This past week I traveled to multiple cities for various work meetings. Previously most of my work trips have been 1 or 2 night stays so packing for an entire week of work meetings in three different cities presented some challenges, especially when you are a clothes horse like I am. So I’ve collected some helpful tips I’ve learned about packing for a long work trip, dealing with airports and oh yea…working!
1. Focus – Keep it simple, you are going to be running between airports, hotels and meetings. Bring comfortable, sensible shoes (ugh I know) and clothing that fits (airplanes are uncomfortable enough without being in a pair of pants that are too tight).
2. Buy travel sizes – space in your bag fills up quickly with regular sizes of toothpaste, shampoo, etc;
3. Do I really need this? I brought a curling iron and flat iron. I did not use either of them. Same thing goes for hair dryers. Most hotels carry decent hair dryers. Don’t bring your own if you can avoid it, a hair dryer takes up a LOT of space!
4. Clothing – Pick tops and bottoms that are interchangeable and plan to dress in layers. Airports, airplanes and meeting rooms all have varying temperatures, you may be warm or cold so make sure you can discard the first layer or add it back on.
5. Avoid checking your baggage- Trust me this is the biggest pain in the ass. I strongly suggest getting a carry on piece of luggage and cramming that thing full. And don’t forget you can also pack stuff into your additional carry on.
6. For the ladies – don’t bring a big purse. A wristlet containing your ID, cash and credit cards is ideal but if you do bring a purse make sure it zips on top. I have a lovely small purse that I hauled along with me and the top has a buckle/flap:
By the end of the trip that buckle/flap thing-y was a major source of annoyance, what I wouldn’t have given for a small purse that zips on top! Trust me between airport security, hotel check-in, etc; You spend a lot of time reaching into your purse: getting your ID, credit card, money to tip, etc; etc; Which brings me to another tip:
7. Slim down your wallet. You know that fat bulging wallet? It will be nothing but a pain to get in and out of your purse or carry on. Again, ask yourself what you really need. The Costco Card? Your Macy’s credit card? A month of old recipets? Five dollars in change? Get rid of all of it! You only need your drivers license/passport, a credit card, some singles and your health insurance card. Beyond that get rid of everything else!
8. Pockets: On your travel days wear something with pockets, this makes it really easy to throw your boarding pass, loose change, etc; It was only on the way home, wearing jeans that I realized how great it is to have pockets!
9. Coping with time changes – for me the west coast is a three hour time difference. I pretty much didn’t feel the time change at all because I stayed up as late as possible my first night in Seattle. I felt like falling asleep at 6 pm local time, instead I went to the gym and ran two miles on the treadmill, went back to my room showered and then went and ate a light dinner. By the time I got done with all that, it was 9 o’clock local time. I went back to my room and kept myself awake for another hour reading The Hunger Games. The next morning I was ready to go. I did the same thing when I got back to the east coast.
10. Don’t stay out late partying – this is not my tip, I work in HR so I don’t get to go on those kinds of business trips. That tip, comes from another experienced traveler I know. Remember you are working, so after staying out late drinking, you now have to get up for an 8 AM meeting…besides all the other issues that come with mixing alcohol and work, can you really do your best hungover and tired? Yea didn’t think so.
Those are my top tips, what about you? Any wisdom or experience you want to add? Leave a comment