PhotoWhen you travel for business, it’s best to prepare for as many contingencies as possible. A colleague of mine wished he had done just that; he attended a conference in Europe, but he did not anticipate the airline would lose his luggage for the entire week. He wore a borrowed sports coat, which was too tight with sleeves that were too short for his tall frame. He vowed to plan better in the future.

Check out these ten tips and helpful items so you can be prepared and fully focus on the business at hand:

  1. Get TSA pre-check qualified: Reduce the hassle at security with an added bonus; you won’t have to remove your travel bag of liquids or your computer from your suitcase.

  2. Print copies of confirmations: Email confirmations are essential, but bring along a printed copy of your e-tickets, hotel and transportation confirmations, and all relevant contact information.

  3. Hanging toiletry bag: Many hotel bathrooms lack counter space, but a toiletry bag will hold all your essentials in one place. Make it a habit to restock on your return so your bag will always be ready to go. Don’t be afraid to throw away semi-used containers; if you wait too long to replace something, you risk running out while on travels.

  4. Google maps: Before you leave home, use and print out google maps directions to identify restaurants for breakfast and dinner, convenient places for coffee, and the location of a pharmacy or convenience store near your accommodations (so you will know the proximity prior to your travel).

  5. Create a list of trip essentials: Wear or carry in your hand luggage any items that are absolutely essential for your trip, as well as ones you would have trouble replacing.

  6. Chargers: Identify the chargers you use regularly and pack them in a technology accessory bag that goes in your carry-on bag. Invest in chargers that charge more than one thing -- for example, a charger with one plug to go into the socket but with two or more USB slots.  If you travel frequently, purchase a full second set and it will always be ready to go.

  7. Business cards: These are the currency of networking and a handy way to share all your contact information.

  8. Emergency information: Prepare a list of personal and medical emergency contacts and keep it in your carry-on. Include a list of current medications, allergies, medical conditions, doctor’s names and phone numbers, and any other pertinent information.

  9. Lightweight, sturdy zippered bags: Use one (or more) for easy access to items you will need during your flight. One frequent traveler uses one for an iPad, Kindle, a pair of headphones, an extra pair of reading glasses, and a small keyboard.  

  10. Cash: Bring along cash (and foreign currency if traveling outside the United States).

Always remember the old adage: better safe than sorry. Preparation will help you weather the inevitable travel obstacles.

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