A last-minute business trip can result in a flurry of “pack-tivity” as you scramble to remember everything you will need for the next few days. If you find that these sorts of trips are increasing in frequency, take a lesson from the cloak-and-dagger world of international espionage where last-minute travel is a given, and a “go bag” is essential. Think of your carry-on as your go bag. Put everything in it you might need should the sudden need to travel arise. Here are 10 things you’ll want to include:
Cell Phone Charger – Sort of like the police, cell phone chargers are never around when you really need them. Get a second charger that you use strictly for travel and stash it in your go bag. While you’re at it, a portable charging unit is a good idea as well. These are essentially rechargeable batteries with USB connections that enable you to charge your phone when there’s a scarcity of places to plug in (as in, most airports).
First-Aid Kit – We’re not talking about a full-blown doomsday prepper type of thing, but having a few items at the ready can keep you from paying a ridiculous premium at the airport or your hotel sundries shop. Aspirin, band-aids, tweezers, sinus relief, sleep-aids, eye drops, contact lens solution as well as a file and nail clippers are a great start. (Those band-aids are a must for those new, ill-fitting shoes nipping your ankles at a trade show.) If you include scissors, make sure that they are less than four inches in length to comply with FAA regulations.
Non-Perishable Snacks – A sealed baggie with a few snacks like energy bars, jerky and hard candies can give you a quick boost if you find yourself too busy to stop for a bite. Just like the First-Aid kit, having them handy can help you avoid paying premiums at the airport.
Change of Clothes – Having at least one change of clothes in your go-bag is a must. If you travel enough, at some point, you will be separated from your luggage. Make sure that you’ve got what you need if you are without your checked bag for a day or so.
Stash Some Cash – Since Tip-ping is not a city in China, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough small bills on hand to show your appreciation to your drivers, porters and the like. Since most ATM machines only dole out twenty dollar bills, having some singles and five’s in your bag will prove helpful. If you’ve ever gotten that look from your Uber driver when you ask him to break a twenty, you understand.
Essential Toiletries – Almost every hotel provides complimentary soaps and shampoos, so it’s not necessary to pack these unless you are beholden to a particular brand. If you choose to include them in your bag, there are strict limits on how, and how much you may pack in you carry on. According to the FAA “You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.” Any deviation from this protocol will result in you having to use the hotel’s brand, as yours will be confiscated at the security checkpoint.
Power Adapters – If you travel internationally for business then you will want to pre-pack the necessary outlet adapters for all your electric/electronic items. You can find kits that contain all the necessary adapters so you are prepared for every country.
Hand Sanitizer or Sanitizing Wipes – Millions of people travel by air and chances are, they’ve all touched the same handrails, door handles, and countertops. It just makes sense to try to limit your exposure to new viruses and other microbiological boogeymen. Save your personal time off days for something more pleasant than illness.
Passport – Even if you’re not traveling internationally, having your passport as a second form of ID can prove essential, should your purse or wallet be lost or stolen while you’re on the road. Without a valid ID, you won’t be able to board your flight back home, and may find yourself stranded. Keep it stashed in your go-bag. There’s no downside to being over-prepared with something that takes up so little room and is so lightweight.
Pens and a Notepad – It may sound obvious, but we’ve all seen (and may have been) the person using the cheap stick pen with the hotel’s name emblazoned on it because they remembered to bring everything but the most basic tool of the trade. Be sure to stash an unopened package of your favorite pens and one or two note pads in your bag. (This is also a great help when you need to quiet those nearby unruly children without iPads who need to draw or color for distraction.)
Having these essentials prepped will let you to lift your gaze from your luggage to the business landscape ahead, and not be mired in the minutia–or packing panic–of business travel.
What are some of your must-pack items when you travel for business? Sound off in the comments below to share!