Be prepared for
business on the road
By Brenda Kinsel
|Visualize the trip ahead of time
The best way to ensure a successful trip is to think it through thoroughly and create a master list that can be revised and reused. Mentally walk through every aspect of your trip from getting to the airport and to the hotel, to meetings, to any social events and then back home again. Put your plan to paper and divide the list of things you need into four categories: 1) clothing ensembles for your meetings and personal use; 2) grooming and beauty supplies; 3) your traveling office supplies and presentation needs; and 4) items for travel days. You will have greater peace of mind and confidence if you have written down your plan and can then simply follow it.
Much of what you need for traveling can be pre-packed in ready-to-go bundles so all you do is put them in your suitcase before you go. If you’re a frequent flyer, keep these bundles in your suitcase or devote a place at home for travel supplies. Place all your travel documents—confirmation emails, passport, itineraries—in a file folder or large envelope. Collect travel supplies in a large basket as you think about them in the days before a trip. Likewise, start collecting and editing the clothing you’ll bring. Write these items on your master list and then create your ready-to-go travel bundles.
Although you may have access to office supplies at your destination, bring a few essential supplies in case the place you are going doesn’t have what you need. Use a zippered pencil pouch or resealable plastic bag and include two or three pens and pencils, a few paper clips, transparent tape, a stapler with staples, rubber bands, sticky notes, correction tape, envelopes, binder clips and anything else you will need. Always packed, this office-in-a-bag keeps you independent when you’re away.
If you don’t have one already, consider setting up an email account that you can access from any computer. Email your presentation or business documents to that email address or to someone at your destination. You should also back up everything onto a memory stick. In many cases, you can use someone else’s computer, pop in your memory stick and be ready. It never hurts to carry a hard copy with you. Write out your must-have items on your master list.
|Ready-to-go tech support
In addition to any cords or cables you need for your laptop computer or other devices, remember to bring wall and car chargers (if applicable) for your phone. Consider packing an Ethernet cable in case there’s no wireless in your room, electrical adapters, a USB cable and even an extra extension cord. These important supplies can stay packed inside a suitcase pocket. An inexpensive and lightweight surge protector can also slide into that pocket and be used to charge all your electronic equipment while you sleep. Create a master list of these supplies.
|Ready-to-go grooming and beauty
To make life easier, get travel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries. There are plenty of websites that offer a variety of travel-sized products that go beyond what you might find at your local drugstore (minimus.biz and alltravelsizes.com, for starters).
In addition to any necessary prescription medicines, you may also want to bring a few first-aid items to treat headaches, allergies or congestion, cuts and upset stomachs. For minor medical needs, it is convenient to have a few things on hand.
Cull your makeup stash and decide what’s absolutely necessary. Purchase duplicates of these products. It may seem extravagant to have two of the same thing, but you’ll use them both, and not having to transfer makeup between different cases is a time-saver that makes the initial investment worthwhile. Smaller makeup brush sets are also available. Remember to bring only what you’ll use. Less is best. Make a list of those items, laminate it and keep it in your makeup travel bag.
For a super easy and inexpensive makeup or toiletries kit, use that same zippered pencil pouch or resealable plastic bag. They zip closed and are great for multiple uses.
At least a week prior to your trip, decide what you’ll wear. This gives you time to get clothes dry cleaned if necessary. Consider what you will be doing and what the weather will be like. Look for clothes that are naturally wrinkle-free: polyester and polyester blends, spandex, nylon, cotton and silk knits and superfine wool.
If you want to bring something you don’t normally wear, try it on to make sure it fits.
Limit workout clothes to one set and wash them out in the sink at night and hang to dry. Look for fabrics with wicking properties. In a large zippered travel envelope, store nightclothes, underwear and socks.
Planning keeps you from over packing. When possible, roll clothes instead of folding them. When you get to your hotel room, hang up your clothes to minimize wrinkling.
|Ready-to-go travel day
Before your travel day arrives, make sure you have all your flight, hotel and car rental information on your phone so it is handy when you arrive at the counter. Make sure you have your passport, credit card information, traveler’s checks and cash in a secure place where you can get to it. Set your phone alarm to go off 24 hours before your flight departure so you can check in. Gather any reading materials, projects or entertainment devices you want to have for the flight. Bring a light snack, if desired.
Once you get home, learn from what worked. Adjust your master list, replenish your supplies and get ready to do it again.
|Tips for common travel dilemmas|
Limit what you bring to a carry-on. If you need to check luggage, pack essentials in a carry-on.
|Variable weather conditions
Pack clothing that can be layered.
Build in a cushion of time, when possible. Check on-time flight statistics for different airlines and airports.
|Airport security line hassles
Pack liquids and your laptop in the outside pocket of your carry-on bag.
|Food and drink stains
Bring stain-remover wipes for clothing.
|Stolen passport and credit cards
Keep a copy of passport and credit card information (account numbers and contact numbers) in a separate, secure location.
Brenda Kinsel is a 25-year veteran of the image industry. A national speaker and author of five popular books on fashion and style, she has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Canada AM and HGTV as well as numerous radio and newspaper sources globally. She is the image and wardrobe guru heard weekly on the syndicated radio show called The Richard Stevens Show. Visit her online at www.brendakinsel.com.