In 2015, I went on seven work trips. Three of which were in a one month time span. I obviously love traveling, but traveling for work can be especially stressful. If you forget your business cards or an accessory for a presentation, you can’t just go to the store and buy a new one. For me, planning for work trips takes a lot more time and effort. I want to be sure I have my schedule down to a tee, hour by hour. I need to know exactly where I’m going and when I need to leave so I can be on time. It helps to relieve stress when I arrive at the conference or event.
Luckily for me, my company has an amazing staff that plans our daily schedules and keeps us in line. I am SO grateful for that! They give us a folder outlining the schedule, checklists of what we’ll need at the booth, maps of the exhibit halls, dinner reservations and confirmations, etc! They really think of it all. But I still can’t help but to do a little planning and preparing myself.
Below is how I prepare for a work trip (in no particular order of importance):
1. OUTFIT PREP. I try to plan my outfits so that I wear every single item of clothing I pack, with maybe one or two back-up (if my suitcase allows). This is definitely a hard task! It really involves two important items – weather and my schedule. I first take a look at what the weather will be like in that area a couple days in advance. Then, I look at what I’ll be doing while I’m there. It often ranges from managing a booth, to speaking, to dinners and parties. I try to pack one outfit for every event. I lay the outfit out on my bed and check it off the list once I like what I have! I also try to use the same pants for a couple different shirts. You know, the ole mix and match trick. This also helps to eliminate time spent deciding between clothes when I’m there running from event to event. I’m all ready to go if I layout my outfits beforehand! Read more about how I pack here.
2. WALGREENS TRIP. I tend to forget what I have in my bathroom as far as travel toiletries go, so I always run to Walgreens or CVS the day before to make sure I have everything I need – because remembering to check out my stash is just too hard. If I buy something I already have a lot of, I know I’ll use it eventually anyways (I must have 6 tubes of small toothpaste). I like to buy mini shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, makeup remover, and deodorant. You never know what kind of toiletries the hotel will have, so better safe than sorry. I also like to grab mints and gum, because I know I’ll be doing a lot of talking!
3. BUSINESS CHECKLIST. As I mentioned, if you forget something you need for a work trip, you may be out of luck. Therefore, I created a checklist of items I know I’ll always need that are definitely hard to replace, and I try to pack them last. It reassures me that they are with me. The checklist goes:
Phone Charger. My phone dies rather quickly these days, and I’ve been on a couple trips where I left this necessary accessory at home. There are many obvious reasons you need a charger, but while away for work, you especially need your phone for new contacts, taking pictures, verifying your schedule, staying up to date with your coworkers back in the office, etc. I just got a portable battery pack to charge my phone on the go, which is amazing. I recommend everyone get one..now!
Business Cards. I’d be in big trouble without these guys. I did forget them one time, but luckily my coworker was leaving for the event a day after me and she was able to grab them. Close call! Business cards are so important when it comes to meeting people and then for following up after the conferences. It helps people remember you, no matter how many they may receive.
Laptop. I don’t bring one to every show, but if I am bringing one with me, I make sure that I pretty much step on it on my way out the door. If I leave from work for the airport, I stack it right up against my luggage. If I leave from home, I put it right in front of my door.
The Folder. As I mentioned, my team is awesome and lays out everything for us in a folder. I need this on my trip! Without it, I’d be completely lost. I think it’s one of those things my brain just won’t let me forget. Kind of like my phone.
There are a few other preparation steps I take to get ready for a work trip, but these are the most important! How do you prepare for work trips? Feel free to comment below!