Packing Tips for Holiday-Time Trips

By Jonathan Spira on 25 December 2009
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Just as those of many business travelers, my typical trips are several days long. Airport_Concourse_41Fly out, have a day or two of meetings, and return. When it comes to longer trips, especially those mixing business and pleasure, I find that I need to plan my packing strategy far more carefully. And when the trip is in the middle of the holiday season, even more care is required.

Choosing the right luggage is key. In recent years, I’ve settled on several different bags from Tumi, including the Tumi Alpha Frequent Traveler expandable carry-on. At 22”, it meets the criteria set by most airlines for a carry-on bag. It expands by 2.5”, which allows me to add papers and items acquired during a trip.

Tumi's Alpha line of travel cases

Tumi’s Alpha line of travel cases

I also use the matching Tumi T-Pass brief (reviewed in our November issue), which was one of the first TSA-compliant and scannable bags. As a result, I no longer have to remove my laptop from its case at TSA security checkpoints.

Here are a few more tips to make holiday business travel easier and less stressful:

1.) Duplication. Instead of packing and unpacking toiletries, chargers, and other items you regularly take with you, keep a separate set just for trips.
2.) Prepare (and use) a checklist. I thought my father was a bit eccentric for doing this but he never left anything behind. While his list didn’t include an extra mobile phone, multiple chargers, SD cards, and other similar gear, it did have the basics including clothing items, business cards, and toiletries.
3.) Security. To minimize exposure in the event of theft, make sure that your laptop has both a power-on password as well as a hard disk password and that your smartphone and mobile phone are also password protected.
4.) Travel documents. Scan – but do not e-mail – your travel documents such as passport, driver’s license, and credit cards. E-mail is still not considered a secure medium. Instead, carry a printed set with you and store the scanned file on your laptop (which should be password protected). Consider using an encrypted USB memory “key” so the information is retrievable even in the event of the laptop’s loss.
5.) Medication. If you take medications for any reason, do not place them in checked luggage. While the percentage of lost luggage is very small and most bags are eventually reunited with their owners, keeping your medications in your carry-on bags is the wise choice.
6.) Don’t overpack. This sounds like common sense but how many times do you come back from a trip and marvel at what you took and didn’t wear. Pack just enough for each day and focus on clothing which can be easily paired with other items you are bringing.
7.) Disposables. I always pack a few items I consider to be at “end-of-life” (such as a shirt that is showing signs of wear) which could be left behind if I need the space for any items acquired during the trip.
8.) Check the weather at your destination – often. Despite advances in meteorology, weather forecasts are accurate only for the upcoming 48 hours and should be considered only advisory for any time period beyond that.
9.) Gifts. If you are taking gifts on your trip, don’t completely wrap them as you may have to open the box during an airport security check. I partially wrap them (i.e.wrapped but not taped) and use rubber bands until I reach my destination..

Tumi and the oneworld alliance recently released a video featuring travel and packing tips. Watch it for additional insights on preparing for your trip.

–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.

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