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up-in-the-air-movie
Over the holiday break I saw the movie “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney, which has pulled in about $50 million at the box office as of this recording. The film shows Clooney as a lifetime veteran of airline travel, operating with ruthless efficiency while showing a new business traveler the ropes.

While I’m not hanging out in the Admirals Club with executive platinum members, I do have a decent amount of business travel under my belt over the years.

So as I prepare to head out to the Wired office in San Francisco for a few days and need to crank out a quick podcast before I go, having just packed for my flight tomorrow, I figured I’d give you a glance into my bag. Doing this has gained some popularity, just do a google image search for What’s in my bag or check out the What’s in your Bag group on Flickr.

So I decided to put together a podcast titled:

How to Pack for a Business Trip

Download the podcast from iTunes, or play it below:

 

Here’s an outline of today’s topics:

First – the global rules
– In the age of IM, email, conference calls, and video chat, why do business travel in the first place?
– Always fly direct
– Never check bags
– The time of day I always try to fly
– My tips (or lack thereof) for dealing with Jetlag
– Keep a vacation / trip checklist

Jim’s tips

– Jim’s dorky, analytical “Vacation Checklist” file
– Why it’s so helpful, and the two types of things that need to be on it
– Buy two of everything (I explain what)

Jim’s pick for the perfect carry-on:
21″ “Mother Lode” rolling carry-on from eBags.com
– Not the 22″ pr 24″ standard that *just misses* fitting in the overheard … you know it’s going to fit
– Bright orange lining
– Customize it with removable, Velcro shelf
– Choice of upper and lower compartment, or one large
– Key points: Good handles, good wheels, stands up when packed

Why eBags has done a great job marketing this product:
– Unique, personal video walk-through
– Reviews: 1,723 out of 1,778 (97%!) would buy it again

What goes in it
– Jim tip: stick to one color theme (black or brown)
– Adapt to your needs: Formal vs. casual
– Example footwear: Kenneth Cole shoes (MVP candidate)
– Dark jeans
– 3 black dress socks
– 3 casual/running socks
– 3 non-wrinkle dress shirts
– 3 t-shirts
– 2 hats (casual, running)
– 1 v-neck sweater or zip up
– Running sneakers
– Running shorts
– Dri-fit shirt
– Laptop brick
– Papers/work items
– Toiletries
– Eagle Creek Electronics bag – chargers, cables, sunglasses, camera

how-to-pack-for-business-trip-carry-on

Luggage 2 – Backpack
– Switch from leather messenger during the workweek to travel-centric bag
– Swiss Army one has worked well, but I need an upgrade; laptop sleeve nice

What goes in the backpack with you
– Keep it light
– Leave room for enough space under the seat

– Laptop
– Food / gum / mints (never know who will be next to you)
– Travel pillow — I tell you which one I highly recommend (see below)
– Magazines / books
– Electronics: Work Treo, iPhone, iPod, Thumb drive with important work files, headphones
– Toiletries (Tip: Get the expandable ziplock bags, put it in your backpack but don’t bring out unless security requests it)

how-to-pack-for-business-trip-backpack

What to wear
– Please, no pajamas
– Layer t-shirt then zip-up
– More comfortable of your 2 dark jeans
– Good socks (remember you’ll be taking off your shoes during security)
– Ex-officio underwear (MVP candidate)

Jim’s MVT’s (Most valuable travel items)rei-powerstretch
1. Black Gap sportscoat
– Warm enough to be used as a primary jacket in most weather (just add a scarf)
– Soft material doesn’t wrinkle vs. a dressier jacket
– Can be dressed up with a dress shirt or casual with a t-shirt

2. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
– $19.95 for small size at REI
– Compresses fairly small
– Can be used as lumbar support when driving or if you have an airplane pillow
– Unfolds for supportive sleeping pillow

3. Bose noise-cancelling headphones
Pros: Screams “leave me alone,” excellent sound, drowns out noise, screaming kids and yapping teens
Cons: Expensive, can get hot, some argue it’s a marketing scam

4. Logitech VX Nano Wireless laser mouse
– Available on Amazon for about $60
– 715 reviews
– Ergonomic, works great on any surface, small transmitter, comes with carry bag

5. REI Powerstretch Half-zip top
– The best piece of clothing I’ve ever owned
– I’ve owned mine since 1999
– Has been through mountain biking, running, casual, and traveled with me around the world
– 4-way stretch, warm when it gets chilly but is not bulky, but not hot when it warms up
– Around $50-$80 at REI

So to sum things up…
– Keep a checklist of items and outfits
– Buy two sets of toiletries
– Never check bags, fly early, fly direct
– Go for a smaller carry-on like the eBags mother lode
– Worth it to spend the money on a few high-quality, multi-function items
– Pillow
– Sportscoat
– Stretch pullover

Happy Travels

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