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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Reader Question: Business Travel Checklist


A Reader Question: What should be in a business travel checklist?
I am twenty nine years old and male.  I really appreciate your blog and come back almost every day.  I have a question for the community.  I have just accepted a position that is going to involve a lot of two - three day business trips - airplanes and some trains.  People mostly wear business casual with some extremes on either side.  Do people have a checklist for what they bring on the typical trip?  Should I get a certain kind of suitcase?  I like the classics and want to stick to those where possible.     

18 comments:

  1. This is a good question. The 2-3 day business trips can be tricky until you get the hang of it. I'd hold off on making a luggage purchase until you have had enough experience with air and train travel to find out what really works for you. I assume you'll want a suit for business meetings and I would limit it to one suit, maybe a charcoal or navy, and then separate trousers in seasonal color/fabric, and a sport coat that goes with. You can change up the daily suit with dress shirt and tie options, a fresh shirt for each day you'll be on the road. You can get by with a single pair of dress shoes if you choose wisely. If you exercise after work bring appropriate gear for that. The key for me was keeping the weight down, and limiting duplication to underwear and socks. I over-packed at first but once I got a feel for my customers/meetings I'd be with I could plan better. In fact, today when I travel I have a battenkill rolling duffel that I always check for air travel so I can bring whatever the hell I want. Good luck, and congrats on the new role!

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  2. The Filson Pullman bag is an excellent bag for a 2-3 day trip. It can be used as a carry on and can surprisingly hold a great deal. It's my go to bag for short trips and it's durable!

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  3. We house several flight attendants. They all carry sturdy wheeled cases that accommodate a small day bag on top. Must-haves are earplugs, eyeshades, small umbrella, charger and powerbank, and ziplock vacuum bags for keeping items clean, dry and separated. Extra socks/underwear, go light on everything else. Keep your travel kit intact and separate from your home-town wardrobe so you're always ready to go. Happy Traveling!

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  4. All my business travel was before "business casual" so my wardrobe advice would be obsolete. I lived in a suit. However, one trick I learned still applies, and that is to assemble a set of your toiletries and grooming items that never leaves your suitcase, in effect a duplicate travel kit. You will never forget your razor or your tooth brush if you don't have to pack them every time. Just leave the travel kit in the suitcase. Same with whatever you will use on the plane or hotel room, like earbuds or headphones, phone charger, and so on. Buy duplicates that will never leave your suitcase. You could do the same with any office supplies you know you will always need. It makes packing fast and easy. Oh, and use a regulation size carry-on that is sturdy enough to check if you had to so you can just grab from the overhead and you're gone.

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  5. A navy blue blazer is essential. It can be dressed "up" with grey flannels or other trousers for work, but can likewise be worn with jeans or khakis during after hours.

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  6. Wet wipes to wipe down your plane seat - arm rests, table and screen. Also use on the hotel remote control - it's never cleaned. Do not use any glasses in your hotel bathroom - only use plastic pre-sealed. The same cloths used to clean the bathroom are used on the glasses. Make sure you have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup plus some granola bars or nuts. Some businesses are gracious and provide coffee and snacks, but I've been to meetings where the only provisions were lunches from Subway, and there was no break room or kitchen nearby for an eight-hour meeting. Always bring one extra shirt and set of underclothes and socks in case your flight is delayed. Make sure you have all your chargers, preferably stored in a kit to keep wires untangled. Keep mini size toiletries on hand and have your dopp kit packed at all times with your usual quart plastic bag for the relevant liquids. Use packing cubes and either pack by outfit or by type. Keep your clothes in the packing cubes as much as possible to make repacking easier.

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  7. This clearly depends on how formal you need to dress at the other end and that will have a big say in how and what you pack. For me, it's been business-casual all the way, but I realize others don't have it that easy.

    My suitcase is a roll-aboard that can be carried on; it's an older Bean model that opens in half and has retaining fabric with a zipper for each half. Just terrific.

    I've retired so I no longer use it every month and it's definitely showing some wear. However, if I were still traveling for business for the next few years, I'd look into a flight crew roll-aboard as a replacement when the Bean bag finally calls it quits.

    The advice about gathering a standard toilet kit (and other packables) and keeping them always in the suitcase is very smart — you don't want to running around trying to gather all the bits and pieces the day (or night) before you leave.

    Also, you can usually get basic toiletries from the hotel or a Walgreens or CVS near the place after you arrive, and this can simply the toilet kit. Too bad about California banning the hotel mini-toiletries out of typical stupid leftism — I've used those on just about every trip I've made, for business or otherwise.

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    1. Before long, California hotel guests will be required to go to the front desk to collect their allotted three sheets of bathroom tissue each time they are needed. You can buy those little travel size shampoos in drug stores, keep them in your suitcase kit, and refill them as needed. Mine must be 25 years old by now. Hah! Recently broke my 30-year old travel razor. Searching for an obsolete replacement.

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  8. Most important tip ~ do not check a bag!

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  9. For business trips, I use a robust Samsonite Spark carry-on case. It fits in the overhead locker and is perfect for 2-3 day trips. It can hold 2 suits (or other jackets etc) if needed plus 3/4 shirts, underwear, a wash bag and a spare pair of shoes. There is also a section for my laptop. I wear an overcoat or raincoat with blazer and charcoal flannels for the journey.

    When buying a carry-on case, check the permitted sizes of the airlines that you use most regularly. Holdalls are often too wide or deep and clothes tend to crumple in them - a big no for business attire. Cases with 2, rather than 4, wheels have greater capacity. An expandable carry-on case has even more capacity if required.

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    1. Agree with the 2-wheel recommendations! Avoid the trendy "spinner" design. You lose storage space in those because the second pair of wheels steals some of the suitcase's length.

