What to keep packed and ready?

If your job requires that you be prepared to leave for a business trip with short notice, what do you need to have ready? Reader J asks….suitcase

In my new job I have to be ready to leave town within four hours. It could be a weekend, and I may or may not be at home when I get the call. What should I have packed and ready in advance?

At first glance I thought, four hours! That’s plenty of time to get ready. But then I started thinking about all the things I do to get ready for a trip besides packing, including laundry, shopping, and household chores. Those four hours could go pretty fast! Here are my recommendations so your departure goes as smoothly as possible:

Keep a spare set of toiletries. I recommend this for frequent business travelers, but for anyone who has to leave with short notice this is critical. Keep a full set of travel toiletries ready to go, in your suitcase at all times. If you wear contacts keep a spare set in there. Ladies, if you can swing an extra set of your every-day makeup, do it. If there are any grooming items you regularly use—brush, curling iron, etc—get an extra set. Anything you don’t have to think about during your four hours is a good thing!

Have some clothes ready to go. If there are clothing staples you know you will want to take on any trips, wash them as soon as you wear them so they’re prepared for travel. You don’t want to be digging through the hamper looking for your favorite pair of black pants! In fact, if you can swing an extra set of travel wardrobe basics, it’s not a bad idea to keep them stashed in the suitcase.

Make a list of everything you need. Before you get your call, make a list of every single thing you would need for your trip. Clothes, laptop, chargers, accessories, files, any special equipment—if you have it written down it’s much harder to forget in the packing frenzy.

While travel with only four hours’ notice isn’t ideal, with some planning it’s definitely doable.

Readers, do any of you have to travel on short notice? Any tips to add?

Have a travel question or suggestion? Send it to RoadWarriorette @ gmail.com.

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  1. I keep an extra set of chargers for my phone, ipad, laptop along with a charger and extra battery for my camera and a travel power strip in a small mesh bag which lives in my suitcase. That way I never forget a charger or cable!

  2. I would have a go bag packed and ready to go in the trunk of my car. This would include everything I need for a week trip. If the trip lasted longer I would do laundry after work. I would have a small bottle of soak to hand wash if necessary. Plus make sure I brought a couple packs of my laundry soap and fabric softener.

  3. A few suggestions:
    1. If there is the possibility of international travel, a bag like how Nancy is suggesting, but with outlet converters, an international cell, and a small outlet strip.
    2. I keep a similar mesh bag of ibuprofen, antacids, pepto-tablets, a pen, ear buds, granola bar, USB drive, etc – little stuff that you’d miss if you didn’t have with you. This makes crazy travel schedules a little easier.
    3. Although I don’t have a pre-packed suitcase with clothes, I do have 2 that I pre-pack with toiletry kits. One is a backpack good for a quick overnight or 2 night trip. The other is a carry-on for trips that are 3+ nights or more – I found it’s easiest to just have duplicate toiletry kits than to forget to move a single kit from one to another (like I forgot to do last year..)
    4. prepack an umbrella too.

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