Now, over the years, I’ve accumulated my fair share of packing wisdom, from the basic ‘no duhs’ to some unconventional gems of genius. Today, I’d like to share all of my best tips with you! While I’m still the world master of ‘panic packing’ (aka throwing all my stuff in a suitcase while sobbing), having these tips in mind often helps me hold things together. Without further ado, here are my golden essential tips for smart packing.
Never forget to pack multiple power banks/portable phone chargers when traveling for business. Low battery anxiety is real—there’s even a name for it: Nomophobia (Google it!). Please note: low battery anxiety is exacerbated when traveling. There is no reason to land at your destination on 10 percent phone power. As a businessperson, I cannot afford to lose my connection to my customers, social media, email, the outside world. Even a small power bank solves the problem and eliminates unnecessary stress.
You might want to mention that many (most?) banks with online services allow you to instantly set daily & weekly limits on your ATM and credit card purchases, and many of them let you adjust those limits for a particular period of time, such as when you are traveling. I always set lower limits on my cards when I am traveling, just a bit of insurance.
If travelling for a long time, take your own device that can pick up wifi, like a smartphone or tablet. We didn’t do this because we didn’t want to bring an expensive item backpacking, but it turned out to be incredibly expensive to use the internet, or impossible to find any. Yet there is free wifi in places all around the world, and you quickly realise how often you need to tap in to things like bank accounts or travel bookings. More: 10 ways to cut your smartphone roaming costs
Get ready to roll. With its mild climate, outstanding highway system, and nonstop-gorgeous scenery, California stands out as the perfect place for a road trip. And renting a car is about as easy as it gets. Whether your trip itinerary is a statewide tour of California’s greatest hits, a all-in-the-family visit to iconic theme parks, or an off-the-beaten-track adventure, there’s a vehicle to match your mood and style—snazzy convertibles, family-friendly vans, rugged models that can handle all types of conditions (even snow), even campers and Rvs, all in excellent shape and with good road assistance and optional insurance policies.
Don’t arrive at your holiday destination and be faced with a pile of ironing. To save space and stop creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them, then place them in vacuum compression bags. To use these bags, put your clothes in, seal the bag, then squeeze the air out. This will leave you with lots more space in your suitcase and will prevent creases.
All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)
Long distance, "The next best thing to being there!" I say, "Well, better than nothing anyway." But now, there's a new way of "being there" that I find much more satisfying. SKYPE. Be sure to install Skype on your laptop and use it for video calls home each evening. No built-in camera? You can buy one for as little as $30 if you need to. It is also good for video conference calls back to the office if those are needed (you need the "business" version to conference). I'd highly recommend it.
The number one thing to remember if you’re going on a business trip is that you have limited time in your hands. Plan your days, weeks and month ahead. Maximize this time by organizing and setting meetings before you fly out, use the travel time to do one of these two things: your research on the place and people you are visiting or event you’re attending or administrative work.
That said, however, there are scammers out there, and it's the naive rookie travellers that provide their easiest targets. I was scammed the first time I travelled. And the second time. And the third time. There's no easy way around this – you're often dealing with pros who've been doing this their entire lives. Just roll with the punches and try not to part with too much cash. (Read: Ten classic travel scams)
“I couple the carry-on mentality with wearing my bulkiest clothing items for the travel itself. If you sport your bulkiest shoes and a jacket, you can clear plenty of space for more items in your carry-on while having an extra layer for the chilly plane ride. I also pack a large plastic bag in my carry-on that I can use after passing security to redistribute any items from my luggage and store my shoes overhead during the flight. Bring a pair of comfortable socks and enjoy your upgraded shoe-free leg room, all while experiencing the relief of embracing the minimalist approach to packing and enabling your trip to be filled with experiences rather than clutter.”
