What's in Your Bag

What’s In Your Bag: Roots

Roots Chief eComm and Customer Experience Officer James Connell’s schedule can be quite hectic on a daily basis, but traveling offers him the perfect opportunity to escape his regular routine and reassess his priorities. Read on to find out how he combats jet lag, his ultimate packing hack and which top five travel essentials he always takes with him.

Are you a preplanned or spontaneous traveler?

For personal travel, I love being more of the moment to see and do what inspires me. For the business to ensure maximum efficiency, my schedule needs to be preplanned well ahead of time.

 What is your favorite part of traveling?

My schedule can be quite hectic on a daily basis, so travelling empowers me to move outside my regular routine and take a step back from the everyday. The perspective helps me look at my ‘normal’ and assess how I am spending my time. It often encourages me to improve my habits, like exercising more, or make more time for fun, friends and loved ones.

 What do you like the least about traveling?

I cringe at the idea of jetlag and unpacking after a trip.

 Are you usually on-time or running-late to the airport?

I try to limit my time at the airport, and as a result, I never leave home without my Nexus card. 

 Do you use a mental, digital or physical packing checklist?

I am a visual person, so I keep photos on my iPhone of what my luggage looked like when I packed perfectly. When I am feeling rushed or sense I may have missed something I simply check my photos to figure out what I have missed.  What are your top 5 travel essentials?My Roots Leather Granville Backpack has all the pockets I need for my documents, laptop, cables and power adapters — my iPad mini to catch up on Netflix and magazines without the weight – my Bose in-ear noise-cancelling headphones – my running shoes and shorts to get in a quick workout to help with jet lag and a Roots hoody for the plane or a cool evening.

 What is the most beloved possession you travel with?

My Aeroplan Super Elite Card. The Air Canada team has been incredible solving problems and assisting both my husband and I with both some of the most simple and complicated issues over the years, with ease.

 Do you roll, fold or use packing cubes for your clothes when packing?

Many years ago I actually started my career as a sales associate at Roots on Bloor Street, in Toronto. Ever since I’ve used the same folding boards we use in our stores for our laundry at home, so it is effortless to pick up a stack of folded items and place them in my luggage to be ready to go.

 What is your ultimate packing hack?

I always try to select items that are predominantly neutral in colour and are made out of natural fibres. Then I pack a few of my favourite pieces which are bright colours or bold patterns, so I can mix and match whatever inspires me when I am getting dressed.

 What is a common mistake you make when packing?

After over 20 years of working for a company that makes excellent footwear, I have developed an addiction. I always tend to bring more pairs of shoes than I really need.

 Do you have an airport ritual? Where to eat, relax, etc.

Usually, I like to be by the window at the gate. I am fascinated by the synchronization of the planes and ground crews that work in harmony to make an airport operate.

 What is your in flight routine?

I save projects that require focus and creative thinking for the plane. I love to put my headphones in and work on next year’s marketing plan or storyboard to share with the team to inspire a new store concept.

 Airplane food. Yay or Nay?

I like to avoid prepared food whenever possible, so I will try to bring food with me.

 What is your favourite travel destination? 

I love visiting London during the holidays, with all the lights, decorations, mulled wine and Pret-a-Manger Christmas sandwiches, it really feels like the holidays to me.

 Where are you heading next?

This weekend I am off to Wolfe Island in the 1000 Islands for the weekend to be with family and help on my Dad’s vineyard.

 Dream destination?  

The idea of sailing around the Maldives, visiting beaches, snorkelling, and just going where the wind takes you, is at the top of my list these days.

 What is the best souvenir you’ve picked up during your travels?

Years ago I picked up a cookbook from Babylonstoren, which is one of the oldest Cape Dutch Farms in South Africa. The food and the grounds were magazine-perfect. When looking for healthy dinner inspiration for my husband and me, it has been my go-to book for years. 

For more information visit:

Instagram: @roots + @jhconnell

How to's

How to fold, roll, cube

Love to travel but hate packing? We’ve broken down the steps for three essential packing styles: folding, rolling and cubing. Whether you’re headed on an international adventure or a local business trip, find your style and follow the outlined steps for stress-free packing!