Thursday, October 1, 2015

How to pack for business travels

I have been a regular business traveller for 3 years now. While traveling for work was something I thought was exciting when I didn't have much business travel, I must admit the excitement wears off pretty quickly. Nights in hotel beds is overrated and it's rare to get the opportunity to actually see much of whatever city I'm visiting. 
Anyway, this post is not about the pros and cons of business travel, but about some tips for packing for business travel. 

1) Being a mum of fairly young kids, I want to get fairly in and out, which means that for short trips, I almost always stick to hand luggage.
 Waiting for luggage can cost you precious time, especially if you have a connecting train. 

2) if you are going on a long trip and need to check in your luggage, make sure you carry some essentials in your hand luggage. A couple of years ago, some female colleagues had to attend a Monday morning meeting in their trainers and comfy clothes ( which were not even close to business casual :) because the airline lost their luggage between London and Amsterdam. It took so long to get their luggage that they had to do some clothes shopping. 

3)most hotel chains have good basic toiletries, so most times you only need to take the barest minimum with you. My facial care products, deodorant, toothpaste and brush and make up. I also carry a dense cream or Shea butter in a small repurposed Vaseline tin because I have dry skin and most hotel creams are light. 

4) even if you will be wearing heels for the office, always pack a pair of flats. You never know if you might have to walk a lot. If possible, travel in flats because God  forbid, if there is an emergency, your heels might hinder you. 

5) You can either hand wash your tops or use the hotel laundry service, so you don't need to pack too many items of clothing. 

6) invest in a small card holder for the minimum number of cards you will need on your trip. Always have some cash on hand, you never know where you will need an out of pocket expense. 

6) even if it's an easy going trip, always have a blazer or jacket with you. You can dress it up or down, but it will help you look polished. 

7)always carry a tampon or sanitary towel in your luggage. I am so busy I often don't realize it's that time of the month. I have had cases when Aunt Flo decided to visit when I was away from home. Get some diaper disposal bags for used sanitary products. They usually smell so nice. 
8) always have some hairpins handy. You never know when you might have a bad hair day. For the same reason, also have a small tub of hair gel. 

9) I always take some teabags with me. I love to drink tea. 

10) a silk scarf can be used for many things. I always pack my favorite blue silk scarf when traveling. 

11) fold a cloth or plastic bag and keep it in your luggage. You might need those for dirty clothes. 

12) rather than carry books, you should download an e-reader and buy Ebooks. That will help you save space in your luggage. 

13)if possible, get your boarding passes and any tickets via mobile apps. This saves you lugging papers around or losing your ticket. Some apps I use are passbook, DB navigator, my taxi etc. 

14)since you will be using your mobile a lot, get yourself a power bank. Or at least make sure your phone is fully charged before setting off. 

15) also on the issue of electronics, get yourself a travel charger for your laptop. They are slimmer, can be dismantled for easier packing and the one I have also has a usb connection so I can charge my phone and other devices on it. 

16) where possible, book your trips via your company authorized travel agencies. If, God forbid, something happens on your trip, it would make it easier to trace you. Also, it helps establish who you are. I recently forgot my wallet with my IDs and credit cards in my car at the airport in another city, but I had no problem checking into my hotel, because I had done the booking properly and I could even check out without my card as the number was given in manually and I signed off. 

I will be updating this post regularly should other tips occur to me. Cheers. 

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