This advice is twofold: Wear layers and pack in layers. First, your on-the-road wardrobe should feature plenty of layers, which will help you jetset through multiple climates in style and comfort. Second, the items in your bag should be packed in neat layers for easy screening. According to the TSA, "Pack items in layers (shoes one layer, clothes one layer, electronics one layer, etc.)" so that the security agent screening your bag can get a clear picture of what's inside. The faster the TSA agent can screen your stuff, the faster you'll get through the security line.
Based on no scientific data (but plenty of anecdotal proof), we're sure shaving cream is the most-forgotten toiletry in the travel tool kit. Man or woman, you're likely going to need to shave at some point on any trip, so finding yourself without can be problematic. Worse, most hotels don't offer shaving cream in their repertoire of free items. But hair conditioner, which comes standard with nearly all hotel rooms, makes a perfectly acceptable substitute. And it has the added benefit of being moisturizing, so you can be smooth and supple in one easy step.
Space will be tight in your backpack, so you’ll want everything to be essential. If your clothes require ironing or will get destroyed easily, don’t pack them. I brought a fancy dress around the world with me and not only did I never wear it (because I was a backpacker and nobody was wearing stuff like that) but I felt guilty about throwing it out, so carried it around with me for an entire year! Don’t do this — bring clothes you don’t care about and replace them for cheap on the road.
I would prefer to book aisle seats on international flights, I really use the bathroom and I find it uncomfortable to ask other people to give me space if I´m on the window seat, plus I´m always tempted to go to my hand luggage in international flights to take out the book, or put it back, to take out some slippers or put it back… I´m such a mess hehe… so I really need the aisle seat…
Knowing that you have the facility to travel so widely and so often makes me feel that you have a limited perspective into most peoples holiday regimes. Not everyone can afford to get themselves so comfortably into as many destinations as you have, your advice is very much of interest to a niche market of youngsters that do not work in factories or building sites. 100 tips just spread it out too thinly.
Hotels hate having empty rooms, so if you can, wait until the last minute to book your stay to get the best rates. On the other hand, if you need to cancel your hotel reservation last minute and want to avoid a cancellation fee, you can often manipulate a small loophole by rescheduling for a later date (which is usually free), and then calling and requesting a cancellation through another representative.
Reversible clothes can add color to your travel wardrobe and give you plenty of options, all in one garment. Look for pieces that have bright patterns on one side and basic neutrals on the other for maximum use. The reversible V-neck pullovers from L.L.Bean are great for winter getaways, while tank tops with neckline options, such as this one from Anthropologie, add versatility (and endless outfit permutations) to an otherwise basic garment. For men, we like this plaid jacket from yoga outfitter Prana.
Know Your Limits: Remember you’re not there to enjoy the nightlife- business is priority. While you may be excited to experience a new city, save the crazy adventures for pleasure travel. Know your limits before you hit the town with your coworkers, and don’t drink as though you’re out with your buddies. Remember that you’re representing your company, and any misconduct reflects poorly on them, and can be reported to the CEO.
One other scenario: you have plenty of time, but know that your flight is nearly full, and the line is long. Every minute you spend in line is another minute that the window and aisle seats are given away. If you check in with the skycap, then sprint to the gate for your seat assignment, you’ll often find that the line at the gate is much shorter than at check-in, and you’ll actually get your seat assignment more quickly.
Tucked between San Diego and Los Angeles Counties, this region is known for flawless beaches and “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland Resort. Anaheim, the theme park’s home, offers a surprisingly hip vibe in a refurbished downtown. Newport Beach has dazzling yachts, Huntington Beach has iconic surfing, and Costa Mesa beckons with top shopping.
Money belts are dumb. They’re uncomfortable to wear under your clothes, every time you need to pay for something, it looks like you’re rummaging around in your underwear, and thieves are well aware of their existence. When someone robbed a friend of mine in Brazil, the first thing they did was lift up their top to check for a money belt. Just do whatever you normally do with money at home: put it in your pocket or your purse/wallet.
