Travel Right for Work or Play This Summer

Are you the type of person that brings everything when you travel?  With airlines charging for bags it might cut down how much you want to bring on a trip, but how about when you travel for business?  Not only will the time away include business meetings but also evening events in a place that you’re not sure how to dress.  Perhaps it will be overseas or in another part of the country; how can you pack appropriately in one bag and have everything you need?  It’s a matter of planning.

Rather than stuff your bag to get everything you want into one parcel, start planning now for business travel.  It’s rather embarrassing when someone is there to pick you up and you have 3 bags for a week-long trip.  Unless one of those bags is the set up for the trade booth or merchandise for a trunk show think ahead and plan accordingly.

When you know you’re going to be traveling, look up the weather forecast on the internet.  This will help you in deciding what kinds of clothes to bring.  Whether traveling overseas or to another state, pack according to the general weather outlook.   It won’t be right all the time but you will get a general feel for the climate.  Humid climates, as those commonly found in Arkansas and Singapore require some thinking if you perspire easily.  If you’re traveling to a dry climate such as Phoenix or Dubai, the feel of the temperature is very different than a humid one so think this through.  As well, if you’ll be working in an air conditioned setting such as at a hotel or convention center and chill easily that will influence what you pack too.

Next, figure out your schedule of obligations such as meetings, tours of facilities, sightseeing, dinners, and banquets at these locations.  Consider the level of formality of the corporate culture that you’ll be visiting.  If it’s the company headquarters in New York you will want to bring either a suit or a jacket and tie.  Or if you’re visiting the company plant in South Carolina where everyone wears the same uniform from management to linesperson, then address the informality with a similar ensemble.  If traveling overseas to visit with market representatives in London, Paris or Beijing, the business culture is much more formal than in the US so bring a jacket, suit, or suit separates.

Now think about your luggage.  If you travel frequently you need a good piece of luggage that rolls and is the size appropriate for putting in the overhead compartment of the plane if you don’t want to check your luggage.  Consider a 20” Pullman with wheels.  Don’t expect the luggage you buy to last forever and realize that no matter what it will get beat up, bent and perhaps torn.  Luggage can range from a good value to very expensive depending on what your need is.  Consider these tips when making your choice:

  • Purchase luggage with wheels:  Most of us will be handling our own luggage up to the point we either store it in the overhead compartment or check it in at the airline desk.  You have several choices for wheels: spinners that rotate 360 degrees, oversized that can go over curbs and bumpy roads easily, or the most popular, in line skate wheels.  Make sure that the wheels are recessed so they don’t get torn off.
  • Check out the handles and seek either dual tube or soft handles for comfort especially if you’ll be handling your luggage the most.  Consider luggage with adjustable handles so you can attach a smaller bag easily.
  • Consider fabric when selecting luggage and choose a hard side case if you have valuables to protect to various grades of nylon such as ballistic nylon, which is extremely strong to your average variety polyester.
  • Make sure the bag has lots of pockets to separate and store your belongings on the inside as well as the exterior of the bag.
  • If security is an issue, have a TSA approved lock.  Check out their site for more information
  • Look for luggage that has enclosed spaces to store your liquids.

Now that we have our luggage what are some of the things that you will need to include to make your stay easier for you.

  • If you have a smart phone does it have GPS?  If not consider getting one.  Although many car rental companies such as Avis and Hertz have some installed or carry them for an extra charge.
  • Bring a folded umbrella just in case.
  • If traveling overseas you will need a voltage converter and an adapter kit of plugs.  If you visit one country extensively have several of the appropriate plugs so you can charge your phone and/or work on your computer (Most laptop computers are able to work off of either voltage).
  • Consider wrinkle release spray
  • Have a travel alarm clock or your cell that has an alarm setting if the location does not provide a wake-up call.
  • Back up travel documents including a copy of itinerary and passport.
  • USB memory stick, otherwise known as a flash drive.  However, may I also suggest having a back up by having the needed files on a cloud website such as or others.
  • Copy off any customer service numbers such as the airline number or travel agent.  Also if your credit card is loss or stolen you will need their number to report it.
  • Back up charger either a plug in or battery operated variety.  Most of us have at least 2 electronic devices with us on a regular basis so be prepared when one goes out  that you have back up.  Particularly if traveling to a country where the electricity is sometimes turned off during the day, the battery operated charger will be a life saver, just make sure that it’s charged.  Always bring extra batteries.
  • If you work out, check out the facilities at your destination online to see what’s available and pack accordingly.  You can’t bring all your work out outfits and shoes so determine what will work for you for the time away.

About vseitz

Marketing Professor at California State University, San Bernardino and author of "I Don't Wear A Suit."

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