Lifestyle 13 July 2017
I've traveled over a million miles. Most of those miles were for business travel, and with a carry-on suitcase.
Over these miles and years traveled, I've developed a packing system that has helped me pack for a bevy of occasions from investor meetings, to trade shows, to manufacturing facility tours. I've dutifully followed this system to pack for the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference and to the United State of Women Summit.
And I have never checked a bag.
My book, How To Pack, outlines my entire packing method in detail. These five rules are the cornerstones of the method and will help you keep calm and carry on for your next work trip.
Make a list, check it twice
Writing a list seems obvious, and most of us just don't write one when it comes to packing. Sometimes, we get it right. We pack everything we need, zip up the suitcase with ease, and start our trip feeling confident and on top of everything.
Other times, we forget to pack our underwear or the proper work shoes. We frantically throw random items in our suitcase 2 minutes before jumping in a cab. Stress overwhelms us, and we find it difficult to get back on track and focus on the goal of the trip.
By writing a list a week in advance, you can plan the perfect outfits and give yourself ample time to get them laundered and mended. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and breakfast the morning you leave instead of sitting on your suitcase to zip it closed. Doing the former sets you up for success for your trip.
Pack not-so-basic basics
Basic isn't a bad thing. Some may view it as boring. I see basic as essential, classic, and versatile. It's this definition of basic that filters the clothes I select and pack.
I want tailored, powerful pieces that I can wear at least twice. I pick pieces and outfits that make me feel confident and ready to tackle the world.
Such items are simple, unfussy, and comfortable. My tried and true basics are ponte pants (stretchy, but tailored), collarless blouses, and sheath dresses that can be dressed up with a bold necklace or a great pair of heels.
Pre-pack your toiletries
No matter how frequently you travel, pre-packing your toiletries is the ultimate time-saving and stress-relieving tip. Never again will you be rushing to decant your essential products into tiny bottles right before leaving or having to pay significantly more to buy contact lens solution at the airport. You'll always have this one part of your packing routine completed. Hop over to Amazon or Sephora and order your favorite products - dental, skin, face, hair - in TSA-approved sizes. Invest in a plastic, zippered quart-sized bag. Not only will it last longer than a Ziploc bag, you'll be able to fit more products inside. At the end of every trip, refill or replace the empty bottles and set the bag aside. You'll be ready to go.
Streamline your shoes
Three pairs of shoes are all you'll ever need for a trip, especially a business trip. A classic pair of heels, a sharp pair of flats, and sneakers, for the requisite workouts.
After clothing, shoes occupy the most space in your luggage. They're also the items requiring the most thought when selecting which to pack. Style and comfort are top priorities, and a great pair of shoes can elevate your outfit.
I like one pair to be a bold color or a bright pattern that complements your neutral outfits. To contrast, I also like a classic style that will always be safe. If fitness is important to you, it's worth investing in a pair of sneakers exclusively for travel. Nike FlyKnit or New Balance Minimus styles pack nearly flat while providing incredible support for strenuous workouts.
I recommend packing your shoes in their own bags - either a roomy shoe bag for all your shoes or a small drawstring one for each shoe - to keep the rest of your belongings clean and protected from the soles of your shoes.
Pick the right bags
What you pack your belongings in is as important as how you pack them. A lightweight suitcase with a solid handle and sturdy wheels can make walking through the airport a breeze, while a bulky duffel or a loose wheel can throw you off - literally.
Similarly, your personal item is equally important. A structured tote with lots of pockets will organize your belongings beautifully, while a cavernous tote can become a black hole and make it impossible to find your ID while going through security.
I select my bags over a week in advance, and inspect them to make sure they're in good enough condition to travel. There is nothing worse than having a suitcase break while en route, and having to purchase and repack your belongings while trying to make your flight. I would know. This actually happened to me while traveling in Asia.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist