Written by Sope Olorunfemi-Bork
Ever find yourself surrounded by a mountain of clothes, trying to figure out what to take and what not to take. Believe me, you are not alone! A lot of women struggle with the same issues when packing for a trip, especially one for business. It seems men can just grab a couple of suits, a few shirts and in half an hour they are packed and off to the airport!
What if I could provide you with an easy guide to packing and preparing for your next successful business trip?
As accountants, our job is to provide solutions to problems. If we think of the business trip as a project or challenge, we are more likely to solve the problem of what to take with you on the trip rather than perspiring over trying to close our suitcase or taking too many suitcases with us. Lets start!
If we look at this common challenge from a ‘project management’ perspective, we can break it down into several action steps:
- Define the Trip Requirements
What type of trip is it, is it a client meeting, conference or training?
Where is the location?
- Determine the Time line
Duration of business trip.
- Define the Scope
What will you be doing on the business trip? E.g Will you be meeting with clients, going out with clients/colleagues for lunch/dinner, site seeing? Will there be opportunities for exercise/swimming/relaxation? Shopping?
- Do Your Research
Research should be done at least a week before the trip. Time frame will depend on when you were advised of trip and would be based on the defined scope to help guide what you would need to take with you on the trip.
Using the defined scope, and knowing what will be done each day during the meeting you can now plan out your outfits including foot wear. At this stage, you will be making your detailed list of items to pack in your suitcase.
Put the items in your suitcase(s).
- Verification and Testing
Go back to your list above and then check to make sure you have what you need and that you have not sneaked in an extra item! As you go on trips you will become an expert on what works and what does not.
Design, Implementation, Verification and Testing stages will be discussed in a later section of this article.
Once you have defined the requirements, timeline and scope of the trip as indicated above, you are now ready for Step 1
Step 1: Do Your Research:
- Invest in very good suitcases, handbags/Laptop Bags. A lot can be said about you by your suitcase!
A carry-on with garment bags (for shorter trips). Benefits of carry-on over checked baggage, you are one of the first to leave the airport!
A larger sized suitcase (for longer trips).
A large handbag or Laptop bag.
A travel-sized bag for makeup, etc that is TSA approved.
- Check for typical weather for the area and for the time in the year you will be travelling.
- Find out what time you are likely to get into the city including factoring into your time, delays and cancellations for multiple stop trips.
- Call up local hotels or restaurants in the area to get information about the environment, I have found this extremely useful when trying to plan what I will pack.
- Health/drug stores.
Call up shops in the trip area to find out what products they carry and if they have brands that you can use instead of packing your own from home. If possible, get them to hold it for you, deliver it to your hotel, let them know you are travelling to their area
Look up nearest clinics or hospitals, this may apply more to travel outside of North America and Europe.
Make sure you have travel insurance as costs of health care could be quite expensive if coming from your own pocket up front.
- Read up on the city.
We must demonstrate knowledge of other areas other than our kids, spouses and heritage.
It is important to read up on the area and what the city is famous for, historical landmarks, what makes it special, local sports, this will all help to avoid awkward moments and will help you stand out when talking with your bosses/colleagues or clients in the area you have travelled to.
Photo Credit: Beyond Corbis