8 Essentials for Making Any Business Trip Bearable
Staying fed, cozy and entertained is the key to enduring all the inconveniences of travel without undue stress.
As an etiquette consultant, I’m often traveling across the country or around the world to give presentations. This means I’ve spend enough time on airlines to rack up a substantial amount of frequent traveler pointers.
One such tip is to come prepared to enjoy the journey. You will be spending time in airports and on airplanes, so with a little planning ahead and a well-packed carry-on, you can make this part of your trip enjoyable as well.
Here are some items you may want to carry on board during your next trip.
1. Water and snacks
I never board a plane without bringing my own water and snacks. You never know when your plane might experience a mechanical issue and you don’t want to get stuck on the tarmac without something to eat and drink. Never depend on the airlines to feed you. Many of them don’t even offer peanuts or pretzels anymore. Buy a bottle of water before you get on the plane and carry non-perishable snacks. It’s best to avoid anything with a strong odor (like that Philly cheese steak sandwich) that would offend other travelers.
2. Noise-cancelling earphones
Use your time in the sky to relax. I use earphones to avoid the roar of the engines and relax with my favorite music, or learn new lessons with a book on tape or podcast while traveling. A good set of earphones will block out the sound of a restless child or a chatty couple seated behind you.
3. Comfortable socks
For a long flight or use in the hotel, I like a nice cushy pair of socks. They keep your feet warm and make it much easier to relax. On longer flights, you might even want to bring your own pair of portable slippers. They will keep your feet clean whenever you visit the lavatory.
4. Emergency kit
I always carry a small bag of emergency supplies while traveling. Build your emergency kit once and throw it in your bag every time you travel, replenishing supplies as you use them up or they become out of date. Include Band-Aids and triple antibiotic cream, pain relievers, sleep aids, antacids, emery board and vitamins. Tote any current prescriptions, in their clearly-identified prescription bottles, in your carry-on bag.
5. Phone charger
Always have your phone charger with you at all times. You never know when you will need to use your phone at length or have to spend extra time at the airport due to a delay. The last thing you need is a dead battery in an emergency.
6. Wrap or jacket
One of my favorite travel items is my pink cashmere Pashmina. It can serve as a wrap when I’m cold, a pillow, a blanket, a formal wrap, or a cover-up, as well as a scarf. It is light, packs well and can add a pop of color to any outfit. Men should never leave home without a sweater or lightweight jacket. Just in case your baggage gets rerouted or lost, carry along an extra set of undergarments and an extra outfit.
7. Alternatives to the purse or wallet
As a woman, it just doesn’t look right to carry my large purse to an evening event, so I pack a smaller black purse that will match any outfit. The smaller purse can also serve as a jewelry carrier en route. Men: leave the bulky wallet at home and just carry what you need in your pocket. A stylish money clip with a card case will lighten your load and is the way to go.
It’s a good idea to carry on some sort of entertainment, whether it is an intriguing book, magazine or a tablet. Use earphones and keep the volume low in respect for your fellow travelers.
To avoid high baggage handling fees of up to $35 or more per bag (Kayak) and the outside chance that your checked baggage may not arrive when or where you do, with a little creativity, you may even be able to use your carry-on as your only luggage. These items will help you become better prepared for any unexpected situation and make your trip less stressful.
Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).