Howdy! I know what you’re thinking, “Packing? How hard can that be?” but take it from someone who has made many Target runs due to lack of underwear- you can seriously learn from those who have come before you in the world of traveling. Spending Monday through Thursday on the client site and praying you remembered socks just isn’t going to cut it after a while, trust me. As such, I wanted to take a little time and give some tips to all of you who, like me, travel so much that you consider your apartment just one huge closet.
Tip for packing #1: Find a routine and stick to it
Some of you are morning people (lucky dogs…), some of us are night owls, some of us are planners, and some of us are just plain procrastinators, but know which you are and schedule your packing accordingly. You should pick a day/time that you pack your suitcase for the coming week and always stick to that time. One of my colleagues dumps her suitcase out when she comes home on Thursday and immediately packs for the next week. Another colleague packs on Sunday nights. Myself- I procrastinate and pack before my taxi arrives on Monday morning. No matter when you decide to pack, it helps to be consistent.
Tip #2: Never only pack what you need
Girls- we’ve had this packing methodology down for years, but men- its time you take a hint from your female friends and over pack. Things you know you need: 4 outfits for work. That’s about it.
Things that are essential to bring every single week:
- Jeans: I can’t overemphasize jeans enough. The people on your project are going to be your friends-away-from-friends for the next few months and you’re all going to want to go out to dinner, play Top Golf, grab drinks, and check out that new movie with that one girl in it. Jeans are a necessity and are wonderful because you can throw them on with whatever business shirt you are already wearing.
- Extra shirt: Projects are unpredictable and you never know when you will be asked to stay on Fridays. If you’re like me and don’t mind the occasional excuse to shop, this isn’t as big of a deal. The extra shirt also comes in handy for that coffee stain you didn’t notice until this morning.
- Meds: You can bring a handful of your favorite medication in your bag every week or leave it at your desk after week 1, but having Advil handy after dealing with the gum-smacker next to you on the airplane is always nice.
Tip #3: Hotels almost always have a storage room
“Please take your liquids out of your bag and place them in the tray,” will get old really quickly. I brought a small duffle in my suitcase week 1 of my project, went to Target (are we seeing a trend yet?) and bought full size toiletries. I then asked the hotel to keep that duffle over the weekend for me and they have been doing that ever since. It cuts time at security, and I don’t have to keep track of that illusive zip-lock.
Tip #4: Organization is key
Whether you have tons of liquids, 4 different types of cologne (1 for each day?) or tons of jewelry, you’re going to need a way of keeping everything together. I bought a small tackle box and use it to put all of my jewelry and some of my token meds. This is especially handy when I am at home because it’s a 1-stop shop for my accessories.
Tip #5: Know your hotel
Working out on the road is crucial, especially when you realize exactly what an expense report can buy you. That being said- you may not need to pack those clunky workout clothes every week. Some hotels, like the Westin, offer programs that allow you to pay $5 and they provide you with all the workout clothing you need, including shoes!
With these 5 things in mind, you will be all set for your next traveling project.