As a consultant, I travel both domestically and internationally. Two weeks ago, during a four day trip to NY, I realized that I have amassed a small collection of items that I truly need when away from home and other items that just make travel more comfortable. It also dawned on me that I pack almost all of these items whether I travel a few hours away by car or many hours in the air. I realized that I’m a bit obsessed with my travel gear! See the last pic below, that seems like my life at times!
Along with many of my fellow SIOP members, I am burned out from writing conference submissions and finishing research over the last month. So I decided to do something easier (AKA lazy) and just share my “travel checklist” with hopes that other management consultants/IO practitioners/hobos may enjoy the light reading and may even find something useful! Here’s the larger list of items, in no particular order:
Tri-fold garment bag/duffel
Quirky All purpose rubber bands w/hooks
Space saving travel bags
High quality USB charging cable
Travel Electric Adaptor
Here are some of my favorite items:
Trifold garment bag- Having this bag eliminates the possibility of being asked to check my bag at the gate (which happens often when traveling using a traditional carry-on suitcase or folding garment bag). Overhead compartments get crowded on domestic flights and especially with the smaller bins on international flights. I find it comforting to know that I can avoid the luggage carousel when I arrive at my destination and keep my stuff within reach at all times. I can carry my suits and shirts all day and unpack them with minimal wrinkles upon arrival.
TSA PreCheck- This may be the best thing I have purchased for travel. If I get held late with a meeting, wait on line to return a rental car, or simply want to get a few more minutes of sleep, the PreCheck makes getting to my gate much easier. I get to keep my laptop in its case and remain fully dressed (which is helpful during business travels, but also when traveling with the family (including two young kids) for vacation. Its like a two-for-one benefit!
Business cards and elevator speech- I lump these together because they are equally important and serve the same purpose: communicating your brand as a consultant. Sometimes you only have a few moments to chat with someone and the opportunity to convey your passion for what you do. I have conversed with many interesting people when I have my hands full of luggage or in the middle of snacking during my travel. I ask for their card and they say, “Oh, I don’t have any on me”. I try to keep their name on my mind, but most of the time when I finally get a chance to settle down, it is lost forever. The speech is important, but the business card is key.
High quality USB cable- more specifically USB-to-micro USB cable. This 6 foot cable allows me to charge my phone from a myriad of USB ports on computers, rental cars, alarm clocks, hotel televisions, etc that I come across. Regardless of location, I can always charge!!! It can be bent, folded, twisted, and otherwise abused and will not leave me stranded with a frayed cord or damaged connector like the cheap ones that all smartphones come with…looking at you Apple and Samsung!
Power bank- For the times when I can’t get to an outlet, don’t have the right power adaptor and do not have access to a 2.1A or higher USB port (which current smart phones need to charge with any sort of speed), the power bank is a life saver. My phone can be charging while I sit at the airport, while in flight, while I drive, or even when sitting in day-long meetings sans computer. Using the power bank, I can charge anywhere without a wall socket!
There are things that I am leaving out like headphones, USB drives, my smartphone, and a passport holder wallet which I also take with me on every trip. I would be interested in hearing what others bring that they simply can’t do without. Please share your best travel accessories in the comments below!