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 bottleThis 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
  • MouseProbably 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 stickWhen 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
  • Cash 
  • Business cards (yes, old fashioned is good)

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