      Also I welcome airports that have terrazzo floors for all the concourses, leaving only the gate areas carpeted. Hard-finish floors let suitcases roll much easier. Kudos to Sky Harbor in Phoenix in this regard.

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  10. From a former road warrior: Tumi makes luggage that lasts a very long time, looks good (black ballistic nylon), and offers great ways to pack and organize while keeping business clothes pressed. shoulder strap carry or wheels, they offer both. other tips: 1) portable battery to recharge your electronics (keep it charged). 2) pack suits or blazers (hopefully all wool) in plastic dry cleaning bags, helps limit wrinkling. 3) i usually pack the suit(s) and wear a blazer in transit. 4) comfortable shoes while in transit are important. 5) mini-collapsible umbrella, always, unless you're traveling to rain-starved places. 6) pack workout clothes and shoes that dry quickly, working out early makes for better work days. 7) merino wool dress socks and boxers. 8) keep a large plastic zipper bag in an outer pocket, stow travel size liquid toiletries there - quicker through security.

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  11. Lots of good suggestions here. I travel frequently and spend a lot of 2-3 day trips in hotels. I would suggest you make a checklist of things you want to bring. Put it into a computer or your phone so you can call it up when needed. Have the checklist set up with categories such as biz clothes, casual clothes, toiletries, reading material, etc. The categories will help you easily organize what needs to be brought on the trip. And always bring an extra t-shirt and underwear, 'cuz you never know.

    Aiken

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    1. Making a list (and checking it twice) is a great idea. In the early years of my travel career I had a standard list. Before long I'd committed it to memory. Be sure to keep up with consumables in your Dopp kit however to ensure you don't run out of toothpaste, shave cream, etc. Finally, use mesh packing bags with zippers to separate items and make compressing easier. Helps reduce wrinkles too.

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  12. Lots of good suggestions here. I travel 2-3 days a week 3 weeks a month and have been doing so for a couple years. Here are my suggestions.
    -Get TSA recheck or Global entry. that will allow you to skip the lines at airports, and keep your shoes on
    -Join rewards programs ASAP. the airline miles are great for trips and the Hotel points can be used for rooms or little presents to yourself. I prefer Marriot to Hilton and use Jet Blue as I am Boston based and they are Bostons largest airline.
    -Keep your Dopp kit loaded therefore it is always packed
    -have a suitcase or backpack(I use a backpack) that can slide over the handle of your roller. this way you always have a hand free Ogio is the backpack I use for this.
    -I do not have an expensive suitcase. I believe I bought mine at mays on 50% off sale. Tumi is very nice but they do tend to get banged up and spending 1k on something that will get destroyed confuses me.
    -If you are business casual wear one sport coat but bring sweaters in colder months as that is in my experience considered slightly dressier.
    -always pack atlas on extra set of underwear and socks. Nothing worse than your flight getting cancelled after an 18 hour day than to have to wear the same socks the next day.
    -get yourself the best noise cancelling HEADPHONES you can afford. I have the bose QC35ii and they are great. They allow you to block out most of the noise on the planes and the other passengers!
    -for the flights home download movies or TV shows to an iPad. It allows you some downtime on flights when you are not working.

    Home this helps.

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  13. Male, 33 years old, traveling 2-3 days a week, two or three times a month. Mostly good suggestions so far. I agree with the recommendation to take a few trips before you decide what kind of luggage you want to buy. I'd recommend staying away from roller bags. They minimize overpacking by necessity, forcing you to only bring what you need. Plus, they just look gawd-awful. The next thing to think about is whether you want to consolidate all your belongings in one larger weekender-type bag - like the Hook and Albert Weekend Garment Bag or similar, where suits or blazer and trouser combinations can be stored in the lining of the bag - or break it apart in two smaller bags, such as a suit-bag/backpack or suit-bag/duffel bag combination. This second option can help if you'll be flying on smaller planes where overhead space is tight and limited. The two bag option also distributes weight more evenly, and helps you avoid one bag being too heavy and burdensome. The sacrifice of having two bags is that, often times, one of your hands will be tied up holding one of the bags.

    I can't recommend strongly enough getting TSA Pre-Check. No need to remove anything from bags, and you'll never be caught in security lines. I travelled a year in my current job without it. Now that I have it, I'll never go back. The comment about not having to remove your shoes in Pre-Check only works if you wear inferior dress shoes. All my dress shoes are made by Alden, and include a steel-shank, so must be removed to get through security without setting off the metal detector. To this end, loafers are your friend; lace-ups are not.

    I agree with all the other advice about duplicate dopp kit items. A travel umbrella is a good idea if you think there's any chance of rain. Be prepared. I travel to mostly cooler climates, and like to keep a sweater packed as well. My sweater of choice is usually a navy or gray mid-weight sleeveless wool cardigan - something that fits well under a jacket. A lightweight v-neck would work well also, especially if you'll be wearing a tie. If sans cravat, go with a crew neck.

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  14. Many good suggestions, and I can't add much, but have learned over many years of business travel to travel light. I just replaced the wheels (2 not 4) on my Victorinox carry on that is at least 15 years old and which works for 2 or 3 day trips - it will hold an additional suit or sport coat and slacks if you are so inclined. If it is an overnight trip I have an old leather Mulholland duffle bag that works fine - no need for an extra suit or sport coat. I have my shirts done on hangers, but always have a dozen or so folded to throw in the bag for trips. Like many have advised, keep your toiletries ready to go and always take shirt, underwear and socks for an extra day. You don't need extra shoes unless you pack running shoes. In addition to TSA, if you fly out of a city that has a high traffic airport and offers the Clear service, sign up. I fly out of country's busiest airport and Clear saves me lots of time. Enjoy the travel.

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  15. https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-pack-for-a-one-week-business-trip/

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