WASHINGTON — Packing to cover a nine-day presidential trip with stops in four countries — Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium and Italy — is a bit more complicated than packing for your typical family vacation.
So what are the White House correspondents Peter Baker, Mark Landler and I taking with us when we accompany President Trump on his first official foreign trip?
Here’s a peek inside our suitcases.
On these presidential trips abroad, I take the usual things: toiletries, a mix of warm-weather clothing (it will be 110 degrees in Saudi Arabia) and cold-weather clothing (a high of 60 in Brussels), and a bunch of ties.
But because I’m a technology geek, my packing regimen revolves around my gadgets. I’ve got my MacBook Pro, of course, but also an iPhone 7, an iPad Air, an Apple Watch, AirPods and a big portable battery that can charge all of them. In addition, I always bring a bagful of cables: Lightning, USB-C, Ethernet, wall chargers and some HDMI adapters.
The other thing I make sure to do: load my iPad with movies and TV shows, for those hours sitting in a van in the motorcade. For this trip, I’ve got some “Madam Secretary,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Designated Survivor” and “Sense8.”
Mark tells me that he never goes on these trips without a baseball cap and 100 SPF sunscreen, a shoulder pillow and eyeshades for sleeping, extra notebooks and noise-canceling headphones for those times on deadline in big ballrooms with hundreds of other reporters.
For this trip he’s also taking a stash of euros (borrowed from a colleague who just returned from Europe with extra cash).
Asked whether he’s bringing a book to help him with Italian, Mark said he would just use Jason Horowitz, our Rome bureau chief, as his translator. (That’s actually how the two met, when Mark was in Italy on a story years ago and tapped Jason — then a news aide in the Rome bureau — to interpret.)
Peter will pack lighter — in part because he’s covering only the first leg of the trip, to Saudi Arabia and Israel. He says he’ll take a few shirts and a blazer, some suntan lotion and converters so he can charge his phone.
On Air Force One, Peter says he will try to finish a new biography of Mikhail Gorbachev (as a former Moscow bureau chief, he’s reviewing it for The New York Times) and might listen to the audiobook he has on his phone: “Ike’s Gamble,” on President Eisenhower and the Middle East.