Being a consultant is not like being James Bond… but I pretend it is! When I find out I’ve got two hours to make the red-eye to Bucharest, I order another beer before I head out – I know packing will take 10 minutes, tops.

These are a few tips, tricks, and time-savers that I’ve learned that have made packing an afterthought instead of a project…

What to buy

If you’re going to do this, you may as well do it right. Pick up a few essentials and invest some time up-front.

Start with a sturdy rolling carry-on. Bags are like shoes – If you go all cheap, you’ll regret it later. Some features you want to look for: big wheels and a tall handle. The little bitty casters are handy, but they break fast. As for the tall handle, nothing is worse than catching your ankle while you run for a plane.

I recently bought a Victorinox NXT and I love it. Aparently, it’s also elephant proof.

Consider buying flat workout shoes. I talked about Vibram five fingers in an earlier post. I work out in these while I’m on the road. Running in them feels amazing, and not having to pack normal (gigantic) running shoes saves a ton of space.

Double up on stuff you always take. There is some stuff you take every time you travel (toiletries, workout gear, chargers). Leaving it in your suitcase ensures you don’t forget anything and saves the time normally spent hunting for all of it each time you pack.

Pick up these other essentials as well: earplugs and an eye mask (sleep is too valuable to risk), nail clippers (useful for nails and great as a multi-purpose tool), and a sewing kit (wardrobe malfunctions happen).

What to do

Make a packing list and stick to it. It’s a short time investment up-front but saves a lot of headache down the road. If I try to pack all hap-hazard, I bring too much AND forget something! Here’s my go-to list for a business trip.

Learn to fold properly. I could do a whole post on folding (and I might), but here’s the short version: Fold suit jackets like this. Lay t-shirts on top of dress-shirts and pants before you fold them to reduce creasing. When you get to your hotel, hang everything up in the bathroom and run a VERY hot shower. Done.

Ignore security precautions. Unless you have a LOT of liquids in your carry-on, they don’t stop you if you just leave it in your bag. One less thing to worry about.

Share your tips. I know lots of you reading this are pretty jet-set yourselves. Let’s hear your tips in the comments!

One thought on “Become a super-packer

  1. Shawn, in addition to the well packed suitcase (I LOVE the jacket folding), we must also have the well-supplied carry-on. This is esp. true when the bags don’t arrive with you! Here is my check list:

    Carry on List: Check before leaving to and from trip

    Laptop & case
    AC adapter for laptop
    iPhone (or substitutes) with music & brown noise
    USB cable for iPhone (or subs)
    USB drive for data transfer if necessary
    Kindle (charged or with cable for longer trips)
    Power adapters and cables for any other items (cameras, etc.)
    Noise cancelling headphones (Panasonic)
    Batteries for headphones
    Noise cancelling earbuds (Shure)
    Inflatable pillow for flight
    Eye mask (as mentioned)
    Light (very very! collapsilbe) nylon jacket in carry on
    Neck scarf in carry on
    Cheap reading glasses
    Passport/travel card case
    Pen & notepad
    Small flashlight
    Power bars for snacks
    Printout of flight and hotel confirmations
    Wall plug multi-adapter (make 3 of 1) [okay to put in suitcase]
    International voltage adapter (if relevant) [okay to put in suitcase]

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