Monday, June 22, 2009

My Travel Essentials

Packing is easy when you roll your clothes
My week-long stint in Regina has come to an end, and while I am always sad to leave the west, I was anxious to get back home to my own bed and house. I definitely needed a week away to recharge my 'work battery', and on that front, the week was an absolute success. Our team worked together seamlessly to put on a fantastic show. Work? Not with a good team and great people!

Being prepared for a week of travel, whether work or leisure, definitely contributes a lot to my personal sense of success also. On the flight to Regina, I noticed a weblink entitled 'travel-ready you' in my Homemakers magazine- I know what you're thinking, and yes, I read this magazine. For a $10 subscription, I love the recipes and having a great, little read.

With a bit of time to kill when I got to my hotel room, I checked out the magazine's list of 10 travel essentials on their website. This got me thinking about my 'must-haves' for travel. Afterall, I spend so much time boarding planes, in hotel rooms, and navigating the country's major and not-so-major cities, I certainly have some items I won't leave home without.

Savvy Homegirl's Voyaging Must-Haves

  1. iPod. I don't leave home without it, ever. Drown out screaming babies, nasty-sniffly passengers, and obnoxious loud-talkers on the plane with your own music selection or use the headphones for the seat-back TVs. I also can not run without it.

  2. Running shoes & workout clothes. Combined with my iPod, I can squeeze in exercise anywhere, hotel gym or not. Running or walking outside is also a fantastic way to get to know the city your visiting. Ask the front desk for suggestions, especially if you're not comfortable in the area of the city. This is how I discovered the 'gem' of Regina - Wascana Park. A trip to Regina isn't complete for me if I don't run around the lake at least once.

  3. Flip flops for summer, crocks for winter. After 8 hours on your feet at a trade show, I need some comfy shoes I can slip into, even if its just to bum around my hotel room.

  4. Snacks. Open my carry-on bag, and you are guaranteed to find at least some homemade granola or trail mix and apples. Why pay for over-priced airport snacks when you can bring your own and know you're eating healthy? Once I'm at my destination, they give me a boost before a morning run and I stash some in my purse to curb the meeting cookie and pastry break cravings. Just remember - no liquids over 100mL or grams (ie. yogurt)!

  5. Travel mug. I just recently started bringing my own mug. I have become accustomed to taking my coffee with me in the morning, so this gives me a little bit of home while I'm on the road. I fill up for free before leaving the hotel, and I save $1.59 and at least 15 minutes getting a morning "Tim's" before my meeting or event. Having that additional 15 minutes this week definitely saved me some morning stress.

  6. An extra, zippered bag that's tough enough to withstand the airport luggage system. I have a bad habit of stuffing my suitcase full, so I don't have room for any 'extras' I pick up while away. An extra bag, like a tote that zips closed, can be folded up easily and packed, but provides another option when I can't jam my suitcase closed or I want to reduce my carry-on 'load'.

  7. Two "extra" outfits - one polished and professional for any unexpected opportunities to make a great first impression and one, swanky evening outfit. So many times, I have been without the 'right' clothes or shoes when invited to a reception or dinner unexpectedly. Having the extra outfits or incorporating them into my planned wardrobe ensures I am always dressed confidently and not pressured to buy a new outfit just because I didn't bring the right clothes.

  8. Unique bag tags, ribbons or luggage itself. I received Samsung luggage several years ago that is tan and silver. No one else has it (that I've seen on the luggage carousel yet), so it makes spotting bags easy. When I do check a plain, black bag, I tie on a bright ribbon and affix my unique luggage tags. Then I can stand back and spot my bag from a distance, as opposed to being one of those morons that crowd the carousel (this is my biggest pet peeve, EVER).

  9. A big shoulder bag. As a carry-on, this is my purse. It's big enough to put in my laptop, electronic gadgets, wallet and some snacks. Then I can stash my computer bag overhead and keep my purse on the floor with everything I need for the flight within arm's reach. It is also big enough to stow a file folder and water bottle for transit between hotel / meetings / events. A smaller, evening purse can be tossed in your luggage if its going to be needed.

  10. My Garmin. I actually bought my Garmin while travelling, because I was fed up with driving around lost in an unfamiliar city. Now, I take it everywhere with me. Why give yourself the extra stress? But beware - on country roads and rural areas, it may not be as accurate.

Any travel essentials you can't leave home without?

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