Packing Tips for the Anti-Packrat

Picture of luggage at the airport

Luggage is a necessary evil for most road warriors. After all, nobody really likes packing, lugging around a suitcase, and living out of one. Luckily, there
are simple tactics to prevent needless luggage-related stress. Here are some ways to slim down your load from business travel expert Jason Womack, author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More.


Become a packing minimalist. How much time do you spend packing and unpacking before and after each trip? And when was the last time you really evaluated the contents of your suitcase? If you’re like many frequent travelers, says Womack, you probably tend to prepare for a trip on autopilot, and you include items that you never use or wear.

Before the next trip, carefully examine what you pack and eliminate anything that isn’t necessary. I know it sounds overly simple, but I promise you’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to find what you need when you’re on the road. Plus, the next time you have to pack, the task will go a lot more quickly. To save yourself some last-minute stress, I suggest repacking your travel bag the second everything is washed, dried, and folded.

Invest in important duplicates for travel. All road warriors have experienced the sinking feeling that hits the moment you realize you’ve forgotten your phone charger, or even your hairbrush. It’s worth investing in a duplicate set of power chargers for your phone, laptop, and other tech devices, as well as a duplicate set of toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, grooming products, etc.). Always keep these duplicates in your travel bag. This way, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting something, and you’ll save time because you won’t have to unplug your office setup and raid your bathroom before every trip.

Charge it…all. Create a checklist of “power” items with which you travel and get into the habit of reviewing that list the night before each trip in order to make sure each device is charging.

I have one place in my home office where I always charge my travel must-haves. Conveniently, it’s on the same counter as my keys and wallet so I’m sure to grab my charging items before I head off to the airport. Be sure to do the same thing in your hotel room the night before traveling back home, too. And again, buy extra charging cords that always stay in your carry-on bag.

Pack your workout gear. Taking advantage of your hotel’s gym, even if it’s only for 20 minutes, can relieve travel stress, keep you energized, and help with jetlag. Always carry a set of workout clothes in case you get a chance to use them, and lay them out when you arrive at your hotel room so that you won’t have to dig through your luggage first thing in the morning.

Clipart of luggage on a cart

Less is more when it comes to luggage.

Be medically prepared. Always travel with a first aid kit that includes pain relievers, band-aids, cold medicine, etc. Having to stop what you’re doing to find a pharmacy can be time-consuming and expensive.

Keep important extras close. If you’re traveling for business: Ladies, always put an extra pair of pantyhose in your purse. Men, you might want to put a back-up tie in your briefcase. Having items like these on hand can reduce stress if you run into any hiccups on the road.

— Jason Womack, RFT Contributor

Jason Womack

Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA, is a road warrior, business consultant, and author. He provides practical methods to maximize tools, systems, and processes to achieve quality work/life balance. He has worked with leaders and executives for over 16 years in the business and education sectors. His focus is on creating ideas that matter and implementing solutions that are valuable to organizations and the individuals in those organizations. He’s also the author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More.