Let’s face it. It’s much more difficult to pack when you’re a woman. While men get by with a suit and one pair of shoes, and perhaps extra shirts and a workout outfit, women come equipped with skirts or a dress, jackets, pants, casual outfits, and the list goes on. In fact, sometimes it’s just downright scary. Is there a way to make this simple, easy and effective? Yes, there is. If you’re new to the travel circuit, here’s the top 10 secrets that will make traveling a breeze.
1) Go light on the shoes. Yes, I know, most women (myself included) are shoe lovers – except when I travel. Take out what you want to wear, then cut it in half. If you’re doing a four-day conference, you’ll need a pair of flats for walking, a low pair of heels for evening, and flip flops for the pool. If you’re a runner, throw in your running shoes. No one will notice you’re wearing the same pair of shoes, and if they do, they won’t care. That’s it.
2) Remember extra cell phone chargers and a portable battery. You may not need them, but trust me, the best way to make friends is to help someone else out. Seriously, someone will need one, especially on a trade show floor.
3) Always travel with a few band-aids, and headache remedies (aspirin, Tylenol, etc) as well as a sample size of hand lotion given how dry it is on the plane. You might not need them, but it’s better than searching around a strange city for them. You won’t have time for it anyway.
4) Remember to carry a few power bars. You may get in too late for dinner, or be on a trade show floor with limited access to food, or there may be a significant time change and you’ll be hungry – but no one else will be.
5) Pack a traveling outfit to change into for long flights. Find one that is wrinkle free with a jacket or sweater of some sort to keep warm on the plane, and doubling as a lightweight piece for walking around town.
6) Business cards. No, they never go out of style.
7) Remember to call your credit card companies and let them know if you’re traveling overseas. Then, if you are traveling out of your home country, bring an extra credit card or two. That way, if one is declined because you’re out of the country, the other one will work. Keep them separate so if one is stolen/lost, you’ll have a backup. Don’t forget to check their foreign transactions fees and choose the one that doesn’t have any, but do find one that gives you miles. You’ll qualify for free tickets.
8) Bring duplicate copies of your travel schedule and passport. Be sure to keep them in separate locations, just in case.
9) If you’re bringing a presentation, bring your laptop but put a duplicate on a portable thumb drive. That way, if something happens to your computer you still have your information.
10) Don’t bring extra expensive jewelry. Wear classic pieces that go with everything, even formal wear. If it’s a business dinner, you can’t go wrong with beautiful but classy basics. Then, you won’t accidentally leave them in the hotel safe, and since you’ll be wearing them, they won’t get lost. Bottom line, don’t bring anything wildly expensive or that you’d be really upset to lose.
BONUS: Ladies- when it comes to your makeup, forget the bulky yet adorable cosmetic bag and opt for just bringing the essentials for the days you’re gone. Put your makeup in a quart ziploc bag and bring along some travel sized shampoo and conditioner.
Traveling is stressful. Time zones are difficult and packing can be overwhelming. But, paring down your suitcase will allow you to carry exactly what you need, and in this case, less is usually more. And there is an added plus, you don’t need to worry about the airlines losing your luggage. Bon Voyage!
About the author: As president of The Hoyt Organization, a Los Angeles based public relations firm, Leeza Hoyt has been traveling around the world for more than 20 years. She has been to more than 30+ countries around the globe, and most major cities (and some not so major) cities in the US as well.