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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Packing Light
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Packing Light - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Packing Light

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Packing Light

According to a 2010 ABC News report, a survey by a British hotel chain revealed that 25% of male business travelers pack a stuffed animal to remind them of home, an interesting figure, considering how challenging packing for business trips can be.

If you’ve been on more than a few business trips, you already know a few things about packing light, and it seems everyone has some advice for doing it better. In addition to the physical energy it saves you while in transit, a lightly packed bag means less stress. Your goal, if at all possible, is to keep your baggage to whatever you’re allowed to take on the plane, but you already know that. Standing around the carousel half an hour after touching down is for the rookies. However, we’re all works in progress, and every system can use some tweaking, so here are a few ideas you might not have considered.

Traveling light isn’t merely traveling compactly.
Onebag.com, which attempts to elevate traveling light to an art form, reminds us of something that should be obvious: traveling light means minimizing weight (http://www.onebag.com/weight-watching.html). It’s not merely about packing things into smaller spaces, but it’s about making what you carry less burdensome. “To save pounds, shave ounces,” it advises. If you can’t eliminate the need for some items, find alternatives that weigh less, even if by a few ounces. For example, one AA lithium battery weighs half as much as a rechargeable NiMH AA cell and offers other advantages as well.

Avoid a separate garment bag.
Many travelers opt for a separate garment back in order to minimize wrinkles. A professional appearance is of utmost importance, but Frommers (http://www.frommers.com/slideshows/822304-packing-tips-for-business-trips) recommends researching the cleaning and pressing options at your destination before you travel, packing your garments with your other belongings in a single carryon. Hotel laundry services can be expensive, but neighboring dry-cleaning services might offer steaming at reasonable rates. In any case, a garment bag is a cumbersome extra hassle you don’t need.

Color coordinate your wardrobe.
A common bit of advice is to pack no more than a week’s worth of clothing. For the business traveler, this can be especially challenging, since the importance of appearance is more significant than for the casual vacationer. IndependentTraveler.com (http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/packing-and-accessories/the-carry-on-challenge-how-to-pack-light-every-time) suggests selecting a few items that can be worn in different combinations, offering options for presenting different looks. Shoes can be a real challenge, and Deborah L. Jacobs of Forbes.com (http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/07/29/how-to-travel-anywhere-with-nothing-but-a-carry-on-bag/) concedes that they are among the non-negotiable essentials, “So without going overboard, figure out what’s appropriate for the activities you have planned.” Choosing no more than three or four pairs (including flip-flops to use as house slippers in the hotel), wear the bulkiest shoes on the plane so they don’t take up space in your baggage.

Don’t overpack your bag.
There may be a temptation to cram as much stuff into your baggage as you have room for, but while an intelligent use of your space is certainly desirable, Carol Margolis suggests in Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive & Travel with Confidence (Morgan James Publishing, 2012) that if your luggage is selected for inspection, airport screeners “may have a difficult time closing your luggage,” and it’s possible that items could be lost, damaged, or just packed carelessly.

Know what works for you.
It seems obvious, but you’re really the only one who knows what works for you. What might seem like an unnecessary extra few pounds to one person might be an absolute necessity to you. You should clearly bring everything you need, but keeping in mind the advice of other experienced business travelers can help you evaluate your priorities and find ways to accommodate your favorite teddy bear without burdening yourself with a ton of baggage.


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