It's inevitable that no matter how often you travel for business, there will be at least one time where you forget to pack something or do a certain task before your trip. Whether it's something small like forgetting to pack a toothbrush or big like forgetting the materials needed for your presentation, not having what you need is irritating and inconvenient. That feeling that you've overlooked something is hard to shake.
Even though I travel for a living, I do still forget things. But I've gotten a lot better about managing when things get left behind. Here are a few to-do items for business travelers to keep in mind, especially on the day of a trip.
1. Download the airline app.
If you haven't already, download the airline's app (and maybe the hotel app as well). You can use the app to get the most up to date information and have a way to easily stay organized. Plus, if there is any sort of delay or cancelation, you may be able to use the app to get in contact with a representative at a quicker rate.
2. Charge your devices.
You may be surprised at how many business travelers forget to charge their devices. I recommend bringing a power strip with you. Not only can you use it at a hotel (which never seems to have enough outlets), you can use it at the airport to get all of your devices up and running. You may even use a power strip as a networking tool.
3. Alert your credit card company and/or bank.
Though it's a helpful safety precaution, it can be very frustrating to find that your accounts have been frozen after you try to make a purchase or withdraw money. Let your financial establishments know you'll be traveling.
4. Pause your mail and newspaper delivery.
If you are traveling for an extended period of time, pause your delivery services. Go to the USPS Hold Mail Service website to sign up. You may also want to leave an away message on your digital mail and phone services.
5. Check your flight status.
As mentioned above, having an airline app can help you keep track. Additionally, the airline usually has an option to leave a mobile number or email on record for updates. Enroll in that if you haven't already.
I've landed and gotten word that my connecting gate has been changed. The texts from the airline and the app tell me exactly where I need to go, especially if I'm in a rush. It doesn't hurt to check the weather either before you leave.
6. Unplug your electronics.
Don't waste energy on an empty home. Unplug your electronics to conserve energy.
7. Check the traffic or time to get to the airport.
Always check the traffic and/or estimated traffic before heading to the airport.
8. Double-check that you have the things you need for your business.
There's nothing worse than arriving for your important meeting, only to realize you forgot your materials.
9. Bring your medications, eyeglasses, and any other unique needs.
Be sure to pack any items that are specific to you.
10. Contact your cell phone company if traveling abroad.
Your cellular phone company may have a special offer for that particular destination.
11. Photograph your luggage.
Always photograph your luggage in case it gets lost. It will be much easier to report and verify if you have time-stamped photos of it on your phone.
12. Inform your home security company about your travels.
Do this especially if you will be traveling for a long period of time.
13. Pay any bills that you may miss while traveling.
Paying any bills ahead of time will help you avoid accidentally missing a payment or going over your budget.
14. Clear out the fridge.
Throw out any food that may not last while you are gone. Coming home to moldy food or a smelly-fridge is not ideal.
15. Confirm reservations.
I cannot stress how important it is to check reservations. It's happened to me and a few colleagues that we arrive at our destination only to be told that our reservation was never confirmed.
16. Share your itinerary.
Share your flight and accommodation information with loved ones, just in case.
17. Bring in any outdoor items.
If you have outdoor furniture or plants, bring them inside for protection.
18. Clear your wallet.
Clean your wallet so you only have the essentials you need for that specific trip. You may also want to prepare a decoy wallet with expired credit cards.
19. Download any entertainment.
WiFi may not be available for downloading entertainment.
20. Pack an empty bottle for water and some healthy snacks.
Fill your bottle once you get past security.