As a professional television and film actor, I’ve adopted a motto: “Have work? Will travel!” Despite living in Los Angeles, over half of my acting credits have been filmed out of town on location. Growing up, I didn’t do much traveling, so I look at trips for “work” – AKA “professional pretend-playing” – as an exciting opportunity to explore the world.
I’ve done Sony SNIPER films that have taken me to Bogota, Johannesburg, Turkey and Bulgaria, as well as handful of projects here on the mainland in places like Atlanta (“MacGyver”), Vancouver (“Once Upon a Time”), New York City (“Blue Bloods”), Honolulu (“Last Resort”), Dallas (HIGH MOON) and New Orleans (“NCIS: NOLA”).
Here are my top ten must-have items for a traveling actor. Whether it’s a one-week television gig or a month-long feature film shoot:
Connect w/ Chad Michael Collins:
- Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet
I’m a big Amazon fan, and I’ve had almost every iteration of their awesome and affordable tablet, the Kindle Fire. I use it to read scripts and comic books, stream shows and movies, and even Skype or do the odd Instagram live stream. The Fire is invaluable to my acting career, especially when I’m on the road because it’s so compact and lightweight.
- BiOptimizers Masszymes & P3-OM
I pay pretty strict attention to my diet, especially when I’m filming. I’m always bringing several bottles of BiOptimzer’s digestive enzymes and probiotics, which I learned about from listening to biohacker Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Radio podcast. I try my best to prevent food poisoning and poor eating, but these wonder pills help to negate the effects of both and keep you feeling great on those long shoot days and nights.
- MSI Gaming Laptop
I love this gaming laptop by MSI, not only for gaming online, but also for doing a thousand other things that take a lot of horsepower, like video editing. Amazing graphics, a super-diesel processor, sleek and lightweight despite what its packing under the hood. As an actor, you’re always taping your auditions remotely, so having a machine that can handle that editing, rendering, and uploading process in a snap is a real boon. Not to mention, it handles my Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game with ease, and that’s a game that will make most laptops weep with its spec requirements.
- Title: Young Living Essential Oils
I’m big into natural health, and a big fan of Young Living’s essential oils – the purest, best, and most sustainable EO’s in the world. I use them for everything from meditation to post-workout recovery. Their Thieves blend is your best non-toxic defense against literally everything you’d encounter in an airport, on a plane, and more.
- Victorinox Swiss Army Luggage
I’m all about form-meets-function, and no one does that better than Victorinox. I’ve had the same Swiss Army luggage pieces for over ten years now, and they’ve held up amazingly well. I went with a military green color that tends to stand out at baggage claim so this boy scout can just grab ‘n’ go.
- All-In-One Universal Travel Adapter
This is the one thing my fellow actors always forget to plan ahead with on an international shoot. One-stop shopping for charging all your gadgets via USB ports. You never know how essential these things are…until you realize you forgot one… and you’re in Bulgaria.
- Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition
It’s rare if I have time to play when I’m off filming, but I love me some retro gaming and Nintendo was my first love. The classic mini NES is so compact and works via HDMI cable on any modern TV, so it’s fun to bring along some 8-bit goodness with me on the longer trips. The only drawback? CONTRA, my all-time favorite side-scroller, isn’t one of the pre-loaded games.
- Super NES Classic
See above – if 16-bit is more your cup of tea, then the same applies: compact, plug ‘n’ play retro goodness. I just recently revisited SECRET OF MANA, and am about to fire up THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST, my all-time favorite RPG. A classic.
- Beats by Dre Wireless Headphones
These babies go on my noggin the minute I step on a plane. I’ll listen to podcasts, meditate or sleep for a whole flight, but their real power is in their ability to be the equivalent of a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your head. I’ll leave them on even if nothing is playing, just to ensure that I don’t become a captive audience to a potential “talker” sitting next to me. That probably sounds a tad anti-social, but I promise I’m not a misanthrope— I just like my quiet time.
- Underwear (Lots)
When you’re on the road, one of your biggest uptown problems becomes laundry. Some hotels will have machines to use, others will charge you a small fortune to dry clean your clothes. You’ll be wearing the production’s wardrobe on set all day, but the wardrobe department won’t be supplying you with clean drawers. In my opinion, you can’t pack enough underoos, because there may be no such thing as an emergency Target run.