Hi Road Warriorette! I am about to start a new job at my company where I will travel to Washington, DC and San Francisco once a month. I am worried I will forget to pack or do something necessary for my trips. Do you have any suggestions on how to get organized so that I don’t miss something critical? Thank you!
Congratulations on the new role! Traveling for work can be a big change, so I’m glad you’re thinking about ways to get organized before you start. I am not super organized by personality, so I have had to work hard to make sure that I stay on top of all the myriad details of business travel. Here are my tips.
Packing list. As I mentioned above, I’m not naturally organized–I have to work at it. One of the best ways I have found is by lists. I love, love, love lists. I have templates of lists in my phone notepad for outfit planning, packing, and a checklist for what to do before a trip. A few days prior to leaving I copy and paste the template into a new note for each specific trip, filling in the details. For example, on my outfit planning template it says:
- Travel day outfit
- Work day 1 outfit
- Work day 2 outfit
- Work day 3 outfit
My trip-specific list says something like this:
- Navy pants, seafoam top, orange cardigan, gray flats
- Black pants, black polka-dot shirt, leopard flats
- Purple dress, black cardigan, gray flats
Then I make my packing list from that. There are also items that I pack for every trip, like chargers, my computer, etc., on the list. My pre-trip to-do list includes things like check the weather, check in for flight, get cash for tips, etc. I also make a list of all of the work things that need to be done before, during, and after my trip to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. There are apps that people like for making lists, such as Evernote, but I typically just use notepad.
Duplicates. I have several things that live in my suitcase, ready at a moment’s notice for a trip. Primarily these are my toiletries, brush, curling iron, and chargers. I also have small bags in my travel purse with my electronics (flash drive, portable charger, etc) and my comfort items (Emergen-C, Splenda, lip balm, etc.).
Trip details. For your first several trips it’s important to keep track of your trip logistics: addresses, contact information, hotel, flight, and car rental information. There are plenty of apps to use to manage your reservations, but my favorite is TripIt. I also make sure to have my contacts and work addresses saved in my phone. You may prefer to print things out–it doesn’t matter! As long as you have all of the information you need, and it’s easily accessible.
Readers, how do you get organized for your business trips?
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