So it got me thinking about writing a post with all the tips for easy business travel that I've accumulated over the years, one that is meant as an easy guide for all the business trip newbies out there, and which hopefully will take the stress of packing and travelling away and leave you to focus on how to get the best out of your meetings abroad.
1) Say no to checked-in luggage
The golden rule of business travel: plan to travel with a carry-on wheelie only, no check-in luggage please. This is particularly important if you're going to be city-hopping away from home for a few days. I once went on a "roadshow" throughout Asia with a client who had to check in his suitcase every evening, and then we all had to wait for it to appear on the luggage belt, talk about a mood-dampener!
2) Pick two dresses and one suit for work, and some comfy clothes for travel
Usually I tend to rely on a mix of suits and day-to-evening dresses, so for a trip of say three days I'd pack a couple of dresses and a suit. Top-wise it's smarter to go for soft jersey tops (not tee-shirts!!) than stiff shirts which will look crumpled after a few hours in the suitcase. Remember each culture has a different approach to corporate attire, for example in Japan it's best to wear trousers as some of the tables are really low and you don't want people to stare at your knees (or, heavens forbid, thighs...) whilst enjoying dinner. By the way, there's an interesting read about different dress codes on the Conde Nast website, here. If in doubt, stay on the slightly conservative side. For the trip and any down-time, you need a pair of skinny jeans or leggings plus a flowy shirt (Equipment, Vince...) or a soft cashmere jumper, plus a large cashmere shawl, which doubles up as a blanket for the plane.Remember to try and keep everything in the same colour scheme, it will be easier to mix and match.
3) Two pairs of shoes, three max
Shoes is a key component of my style, as you know, but shoes take precious space. I suggest two pairs. A pair of slip-on flat shoes are perfect for travel and to whiz through airport security without having to go barefoot, and they will keep you comfortable no matter how many hours you sit on the plane, especially if, like me, your legs tend to swell (
4) One big tote is all the bag you'll need
For business trips, forget your heirloom Chanel chain bag, bring a tote bag that can fit your files, a laptop, an ipad, and of course all your personal knick-knacks. Go for a classic shape and a neutral colour, and remember your bag will go through security belts and up in overhead racks, so you may want to stick to a dark neutral colour...
5) No, you do not need to pack half your bathroom
Believe it or not, most hotels will have a pretty big selection of toiletries, so I tend to pack only my absolute must-haves, such as my shampoo and conditioner, my skincare (divided into little spare lens cases) and my make-up. Body lotion is typically the same wherever you go and if your hair has just been massacred by the 10-hour flight, nothing gets it back into shape like an overnight mask using the average hotel conditioner. I never need more than the allowed mini plastic pouch that you are now allowed through security.
6) Plan to read, a lot
All I'll say without getting too heated up is flights get delayed, fact. Combine this with the fact that movies on board are changed no more frequently than monthly and you're contemplating lots and lots of hours of boredom. To give you an idea, so far in September, I've spent more than 60 hours on airplanes. I love my Kindle for the anonymity it gives me: nobody needs to know if I'm reading the latest novel or a brilliant thriller. I also take all the latest research papers I've not read in the previous week, and a magazine or two to keep me entertained. As a rule for day trips, I read work on the way out, and whatever I want on the way back to unwind. On long-hauls, it's a mix really.
7) Don't forget
Chargers, underwear, tights (two extra pairs are a must) pyjamas, glasses, a little pouch with your essential meds, even if just painkillers... make sure you have these on hand when you're packing, this way you won't forget!
There you have it, my list of tips to make business trip packing easy! What are yours? Anything I missed?