Trip Prep 101: Taking the anxiety out of business travel

You can’t take it all with you, but you can find slimmer options for most of the essentials.

Organizing devices, gear and clothes for a business trip. / suitcase / laptop / tablet / phone
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Like clockwork, every time I get ready for a business trip, I have a panic attack. Have I packed what I’m going to need? Is the gear I’m bringing too much, too little or just right? The dread always eases when I remember that I don’t have to take it all with me, and in that fact I shouldn’t.

For instance, work on the road obviously doesn’t require bringing the office’s desktop computers, network and phones because I’m able to replicate them with a notebook, mobile phone and a good internet connection. It all comes down to a balance between what I want and what I need, and I err on the side of lightness. After all, I’m the one who will be lugging everything from gate to gate and cab to cab.

I’m currently getting ready for a two-week trip mixing business and pleasure in Europe and the Caucasus Mountains, so this is a good time for me to review my business-related packing needs and share what I’ve learned with you. Here, then, is a checklist to help you make sure that nothing you need stays behind at the office — or is left at a hotel along the way. I’ll also include some things that you don’t take with you but you should take care of before you go.

Devices: Stay slim

For day trips, the only device I generally carry is my phone. With it, I can make calls, access the web, send and receive texts and emails, and even work with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other essential work apps. Longer trips, such as the one I’m about to embark on, generally require a tablet and/or a full notebook for when I need to write, edit a video, create slides or do some coding.

Tip: A convertible notebook can double as a finger-friendly tablet and might let you leave the notebook behind.

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