One of the most popular topics on business and tech blogs is travel. Over the years, there have been hundreds of different must lists for what to bring on a business trip. Of course, people have their own opinions and you can’t even find experts who agree on the essential items to pack for a short business trip.
Books on the subject make a better attempt but end up with separate chapters for each type of professional. The truth is that there can’t be one list that applies year after year. Technology and culture change at a pretty rapid pace these days. So, here’s a generalist’s list of the top five things everyone should drag along on their next business trip, assuming it’s not an international journey:
Your Essential Tech
You know what you need, tech-wise, and what sort of access you need. Make absolutely sure that the hotel you’ll be staying at has a reliable Internet connection. If you’re stuck in the middle of a rural area, or in the mountains, there’s a chance you won’t be able to do what you need to do. Whether that means tapping into your cloud-based accounting data, working with a Docker syslog server or simply sending an email to the home office, make sure you’ll have net and phone access.
Laptop bags and phone charges fit in this category too. You’ll really need the bag because airport security wants those laptops out and visible. If your device and cords are not in their own container, you’ll be scrambling just to get through the line. Bring extra phone chargers. Some surveys say that they are the most forgotten item on business trips. When in doubt, pack three of them and you’ll never be in need.
This is a huge category where people seem to get lost in the weeds making endless lists. You’ll need business clothes, one set of casual things, and maybe some workout or sweat suits. Check the weather before you go and be ready for extremes. It’s smart to bring an empty garbage bag for items destined for the washing machine once you get home.
Shampoo and Such
Never assume your hotel will have the items you prefer. Pack your favorites and check on the location of the nearest retail store in your destination city. You can always buy what you need in a pinch. Plus, you won’t have to suffer through the airport inspection hassle if you travel without all your personal care items.
If you’ve ever forgotten your cards, you know what a sinking feeling it can be. One of the main activities on any business trip involves connection-making and networking. Cards are the currency of interpersonal relations on a major trip, so bring twice as many as you think you’ll need.
Your Favorite Office Supplies
Those cheap pens you love are hard to find in a strange new city. Before leaving, go through your office desk and pack a small bag of all your old familiars. Grab those pens, hole punchers, mechanical pencils, markers you’ve come to think of as old friends, note pads and anything else you can think of.