a bunch of different colors, zip across the top, and are super light. They even fold down to notebook-size, which makes them ideal for stowing away as an extra bag. Mostly though, they are huge (maybe too huge), which makes them very handy for carrying everything you could possibly need.

I only wish they had a bigger inner pocket, and it’d be nice if they were waterproof.

2) iPhone (smart phone)

No brainer. It’s multi-purpose. Phone, maps, camera, internet, music, e-tickets, membership cards, etc.

3) External Battery

Related to the above, since the phone is such a travel essential, battery life is extremely important. Enter the external battery, which can be a lifesaver. For hefty charging day, I use an older version of the above Anker Astro E5 Portable Charger. The Sister and I bought it for our first Comic Con. For a normal day, I carry a smaller portable battery that’s roughly the size of a mascara tube – well, a little fatter than that. The plus side is these smaller batteries come in so many cute designs like these Star Wars themed tubes from Mimoco!

4) Pen

You never know when you might need to jot something down or sign something… or have someone sign something!

5) Notebook

See reasons above. Personally, I prefer the small moleskine notebooks. They’re classic, portable, durable, and they have a little pocket in the back to stash ticket stubs, cash, and keepsakes.

6) Wallet

Another no-brainer. I don’t have a special wallet for travel, but having dividers is helpful for splitting cash and organizing cards and IDs. Having a built-in coin pouch is good too.

7) Eye-liner

On the day to day, I don’t normally wear make-up at all because I’m lazy. There are those times though when you find yourself rushing from one place to the next, and for me, putting on a little eye liner makes a whole lot of difference. I always try to keep one in my purse.

8) Nude or neutral pallet lipstick

Same reasons as above. I say nude pallet because it goes with everything. I’m currently in love with Bite Beauty’s Butter Cream line (not pictured above, but still from Bite Beauty).

9) Compact Mirror

For making sure you don’t have crumbs on your face or food in your teeth. Or in my case, I always forget when I’m wearing make-up and rub my eyes. So it’s good to be able to check if I’ve smudged my liner.

10) Tissue / Wipes/ Hand Sanitizer

Trust me, the number of times I’ve wished I had a napkin or something to wipe my hands or a table or a chair is unfathomable.

Bonus: A Book

Because I’m me, I always like having a book in my purse for those down-time moments. I admit, this can get a little heavy though. Pick wisely / know if you’re actually going to have time to read.

Q4U: What’s in your bag?

P.S. See my adventures in (closer to) Real Time by following along on Instagram (@girlontheroam & @akangaru) and on Snapchat (akangaru)!