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No More Baggage: Avoid Checking Luggage While Traveling For Business

Lifestyle

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.

For more tips on packing perfectly, check out How To Pack and Hitha On The Go. Keep calm, and always carry on!

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.