Every business traveler knows the tension between packing what you want (and need) to take with you on a trip and just how far you can stuff your carry-on before it bursts. In addition, business travelers have some slightly different needs than leisure travelers due to time constraints.
I was personably reminded of this packing conundrum on a recent trip to East Africa where I was challenged to pack for business meetings, official visits to rural areas for a non-profit I support, a safari, and just for fun, a trek to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
Here are some of the best items I've recently discovered for business travel that I now pack in my suitcase. All of them can be found on Amazon--and on short notice, should you find yourself suddenly heading out of town:
Keep your cell phone up and running.
The last thing I want to do on a business trip is add more weight to my bag, and I find most cell phone chargers to be bulky. Enter the tiny Tumi 600 Mah Portable Battery Bank. At 3" X 1" X 1" inches and a weight of 0.5 lbs, it takes up no room and can easily be carried on you at all times.
If you are looking for a lower-cost alternative, check out the emergency disposable travel charger by Tendo Charge. Having your cell phone charger readily available in your pocket or purse can be a saving grace when you're in the middle of that important call closing a deal.
Keep your hunger at bay.
I used to write a food column, so occasionally, I still get tasty (and sometimes not) samples in the mail. The day before my recent trip to Africa, I received three ChocoVivo's chocolate nut packets. At 140 calories and 4 grams of sugar each, I tossed them into my bag thinking they might make a good snack and come in handy.
On several super quick business breaks--and a few long drives in traffic between appointments--these "Knead and Squeeze" packets quelled my hunger. No fuss, no muss. That's a big deal when you're faced with meetings filled with pastries and often no time to grab a snack
Another favorite of mine when I travel are the five-ingredient RX bars. They're mostly nuts, egg whites and dates. The combo of protein, fat, and carbs keeps your hunger at bay for several hours.
Keep the bugs away.
You can hardly turn on the news today without seeing a story on the health dangers associated with misquotes bites. Instead of carrying a can of stinky bug spray, I use Wondercide Repel citronella and germanium soap. It takes up less room in my toiletry kit, smells good and helps protect against the little flying monsters.
If you still feel the need for the heavy duty stuff, Ben's 30 Percent DEET Mosquito, Tick and Insect Repellent Wipes come in small single use packets. Throw a few in your pocket or purse and the next time the bugs attack, swipe them away.
Traditional bug spray has an unmistakable scent. This soap keeps you from smelling like you are going on a hike--which will make everyone in your next meeting scoot their chairs away from you--but still helps keep the bugs away.
Keep safe and clean.
For years, I carried a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a tube of Neosporin in my purse when I went on a business trip. But the sanitizer was only really good for my hands, and the Neosporin tube was always messy to use.
Enter two products I now take with me wherever I go. The Neosporin + Pain Relief Neo To Go! Spray and Wet Ones Individual Bacterial Hand Wipes. They take up no room and give me peace of mind as I travel. They also allow you to take care of your business in front of clients, if needed, without it becoming a big deal.
The next time you go on a business trip, give these simple and relatively inexpensive travel hacks a try. They are small enough to fit in your suitcase, but big enough in usefulness to make your travel smooth sailing.