Even when you’ve traveled countless times, the first business trip can sound daunting. What’s the most practical way to pack for this occasion? How do you maintain looking professional while jet-lagged? What if you have to go straight to a meeting from the airplane, or worse, what if there’s a delay and you now go straight to a meeting although the initial plan was to go to the hotel? That, and other questions that might swivel round your mind, or matters you didn’t even think of that are worth preparing for. We’re here to provide you with the hacks to make your first business trip successful and comfortable, all the while keeping in mind the aspects of business travel specific to the modern-day professional woman.
Keeping track of expense reports
Keeping tabs is the part of business travel that makes it significantly different, and more difficult than traveling for pleasure. Everything needs to be documented and kept track of so you can show the reports to your boss, even if that boss is you. That means boarding passes, receipts, discount cards, tickets, coupons, etc. The smartest and most effective way to stay on top is to employ apps, so you’re not left with a binder full of papers and notes. Passbook is an app which you can use as a digital wallet and compile everything, and Lemon is another one where you can upload photos of receipts, search them easily, put together summary reports and track your expenses.
Dress for business and comfort
Don’t worry that you’ll end up rushed to meeting in your airplane pajamas, or that you have to sit through an uncomfortable ride in business attire that’s getting wrinkly and stuffy as each moment passes by. Dress smart so that you’re ready for a meeting in case of delay, or so you don’t have to change in an airport restroom. Here’s an idea from the sleepwear brand Lunya: they developed a 5-piece travel kit for women that feel like PJ’s but is classy and elegant enough to have you looking presentable wherever you arrive. Pair that with a comfortable jacket that’s cleverly designed by the same principle, and you’re ready to hit a board meeting, client dinner, or any other kind of event upon arrival – without giving up on comfort. Or, you can just pack your favorite blazer in your carry-on luggage.
The good old trick us ladies love to employ is mandatory on business travel: travel in regular, comfortable shoes (such as flats) and pack your heels into your handbag. Naturally, that implies you’ll need a handbag large enough for both your heels and your walking shoes. But it’s the best way to guarantee you’ll be swishing through meetings painlessly, and always ready in case of last minute schedule changes.
Easy on the toiletries
Pack light – preferably, using just carry-on luggage, because not having to wait at baggage claim will save you a lot of time, and chances are, you need very few essential pieces for the entire trip. This is a time to use your luggage space sparingly and avoid any risk of spillage in your suitcase. Plus, packing minimal toiletries will ensure there’s no hassle with TSA compliances and you don’t have to measure each and everything. North Shore accommodation staff suggest that any presentable facility will have all the toiletries you need, and it’s best to call ahead to inquire about the details. Take a tip from the pros and call your hotel ahead; they’ll be happy to comply and you won’t have to worry about late-night trips to drugstores.
Pack a medicine kit
This is something that should, however, take up the minimal space it requires on your carry-on luggage. You never know when you might need an Aspirin or medicine for cramps, and you don’t want to be left without them at the airport. A small medicine kit with all the essentials will save you trouble and have you feeling at peace on your journey even if, hopefully, you end up not requiring any of its contents.
Use packing cubes
If, however, you’re going on a longer trip and need to carry a large suitcase, use packing cubes to stay organized and ensure there’s no spillage inside. It’s an especially handy hack if you’re thinking of shopping for some extra stuff (including food) to bring back home.
Keep chargers on hand
Considering that you’re traveling on business, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t use your phone to check emails or quickly whip out your laptop if need be. Keep all your chargers on hand (they might be right there along with the heels inside the bag!).
Lastly, mind your well-being. Travel can be stressful, and with the responsibility of work added, it can get overwhelming. Do light stretching, meditation or yoga at your hotel to relieve stress and give your body some stimulation. Also, keep in mind that although this is a business trip, it is a trip, after all, so make the best of the time you have, enjoy yourself, connect with new people and learn from the experience. Stay smart, comfortable, and happy traveling!