What is one thing you use on every business trip?

During a recent work trip with some colleagues we started debating what the most important item to take on a business trip. We ruled out obvious things like computers, phones, and suitcases, then made the requirements: It has to be something you use on every trip and something that any business traveler could use (rather than highly specialized). Here is what we came up with:

Multi USB Charging Cable. I use this cable on every trip, multiple times per day. It will charge my iPhone, Kindle, and portable battery. It’s compact, but brightly colored so I won’t lose it in my purse. And bonus: it’s less than $10!

Headphones/Headset. Whether you’re using noise-canceling or not, wireless or wired, or you prefer a headset, some sort of headphones are critical for all trips. Meetings, movies, or just listening to music–when you’re in public, if you want to participate in these activities, you need headphones. Full stop.

Straightening brush. This was one of my colleague’s contributions. She uses the Conair Infiniti Pro Straightening Brush, which takes her hair from frizzy/curly to straight and smooth in just a few minutes. (And yes I know this is a tool primarily for women. Sorry!)

Now obviously there are plenty of things that I use on every trip. These are just some of the top necessities we came up with! (If you need more, check out my list of gadgets for every business trip).

Readers, what is one thing you use on every business trip?


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  1. The “most important” item to bring is not the same as “most used” item. Most important would be something that is hard to replace, and most disruptive to your life without it. USB cables or headphones are easily replaced if you happen to forget them.

    Phone is the obvious answer, but you excluded it. Other than that, I would say USB thumb drive with important docs loaded, such as maybe your account ids/passwords, image of your passport, etc.

  2. @WR That’s a great point! I wish you had been in on our discussion. If we had been discussing at a different time I’d like to think we would have come to that conclusion on our own. Alas, we had been in tough meetings for 11 hours and our brains were a bit fried….

  3. my travel humidifier. dry hotel rooms, conference rooms, and airplanes do a number on my nose. It’s been a big help!

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