Global working: twenty tips for packing a suitcase

Today sees the start of a series of blog posts on business travel. Because the moment you take on a global role, some travel becomes a necessity.

Global working means a different perspective on travel to just the odd trip or holiday travel. Living out of a suitcase, missing those home luxuries, isn’t always easy.

We asked our constantly travelling team to share some of their travel tips tips for regular business travellers. They exceeded expectations (of course!) and over the next few weeks, we’ll have some lighthearted  – and not terribly scientific – blogs every Friday for the next few weeks.

This week: packing a suitcase…

You’ve seen the information from the airline and followed their instructions about bag sizes, weights, security, forbidden goods… So how can you make life easier?

Fitting it all in – quickly!

1. Reduce your packing time by 50% by leaving the regular “to-go” items in your suitcase.  Pulling them out only to repack again wastes time.  (Robyn Green)

2. Packing cubes really are a great investment.  (Robyn Green)

3. Take risks and leave some things at home!  The airports you travel in and places you go will typically sell any item you need in an emergency.  (Robyn Green)

4. Check the weather!  And if a jacket is necessary, wear it on the plane.  The airlines have yet to limit you on layers so take full advantage.   (Robyn Green)

5. Buy non-iron shirts – when you arrive put them in the bathroom and turn on the hot shower. The steam will bring out any creases. (Kevan Hall)


6. Laptops, liquids and ID should be easily accessible for Security Lines. (Robyn Green) Keep them near the top, or in a zip side pocket, so they’re at hand easy to ‘declare’.

7. If you’re wedded to a particular brand of toiletries, plan to buy it ‘airside’ at your home airport, once you’ve been through security.  (Claire Thompson)

8. Buy small versions of the toiletries you use, such as antiperspirant. Easier to pack. Easier to throw at the other end.  Use a small, see-through washbag already loaded up with your mini toiletries (mostly swiped from hotels!) so you never have to unload stuff into the horrid plastic bags at security. (Joff Marshall Lee and Kevan Hall)


9. Pack an eye mask (keep one from a long-haul flight). It cures the problems of pathetic hotel curtains and lets you sleep any time, anywhere. (Janet Davis)

10. Stuff socks and any small items inside shoes to maximize use of space. Pack them last – they make great ‘fillers’ in space you might not otherwise have used, and ‘proppers’ to hold things in place. (Kevan Hall and Claire Thompson)

11. Wherever you’re headed, pack a swimsuit in your hand luggage. It doubles up as spare underwear in case of extra-long delays (swimmers  generally dry out faster than other materials) or lost luggage, and having it to hand means you can take advantage of any impromptu chances to relax or exercise.

12. At risk of sounding odd, I always carry a pillowcase with me to put my dirty linen into. It serves a double purpose and if required covers the smell of any unpleasant washing detergent in hotel beds, or worse still, staleness if you get placed in a room previously occupied by smokers. (Claire Thompson)


13. Kevan Hall recommends an iPad. It takes up less space than a laptop, and is usually adequate for working while travelling.

14. Invest in a Kindle if you like to read. It’s more than a single book and you never run out. The Kindle app for the ipad also work well, and if you manage the apps, doesn’t burn your batteries. (Kevan Hall and Claire Thompson)

15. Bring a mini speaker (highly recommend X-mini II) for laptops – tiny but capable of providing music and sound for video clips in a training room.  Also connects to any mobile to play music in hotel room etc.  Only about $40/£30. (Joff Marshall Lee)

16. Take out your laptop battery to save loads of weight, if you don’t need it when on the move. Read emails etc on your smartphone. (Joff Marshall Lee)

17.  Use clothes as ‘packaging’ for electronics to keep them from damage. (Claire Thompson).

18. To avoid billing shocks or phones that won’t work, talk to your mobile phone provider about travelling more regularly and get them to suggest a matching phone package – or warn your company’s telecoms manager. Make plans for when you’re in places that your SIM card won’t work – before you’re at stage of last minute planning to get there.

19. And to your bank, so that they don’t freeze your account for security reasons the first time you travel somewhere new.

And finally

20. Clear your case of destination labels stuck on for previous travels. If your baggage and you get parted, these sticky labels tell the airports where the case was originally destined for.

What are your packing tips? Share them below – we ‘ll find a stress ball or two as thank yous!

Next week….

Some of these tips are designed to make your packing lighter, so that you can get through the airport faster. But do you need to?

Something interesting happened when we started talking about business travel. There was a split down the middle of the team. The whole ‘packing for a trip’ element caused a big debate – so next week we take a look in more depth: Travelling light?

And you’re invited to have your say on the seat debate: aisle, middle or window seat? (And why?)
Click here to take survey

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