4 Things I Wish I had Known Before my First Business Trip

two bottles of shampooMy first business trip was also the first day of my new job. I was terrified and excited, all at once. Any time I’m going into a new situation I research the heck out of it so I’m not as freaked. Well, there was no research to be had for new business travelers back then, especially for women.

Looking back, there are so many things I wish I had known before I left for California.

  1. I wish I had known how much difference the right suitcase and personal item make. The suitcase I used on that first trip was poorly designed, awkward, and didn’t roll smoothly. My personal item was a laptop bag that I thought was the most beautiful bag I had ever seen–but was completely impractical to travel with. The strap didn’t stay on my shoulder, there was no way to strap it to my suitcase, and there were no exterior pockets. That whole trip I had to drag my suitcase because the wheels weren’t working, while simultaneously fumbling with my laptop bag. Not exactly the look of a competent professional!
  2. Second, I wish I had known that I didn’t have to have a different outfit for each day and that it’s okay to wear something more than once. On that first trip I packed a separate outfit, including shoes, for each day. I cringe when I think of it. When it was time to go I could barely lift my suitcase! I ended up having to check my bag, seeing as how I couldn’t even lift it there was NO way I could get it in the overhead bin. Plus it probably wouldn’t have fit.
  3. Beyond knowing I didn’t have to have a different outfit for each day, I wish I had known how much easier packing efficiently makes everything. You don’t have to waste time checking your bag, you don’t risk the airline losing all of your stuff, and you can glide around the airport with ease, knowing you have everything you need.
  4. Finally, I wish I had known how few toiletries I actually need. That first trip part of the reason my suitcase was overly full was because I brought so many toiletries. Full size containers of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, medicine, and lotion. Ugh. Plus every single piece of makeup I own. It’s also probably why my bag was so dang heavy!

Does any of this sound like you? Do you wish a tool existed to help you know exactly what kind of suitcase and personal item you need, how to pack only the clothes you need (and none of the clothes you don’t!), and which toiletries are the most important? Check out Road Warriorette’s Business Travel Packing Guide for Women!

a woman with a suitcase

Readers, what do you wish you had known before your first business trip?


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  1. I wish I had known about the right fabrics. It is really easy to wash the right item of clothing in a sink and hang it up to be dry by the time you get to your room. Then, Ta Da! Clean pants or whatever. Sometimes the right fabrics can cost a little more upfront, but it saves so much (time, embarassment, convienvce, comfort) in the long run. Oh, and once you convert to contact lens cases for traveling with various creams, lotions, and oils, you will never go back!

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