I travel a lot. Like most management consultants, I am a road warrior. According to Marriott.com, I have stayed 152 nights last year. Perhaps 10% of that is from my wife who also uses my rewards number, but needless to say, lots of hotel, plane, car.
Funny sidebar – a friend was NOT traveling one week, and his credit card flagged him for using his personal card CLOSE to his home during a work week. The credit card algorithm could not fathom him being HOME during the week. Yikes. Dysfunctional.
I am in the professional services business. My place is at the client site – whether in an office, conference room, or hotel concierge lounge. The tools of my craft are a computer, dry-ink marker, cell phone, wifi connection, my brain, my heart, and my mouth. Yes, traveling, thinking, typing, and talking. T – T – T – T
What kind of “stuff” do I keep in my bag? Here is an abbreviated list of things that I carry around, find helpful, and recommend. Not in any particular order
- Sunglasses. Yes, I am one of those people who wear sunglasses whenever I can. In the airport, taxi, airplane. Incognito “no eye contact” look
- Headphones. Listen to podcasts all the time. Also, keep them in while on the flight or around loud civilians (a.k.a. leisure travelers with kids)
- Contigo 20 oz bottle. This is an advanced thermos bottle. Great for coffee, tea – great for getting in/out of plane seats, cars. Throw it in your bag, no spill.
- Car phone re-charger. Preferably a 2-prong for you and a friend.
- Phone charging powerpack. Cannot let your cell phone die.
- Pillbox of random OTC medications. Advil, Pep-to Bismol, Benydrl, TUMS
- Stamps. If you randomly mail your mom, wife, husband, or nephew. #winning
- Napkins. Yes, I stash napkins every time I go a fast casual restaurant. Ready for any spill, gross conference room table, dirt on shoes, or to throw away gum
- Post-it notes. Perhaps I learned this from my father, but it’s great to have paper handy, and honestly
- Mouse. Probably 70% of my team uses a the built-in touchpad on the computers, but honestly . . . I cannot understand that. I HAVE TO HAVE a mouse
- Shoe polish. This is usually in my rollerbag, but during East Coast winters, the snow and salt makes your shoes look terrible.
- Gum. Yes, a toothbrush would be preferable, but it’s a luxury. Gum is enough.
- The project kick-off ppt. You just never know when you will be sitting down with a new stakeholder and want to walk them through a few pages.
- USB stick. When you are in an interview and they have a copy of the file you want, just ask for it right then and there. (Lev makes a good point – encrypted. . .)
- Something from home. If you have kids, bring some small thing that reminds you of them. For me, I carry about a matchbox car by 4 year old nephew gave me
- Purell. Dude, public places are gross. Airports are gross. Hotels are gross.
What do you carry in your consulting bag that makes life easier, more pleasant, or less drama-filled?
Advice from commentators below:
- Dude Wipes
- MiFi unit that doubles as a phone charger
- 1 foot extension cord with 3 AC and 2 5V USB outlets
- Tide stain stick
- Lint roller
- Privacy screen for laptop
- Business cards (yes, old fashioned is good)