Business travelers know that packing (and unpacking) is a necessary, but not fun, part of travel. Whether you pack heavy, like me, or minimalistic, packing carefully means considering what you will need and how much you will need. The types of clothes for each day, and all relevant accessories, must be considered. So, packing requires thought and it gets better with practice. There are those who take it to a science of mix and match attire, wash and wear clothing, and the use of space saving bags. I’m not into it that much, but I know I have seen many people – employees mainly – with whom I’ve traveled who, regardless of their education or experience level, do not properly consider their needs on a trip and end up forgetting something critical – like a tie, or shoes, or a winter coat in NY in January. In other writings we’ve addressed some of these issues, but the travel tip here is develop a personal checklist and refine it over time to ensure you take and have what you need. And, that brings me to the next point. In our work conducting mock trials, we go to the trial venue. We also video record the proceedings. Our projects require considerable paperwork for documentation and as a result of the paper and equipment, getting to a project involves lugging hundreds of pounds of luggage. Each project is different and may require different equipment. For this aspect of packing, a checklist is an absolute requirement. And, having someone double check the packed bags is a good idea as well. Getting to a destination and setting up for a mock trial, only to find you forgot the walkie talkies, or a video cable, can be devastating to the success of the project.
The bottom line, packing is not a mindless activity to be done at the last minute. Plan, use lists, and consider the full scenario to be sure that you have what you need. The real work, as well as the travel, is stressful and hard enough when you show up with everything you need. Getting there, only to realize you are missing something distracts and detracts from the real focus of the work or travel experience.
I am a road and sky warrior. I am packed and ready to go anywhere, anytime. I have two of all essential toiletry and personal items so that I can keep one of everything in my suitcase at all times. I usually re-stock toiletry items upon returning from a trip (based on a list I make upon running out of an item) so that I won’t forget anything when I am getting ready to leave on the next trip. I am a minimalist packer, meaning I take only the clothes and other items I absolutely need on a particular trip. I used to make lists of clothes I need to take, but after decades of traveling for business, I have packing down to a science. One of the main things I always do before packing is check the weather at my destination. I am fortunate to live in beautiful south Florida, where the weather doesn’t vary with the seasons. However, I have coats of many varieties and I have never been cold because I forgot Detroit is frigid in January or wet because I forgot it rains a lot in Boston, etc. In the event I have forgotten something or I visited San Francisco during a heat wave or I just can’t resist buying new sandals, there is usually a retailer that can accommodate my needs. Overall, however, I prefer to take what I need and spend my time doing something, usually work, other than shopping for items I forgot to pack. As an aside, when I travel with my spouse/business partner, he packs everything but the kitchen sink, so he usually has exactly what I need, in his heavy suitcase, at any given moment!