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What Bill Nye can’t travel without

Bill Nye — engineer, former star of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and perpetual wearer of bow ties — has a new television show that makes its debut April 21 on Netflix. In “Bill Nye Saves the World,” he will debunk myths and anti-scientific claims made by politicians and others. His latest book, the first in a series for middle-grade readers, is titled “Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World.” He lives in New York but travels frequently to give lectures, so, unsurprisingly, he is a spectacularly organized packer. 

Though busy, Nye makes time each year for a family reunion. “Every summer my extended family goes to the beach in Delaware,” he said. “Around 20 people, for two weeks, packed into a giant house. We get along fine.” It’s a rare occasion when he checks luggage. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to change flights when something’s gone wrong with airlines because I do not have checked luggage,” he said. “When you check luggage, you’re often constrained to ride with it.”  

When traveling for pleasure, he often heads for the great outdoors. One of his favorite destinations is Mount St. Helens in Washington state; he loves the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  

“I used to live in Seattle,” he said. “People in New York talk about what show they went to see, the movies they’ve seen. But in the Pacific Northwest everyone has three pairs of skis and we talk about going to REI. It’s the same amount of mental energy put into a different thing.”  

Here’s what he packs on every trip.  


“I strongly encourage everybody to have a checklist. I travel all the time and I’m amazed at how often I almost forget something. The list changes all the time. It starts with — this is an engineering thing — Revision New. Then A, B, C, D. I’m currently on Revision D, which is actually the fifth issue. It’s alphabetical, not in order of importance — if it gets on the list, it’s important.”  

Gaffer tape  

“It’s a small black roll of tape, almost duct tape. They use it on TV shows and movies. It’s sticky but not too sticky, strong but not too strong. Things rip, things break, things need to be covered up — tape is versatile.”  

Fountain pen  

“I almost always have a fountain pen, and I carry ink for it. I like the clear one from Lamy. If you’re signing somebody’s book or an autograph, it just has a certain charm.”  


“I do a lot of college lectures, so I always have a dongle and a spare dongle to connect the computer to the projector. The dongle is an SOF issue — safety of flight — meaning you can’t fly without it. It’s of the highest priority.”  

Weather gear  

“There’s technology that enables you to deal with changes in the weather. The first and main technological innovation is a scarf. A scarf will buy you 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Also a hat. I tell guys, you should wear hats!”  

Bow ties  

“I bring three, five, seven bow ties. I wear a different one every day, though I wear them more than once. You do have to get them dry-cleaned now and then. They lose their crispness.”

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