My husband has been traveling quite a bit for business this spring. He’s not a true road warrior like the management consultants out there pounding the pavement to sites weekly, but he has been away Monday-Friday 4 out of the past 6 weeks. As you might imagine, he’s gotten pretty good at packing light. I thought I’d give you a peek at his process, since it’s a bit different from mine and honestly even more successful!
I got him this checklist as a stocking stuffer a couple of years ago. It was mostly a gag gift, but as with many gags there was a grain of truth there: he would always start packing by making a list, but he would inevitably forget something major – socks, underwear, bathing suit for a beach vacation. Never again!
He starts packing the day before and goes through the list crossing off anything he doesn’t need for this particular trip. Then, he goes down the line and pulls out everything he needs, being careful to make sure each piece can work with all the others. He rolls each item to reduce wrinkling, and stacks them in the bottom of the suitcase. The toiletry bag and any accessories like belts and pocket squares go in on top. He keeps his toiletry kit stocked and ready to go at all times with duplicates of everything he uses regularly.
Get ready for this: he brings one bag. Not a rolling bag plus a carry on, just this quite small rolling suitcase from Longchamp for clothing, toiletries, electronics, and any other work stuff. My dad (a former banker) once told him that the most powerful guy in the room has the smallest amount of stuff with him. So, for work travel, when he’s usually giving presentations and looking to impress, my husband has pared back to the absolute essentials: laptop, notepad, pen. These easily slide into a pocket in his carryon.
Aside: ladies, this applies to us, too. Envision walking into a meeting with only a leather-bound notepad, pen, and smartphone (turned to silent, only present to check info or your calendar) vs. schlepping in with a big tote and rifling through it to find your writing materials, and you’ll see the difference.
Let’s be honest, a major reason my husband can get away with packing so light is that he can wear one pair of shoes for the plane, work, and evenings out – usually his trusty brown Ferragamo loafers shown in the first pic above. I’ve been working on reducing the amount of footwear I travel with, but I just don’t think I’ll ever get down to one pair!