How do you usually organise all of your electronics, cables, those fiddly bits that take you ages to dig out at security? Stuff them in like the rest of us? Well, if you want to organise your packing then get yourself a stash of ziplock bags. Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones – take extra plastic bags (the same ones you’d use for hand luggage liquids) and use them to store electrical items, things for the journey home (house keys, parking ticket and car keys), medication and other loose accessories. And if you do love a gadget, then you should check out our top travel accessories.
“Place all your clothes into your bag vertically so it looks more like a filing cabinet; this way you can see all the clothes you have with you without having to lift up or remove the ones on top. From here you not only have a better view (and reminder) of how many shirts or pairs of pants you have but you can also see which shirts (or whatever clothing item) stand out and potentially don’t match your outfits. Remove the oddballs.”
We love this TSA-friendly recipe for stone-fruit oatmeal squares. Filled with natural fruit flavors but not overly sweet, they can serve as a quick afternoon snack or ready-to-go breakfast treat for an early-morning flight. Even better, they can be baked and frozen in advance so you won't have to scramble to prep right before you depart. Just take one or two out of the freezer as you head to the airport and allow them to thaw on your way. The recipe is also quite versatile. You can use any stone fruits, such as nectarines, peaches, or plums, making the squares especially ideal in summer (though pretty much any fruit, including apples and berries, can be substituted as the seasons change).
As a productivity trainer, I travel quite frequently. Sometimes, there can be quite a bit of downtime. It could be long delays between flights, or canceled flights requiring you to rebook on a later flight. This often causes travelers a great deal of stress. But don’t fear downtime. If your flight gets delayed, you might default to checking your email or doing other work. But it may actually be more productive to use this unexpected time to meditate or just let your mind wander. This kind of mental break really boosts your productivity and creativity.
Other smart garments include vests with elaborate hidden storage systems, scarves with savvy pockets, and ExOfficio's insect-repellant button-downs (perfect for a trip that takes you from indoors to out). Convertible bags will also extend your wardrobe and lighten your carry-on load; this option from Tumi converts from a flight-friendly backpack to a tote bag for everyday use.
If you're like me, when you pack your suitcase, you put your special stuff in other bags, like small zipper bags inside of your bigger bag. If you're nodding, then you know ID-ing those smaller bags can be time consuming. A no-brainer remedy is to simply drop your business card into every one of these little bags, including eyeglass cases, pouches for cables and chords, makeup and shampoo bags, and even shoe and dry cleaning bags. This has saved me many a trip to lost and found.
If you're traveling to a "regular" city and you're not taking clients out, a great way to save money is to get a gift card to a chain restaurant(s) you like. You save time, as you know the menu in advance and you potentially save money/hassles over unknown local options/hotel offerings. Of course, make sure that the chain exists where you're staying and this advice is for "regular" meals only - not trying local cuisine. This way, you can focus on business with one less distraction.
Definitely one of the best travel lists/posts I ever read and I read a LOT! :) Thank you so much for the work you put in this. I travel, too, and have my own tips but for example I never realized my pills take up a lot of space in the blister packs (plus I’m not English so I just learned new words “blister pack” :D) and that I could take them out to save the space. I love tips like these :)
Use a partner to help out. Get them to stand a bit away, so they don’t get drawn in, but still in earshot so they can hear. When you’ve done a bit of haggling, bring them over and say ‘do you think this is worth the price?’. If they agree that it is, you’ve got a deal, if not it gives you another bargaining angle – ‘I’m sorry sir, my friend thinks I’m still paying a bit too much, could you go any lower?’.
If you know that there is a good chance you will be traveling, especially if you will be traveling during a peak season or holiday, start looking into your travel arrangements. Many times, it’s best to book your flight, hotel and car together as you will get a better deal. If you have to travel last minute, there is always the Skiplagged option, but make sure you are fully aware of the stipulations associated with booking travel through such a site. If you find you are booking travel for more than one employee often, it’s best to use a travel management site like American Express Global Travel. I know it doesn’t seem like a cost-effective option for all small businesses, but it is something to consider as they have saved my clients and me the expense of having to change last-minute travel plans.