“To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Anderson
For many years I traveled at a rate of a minimum three to four days per week. Some trips lasted one to two weeks, through weekends. During that time I adapted some useful habits to make life easier and thought they were worth passing along. Of course if you are a veteran Road Warrior, you probably have these and some of your own…let me know!
Let’s begin with a great example of a travel trick used by Neville Isdell, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. Rumor has it that he used to have two suitcases constantly pre-packed in the colors of blue and red. The suitcase colored blue was packed for cold climates. So heavier suits, vests, overcoat. And the red? Yes you guessed it, for the warmer climate countries, so lightweight suits and jackets. That level of simplistic organization is an example of why he was such a very successful leader and businessman.
Here are some simple things you can do to make your travel easier.
1. Have a Packing List
No matter how many trips I made, I always referred to a packing list. Otherwise, I invariably forgot something. This is no big deal if you are traveling within the U.S. or Europe because you should be able to buy the same items easily. However, on a short trip you may not have the time to go and shop and when you start going to Asia, or Latin America, the items you normally use, such as toiletries, may not be available. I had two packing lists; one for two to three days and one for more than four days. The difference was that the longer trip packing list would have more casual items to be added for the weekends and evenings; including trainers, casual shoes, sports clothes and tops.
2. Travel Wardrobe
I reserved certain items in my closet for travel. Certain color pants and shirts that went together, as well as jackets. I also had a travel outfit that was comfortable but casually smart. On long flights with short one-to-two hour changes in plane or layovers, Neville Isdell carried a suit on board to change into before touchdown so he was appropriately dressed as CEO and Chairman.
I keep two sets of toiletries. The choice of brands for shampoo, shower gel and moisturizers are all the same, but for traveling they are poured into and kept in sealed travel containers ready to slip in the outside of my garment bag ready to transfer into the security bins for x-ray at the airports.
3. Have the right luggage
What do I mean by that? Well, luggage, suitcases and travel bags should be chosen carefully to accommodate what you intend to travel with on a regular basis. For the two-to-three day trips, or trips where I will be changing planes and hotels every one to two days, I prefer to carry on. Most people go for rollerboards now. However, I have noticed that if the size is not carefully chosen, boarding becomes a stop-and-go process because numerous passengers have a futile battle to stuff an oversize bag into a space ill-designed to accommodate it. Common sense appears to have disappeared quicker than Harry Potter in his invisible cloak. Often, the result is that people cannot get their ill-chosen luggage into the overhead bins and it ends up in the hold anyway. I might add that airlines have not helped this situation by charging for luggage to go in the hold.
For that reason, and for convenience, I carry on a garment bag. On a short business trip, I like to have shirts and pants hanging. I use hangers covered in laundry plastic bags which keeps them from creasing. I can carry it over my shoulder and it slides easily into the overhead bin, even in the commuter planes such as Bombardier CRJ and Embraer’s.
For a trip over four days where I’m going to be lugging things more, I go for larger version of the garment bag with wheels, so I can still accommodate the suit, pants and shirts, along with jackets and more casual clothing.
This is the part I really like! I carry most of an Apple Store with me! So I need a bag that can accommodate the following:
MacBook Air 13″ with adaptor, extension lead and adaptor for MacBook to projector for presentations.
Combined laser pointer and remote slide changer for PowerPoint decks.
iPad and charger
iPhone and charger
Mophie Power-station PRO power charger so I’m never out of power.
For overseas trips, I carry several adaptors, at least three for whichever country I’m going to. The multi adaptors are too big and I often need three things (phone, notebook, iPad) charging at the same time, especially overnight.
5. Carry on bag
My briefcase is Tumi and I have two versions, one for the two-to-three day trip and one for longer trips. They are both similar but the latter one has wheels and is larger, allowing room for stuff that I typically collect on my travels; such as files, samples etc., that you don’t want to put in the suitcase. I like to be able to access different things on a flight depending on the space I have and what I feel I want to work on, so both my briefcases are capable of sliding under the seat in front of me.
So, like well run meetings, it’s all about preparation. Let me know if you have some great travel tips to share!