Road Warrior – Tips When Packing for Business Travel


Good morning everyone! This week I hit the road in again in my recruiting travels for Camp Rockmont, and thought I should pass along some tips for travel packing. When I first started doing this, in September 2009, I brought way too much.

  • A shirt a day
  • Boxers for each day
  • Dress pants, and a shirt for each show
  • 3 pairs of shoes (dress, casual, athletic)
  • Daily workout clothes
  • Jacket and/or fleece
  • Plenty of socks
  • Entertainment: 3-4 books, a couple movies, my journal
  • Mac and long extension cord (for coffee shop power)
  • Sometimes my guitar
  • Various hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, shaving cream, razor, deodorant, hair cream, sore muscle rub)

Ugh, I was toting around and expedition’s worth of clothes and accessories. Because hey, I wanted to have clean clothes, didn’t want to wear the same shirt twice, because heaven forbid that someone in Atlanta sees last night’s show picture in Chattanooga on the website and realizes I’m wearing the same shirt that night! O, the shame and embarrassment!

It was ridiculous. Now for a 3-4 day trip, here’s what I normally take.

  • Dress pants, 2 nice shirts (in case I spill BBQ sauce on one)
  • 1 set of workout clothes
  • 3 pairs of shoes (they’re all used every day & have a function)
  • 1 pair of Ex-Officio Give-n-Go boxers ($25)
  • 2 pair of Smartwool socks (1 dress & 1 athletic) [$10-20]
  • 1 casual shirt (see below)
  • 1 book & journal
  • Fewer hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, 3-in-1 soap, razor, deodorant, hair cream)
  • Jacket or Fleece pullover
  • Mac with short cord

That may still seem like a lot, but it’s much better than what I was doing. I can easily fit this all in one small duffel and my Timbuk2 messenger bag. So, what are my tips for those hitting the road?

  • Pack less: People in Atlanta don’t care if you wore the same shirt yesterday in Chattanooga. Also, it’s fine if the clothes aren’t dryer fresh every day. But, that does lead me to…
  • Pack and wear breathable, wrinkle-resistant clothes: I have a couple shirts that are my staples. They breathe, are comfortable, and resist wrinkles. Especially in the South, breathability is key. Here are my 2 favorites.

Patagonia Three Trees Shirt ($75)

Arcteryx Peakline Shirt ($75)

  • You may be thinking, “That’s nice, but I have to be in dress clothes or a suit all day”. If that’s your game, then I recommend that you check out Nau. They make great clothes that look great in a meeting, yet still function like outdoor gear. It’s a perfect fusion. If I had to wear a suit regularly, look hip, be functional outside, follow the multi-use rule, and had more money, then I would shop here and buy something like this.

    Nau Riding Jacket ($225)

  • Be willing to do laundry in the sink: One of the side benefits of quick-drying fabrics is that you can wash something in hotel sink with a dab of Dr. Bronner’s soap ($3-60), then hang it to dry overnight. Not an ideal wash, but good in a fix. This is actually the recommended method of cleaning for the Ex-O boxers.
  • Pack items with multiple uses: This is where I like to save some bag space. If you like wearing athletic shoes casually, do it (I don’t). If you can wear a workout shirt the day before you use it, go ahead! I’ve recently gotten hooked on a 3-1 “man” soap. Body, shampoo, shave. It’s great, leaves me so fresh and so clean clean. I was skeptical about how it would be as shaving cream, but it worked like a charm. The company is Shea Mouisture, and they sell at Target & Walgreens ($5). Looking at their Facebook page though, I am the only white guy to use their products.
  • Only bring 1 book and piece of technology (as your type of work allows): I used to bring 2-3 books a trip, usually from different genres, and then not even pick up one of them. Now just pick a book and go with it, and only if I’m very close to being finished will I bring another. Owners of a Kindle, Nook, or Fire don’t have this problem. My piece of tech is my Mac, but I was bringing the battery cord extender, which takes up space and weight in my bag. I thought it would be good for when I was in a coffee shop or Barnes & Noble, and had to reach for an outlet. Turns out most times they’re all being used, or I’m close to one, or I’m not going to be there long enough to worry about my battery dying.
  • The most important aspect is that be sure everything you’re packing will definitely be used. You probably saw that I still had 3 pairs of shoes listed, and that’s true. But I use each pair every day, and they serve a different purpose. I run, I work, and I dress for the show. I’m not a guy that wears tennis shoes with jeans, ala Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love (or my friend Kevin). I’m not in the Ryan Gosling dress code either, but a nice in-between. The frustration I had was packing 2 books, 3 shirts, socks, and boxers that never left my bag. Use what you pack.

Mostly, I had to let go of the worry that I needed to have something “new” to wear each day, and that I needed to bring stuff “just in case”. You’ll be fine, as I am now.

Any travel tips you would like to pass on?

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4 thoughts on “Road Warrior – Tips When Packing for Business Travel

  1. Pingback: Road Warrior: Travel clothing update | The Journey

  2. Pingback: Writing for Eyeballs, Writing for Love | The Journey

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