Traveling is usually just part of the job for many business professionals—whether it’s a two-hour car ride a few cities over or a six-hour plane trip several states away. Whatever the case is, traveling has the potential to be a major pain in the behind.
Something as simple as forgetting to pack a charger can turn what should have been a decent business trip into a horrible and awkwardly disappointing voyage where your only entertainment is the airline magazine or the shopping catalogue. Yikes.
While forgetting to pack certain life-sustaining items or taking one wrong turn too many is unavoidable at points, there are ways to minimize the potential for a wayward business trip. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
It might seem like overkill, but if you take the time to create a legitimate traveling checklist, you’ll never have to do it again. And you’ll be so much better off as a result. On this list should be everything you absolutely cannot go a day without—like contact solution—or items you can never be a city away from, like an inhaler. Add things to this list that you’ll need no matter where you go, like a toothbrush, a couple pairs of underwear, and a phone charger. Once you have a basic foundational list of must-haves you can tailor the rest of the list to the specific area you’ll be journeying to. A swimsuit may not be applicable to the trip up to North Dakota in the winter.
Are you looking for a surefire way to ruin any trip? Then know absolutely nothing about where you’re going. If you want your trip to run smoothly, then you need to be prepared, and the only way this is going to happen is if you do a little research. See what the weather is like, how far away your hotel is from your meeting place, and how much it will cost you to rent a car versus call a taxi. If you’re a heavy traveler, it might be a good idea to create a short questionnaire for yourself, save it on your computer, and then fill it out every time you go out of town. How you answer these questions should help you determine what you’ll need to add to your must-have checklist, as well as how to prepare yourself financially and logistically.
The more organized that you are, the more of an opportunity you have for a better experience. To do this, purchase a small binder, section it off by tabs, and insert a sheet protector in-between each tab. You can have a tab dedicated to directions—to the airport, to your hotel, to your destination—and you can have a tab dedicated to reservations, agendas, local information, and anything else you might need to know or have. Every time you go somewhere, print this information out and slip it into a sheet protector. This will save you from trying to locate required documents that are buried under loads of luggage and fast-food wrappers or from forgetting valuable documents altogether. There’s nothing worse than holding up the line at the airport because you have to basically unpack your entire suitcase to find your itinerary code.
Be prepared and don’t be afraid to make lists. It’ll take the stress out of traveling and you’ll feel comfortable knowing you have all your essentials. If you forget a scarf, oh well. If you forget your medication, major problem. And the more you travel (whether by ground, air, or sea) the smoother things will go. You’ll become familiar with airports, with the highway system, with the rules of the ocean. You’ll be a master traveler in no time, and if you already are, hopefully these tips will help make things even easier for you.