When starting my company, I began traveling heavily right out of the gate. The first work trip I took was to Haiti! Since then, knowing how and what to pack has become second nature, but as my friends and colleagues all head out to SXSW and ask me how I manage to get through security so quickly, I thought I'd let everyone in on a little advice that a mentor (whom I met on a plane!) gave me: Have a "Go Kit" always packed and ready.
The bag matters.
Staying organized is the key to any Go Kit. You don't want to spend any more time in security than you have to, so having something with compartments is key.
Plus, the fewer things you have to think about the better. You won't risk leaving a laptop at the security checkpoint. It's happened.
- This Is Ground has the perfect bags for any business traveler. They're well made and make you feel a little like James Bond when you carry one.
- For trips that require you to do a lot of running around, like SXSW, I use a less expensive option like the bag pictured above -- a Dynamite tote for $50. I'm not going to feel horrible if I beat it up a little, plus it fits everything.
A tech Dopp kit.
Again, This Is Ground has an amazing one, but it's important to keep an extra set of everything from chargers to battery packs.
Noise-canceling headphones are the key to stress free flights. Just put them on, power through work, and you have the perfect excuse to ignore your chatty neighbor.
- Mini hack: Even if you have a power bank, watch out for music streaming--it'll drain your battery. There are a few apps that really help avoid losing your battery life while you listen, like Next Radio, which operates on FM frequencies.
All the rest ...
If you're anything like me, you don't try to look like a person on a flight. I'm not about to do my hair or makeup before boarding or wear anything more than comfortable lounge wear. I usually save that for the airport lounges when I land. (Tip: Get a membership to an airport lounge, or lounges, like Priority Pass.)
Have a set of clothing in your bag that you can throw on at 5 a.m. (or whenever you are about to board) so that you don't have to think about it.
- For all the women out there, consider this a PSA: T3 Micro products are a gift from the heavens for when you travel.
Finally, paper notepads and cards. I used to hate business cards and paper products--I felt they were super inefficient--but I can't help but endorse bringing them to meetings.
If you don't have something other than an iPad or laptop to take notes, it's hard to show you're really paying attention when you're staring at a screen. You appear so much more engaged if you're taking notes the old fashioned way.
- Really awesome notebooks help, Poppin, $5-$20
Overall the most of the stress of travel comes from the physical process. Having a Go Kit will take away all of that initial anxiety and you can get back to what matters most--the meetings.
Have travel tips of your own or products you cannot live without? Sound off in the comments below!