20+ Consulting travel essentials

By | February 26, 2016

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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6 thoughts on “20+ Consulting travel essentials

  1. Dan Willis

    Dude Wipes (look it up), 1 foot extension cord with 3 AC and 2 5V USB outlets (found it at a Walmart in Mexico), MiFi unit that doubles as a phone charger.

  2. Lev

    First, Thank you for your always useful and fun to read blogs.

    One suggestion in regards to the “USB stick” – I would suggest to use “secure hardware encrypted USB drives” – to keep the data on-the-go protected. If the drive is lost, data is encrypted and inaccessible.

    There are now a few good options to chose from – by Kingston, iStorage, Corsair, etc. The encrypted USB drives are a bit more expensive (vs standard USB drives), but comply with recent legal regulations (US, EU, etc.) in regards to the data privacy and protection and help consultants to keep their clients and customers data confidential.

  3. akashbhatia

    Thanks for the list. I would add – MiFi (this is priceless), passport (you never know), business cards (yes, I’m old fashioned), cash (yes it’s still used), privacy screen (for laptop and phone), reading material (magazine, books), notebook/pen.

  4. sandeep anand

    Solid list. Additions – small lint roller, Tide to-go stain remover (pen)

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