Packing for any trip can be stressful. A business trip, however, can add another level of stress as work items on top of personal items can easily be overlooked. Forgetting essential items when you’re trying to be professional and responsible in front of managers or co-workers can be a total distraction from your tasks at hand. I’ve had a few embarrassing moments myself on work trips when I’ve forgotten my computer charger or my wallet, and it never feels good to look forgetful.
One major change that I’ve made to my routine when prepping for a trip now is to start earlier than you might expect. As I’m going through morning routines the week before a trip, I start to set aside all of the products and items I use on a regular basis, and put them in a single area from where I can grab them and pack them later. As I’m going through my work week, I set aside notebooks, important documents, papers and electronics in their own area. I also start to consider what clothes I need to pack for work meetings, dinners and any other planned activities to ensure I look professional but appropriately dressed for each occasion.
Here are the categories of items I start to compile early for a business trip:
- Toiletries and Make-Up for professional appearance daily
- Professional outfits and shoes for each day
- Important Paperwork and Documents that apply to the business trip’s purpose
- Computer, Phone, Tablet chargers and accessories (including any outlet adaptors for other countries)
- Any samples, prototypes or references I may need to apply to the business trip’s purpose
- Items that I may need or want for any downtime at the Hotel in between meetings (this could be work for other clients, books to read or sight-seeing guides, etc.)
This can be an annoying process, for sure. The week before a trip, my house starts to have little piles of items in various areas for me to eventually pack, and it can create some unwanted clutter. But it has been a long time since I’ve forgotten anything important since starting this practice, so to me, it’s worth it!