Pack the Tools You Need for Successful Business Travel

Dec 19, 2011

A man in a suit pulling a suitcase and carrying various other belongings

Business travel can be stressful. Take the pressure of a big meeting and multiply it by the hassle of travel, and it’s easy to lose your cool. But if you take the time to prepare, and arm yourself with the right tools, you’ll come off looking like a pro. Make a great business impression by following these simple tips.

Your Most Important Bag: Your Briefcase

  • • Bring plenty of business cards—more than you think you’ll need. If the meeting goes well, you may end up with introductions to higher-ups you weren’t even expecting to meet.

  • • Consider an Optical Disk Drive so you can burn discs on the fly. That way you can update your proposal based on meeting feedback and give clients a revised budget spreadsheet, all before you leave the building. You can also give clients a copy of your presentation to remind them of your key points. Many of today’s super-light notebook computers don’t have a built-in DVD writer, so a sleek peripheral is the way to go. Compatible with both Mac and PCs and available in seven colors, Samsung ODDs integrate seamlessly with your work laptop.

  • • Bring a new pack of blank DVD-Rs—again, more than you think you’ll need. Once they see how quick and easy it is for you to burn discs, meeting attendees may request additional copies to circulate among colleagues.

Pack Smart to Make a Great First Impression

  • • Stock your toiletries bag with a complete miniature set of your must-have products, including a designated travel toothbrush. Not only will you get through airport security with less hassle, you won’t have to unpack them when you get home. If your favourite hair product doesn’t come in a trial size, grab a set of inexpensive plastic containers at a drugstore.

  • • Since your new toiletries set complies with carryon requirements for liquids, you can keep it with you on the plane. Just prior to landing, head to the lavatory to splash some water on your face, use eye drops, and give your teeth a quick brushing.

  • • Though travelling in sweatpants is best left to the leisure travel set, you still may still want to bring a fresh set of clothes for your arrival. Even if it’s just a neatly folded shirt or blouse to change into in the airport bathroom, you’ll arrive at your meeting looking fresh and wrinkle-free.

  • • Planning to rent a car? If you have a portable GPS unit or GPS-enabled phone, pre-program your hotel and meeting locations so you’ll arrive stress-free at your destinations.

  • • Focus on packing light. For instance, two meetings in two cities in two days only require one suit. If you can limit yourself to a single carryon bag, you’ll save time, avoid baggage-check fees, and produce a smaller carbon footprint.

Prepare Yourself for the Main Event

  • • Spend some time on the plane reviewing the list of potential meeting attendees. They’ll be impressed when you’re able to effortlessly bring their titles and affiliations into the conversation.

  • • If your travel schedule allows, try to arrive 15 minutes early. Taking a little time to sit quietly after a long morning of travel can do wonders for frayed nerves.

  • • Just outside the door, remind yourself to stand up straight, take a deep breath, and focus on your goals for the meeting. Then go for it.