It’s not easy lugging a 49-pound toolbox around the world, and service techs are hungry for tricks that make traveling on the job easier. From “smart” luggage that knows it’s exceeded weight limits, to free apps that find the cheapest gas, here are seven essential tools for the rugged life on the road — or in the air.

  1. Rugged luggage: Field techs toting gear from large drill sets to electrical equipment rely on hard cases like like AnvilPelican or Aero containers to transport their tools. These cases can accommodate foam cutouts that keep tools separate and protected. One service tech says that his company uses Anvil cases to ship fully configured suites of computers.
  2. Assisted delivery: For service techs who can plan ahead, shipping equipment provides one way to save time at the airport, bypass baggage fees and avoid wear and tear on luggage. DHL offers solutions by industry, and FedEx and UPS have international shipping services.
  3. Adapter and power strip: Electrical power varies throughout the world, so service techs should be prepared. Plug adapters and voltage converters are available in all kinds of configurations. Compact devices like the Tripshell Universal Travel Adapter, which provides configurable plug adaption for 150 countries, are lightweight and don’t take up too much valuable suitcase room. Power strips and cube taps also come in handy when faced with outlet shortages.
  4. Smart luggage: Okay, it’s premature to tout the Bag2Go, but we couldn’t resist. Imagine a “smart” bag complete with a companion iPhone app and “Find my Bag” function to track lost luggage. Designed by Airbus, the luggage also includes a built-in digital scale that syncs with the traveler’s iPhone app.
  5. External batteries: Long flights and road trips are a phone battery’s worst enemy. Carrying a spare battery like the Anker Astro series of portable power packs will keep service techs connected when power supplies are low — or nonexistent.
  6. Free road-trip apps: These programs aren’t just games for kids in the back seat. Road Ninja lets users map out their trips, including info for highway exit stops, real-time gas prices, and special offers and coupons. Traptser alerts users to speed traps, red light and speed cameras, road hazards and more. Wi-Fi Finder pinpoints the nearest places to find free and paid Wi-Fi in hotspots in more than 650,000 locations in 144 countries.
  7. Shorter cable cords: Not only are cable cords sources of unnecessary bulk and weight, but they can also attract unnecessary attention from security personnel. Shorter cables from companies like CableJive help solve these problems.

What other must-have tools make traveling easier for service techs on the go? Tell us in the comments below.