Essentials for Business Travel

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Travel Season

I have written about travel before, but I’d like to expound as my life and work have been under a bit of upheaval as of late – an upheaval of the rolling, carry-on kind. An airplane and an airport have become my remote offices and while I enjoy business travel, I find myself liking my home office more and more these days. Of the last three months, I have been on the road for eight weeks. In this short and frenzied time, I have sought to further perfect my “travel practice”. I would say that I am now an expert, seriously.

A crazy schedule

Next week, I fly into New York for two, possibly three meetings on Monday. That eveing I fly to Chicago, where I will have a breakfast meeting on Tuesday. From there, I will drive to Northwest Indiana to visit some dear friends – a brief respite. On Wednesday, I will head to Toronto to be part of Social HR Camp on Thursday – that evening, I head back to Chicago to fly home in time for a weekend of collapse. While this may sound daunting and crazy, I am actually looking forward to this adventure and the networking which will accompany this journey.

What I Pack

To further prepare for my week of craziness, I have conferred with other expert biz travelers and have compiled a list of travel necessities to make life on the road a bit easier. This list is not meant to be the one and only or even complete. It will evolve as I do and will continually be refined. Please understand that I, personally, travel very light and rarely check luggage.

So without further ado…

Essential Mobile Apps

  1. Starbucks, loaded – breakfast and lunch on the road
  2. HotelTonight – check in, anytime, anywhere – perfect if you are not sure exactly where you will be
  3. Waze – Crowdsourced traffic info
  4. Evernote – not just for notes!
  5. Sleep Cycle – monitor sleep patterns and wake to a less irritating alarm
  6. Various Airline Apps – I haven’t carried a paper ticket in a couple years
  7. Tripit – to manage your itinerary
  8. Dropbox – just in case…
  9. Spotify – for my jams!

Essential Devices and accessories

  1. Smart Phone
  2. Mini iPad / Tablet
  3. MacBook Air / Laptop and Bluetooth mouse – though I am seriously considering no laptop for future trips
  4. External hard drive and thumb drive – just in case
  5. Lightning Digital AV adapter – or whatever you need for presentations/speaking engagements
  6. 6-foot extension cord – for hotels and airports, has been appreciated by many travelers
  7. Extra phone charger
  8. Travel Electrical Adapters, if needed

Personal Essentials

  1. Sleep mask – for red eye flights or less than dark hotel rooms
  2. Ear plugs (“Ultimate Comfort” was one brand named)
  3. Noise-canceling headphones
  4. Chocolate, protein bars, water…
  5. Antibacterial wipes – I will never fly or rent a car without them again
  6. Melatonin – for essential ZZZZZs
  7. Allergy Pills, GNC brand Zinc Lozenges, Saline Nasal spray (in case of cold & flu)
  8. Scarf – serves as a mask in the air if a fellow passengers are coughing or farting (you know what I’m talking about)
  9. For longer than 3-hour flights, I bring a memory foam neck travel pillow
  10. Umbrella


I always check the upcoming weather for where I will be and plan/pack accordingly. Multiple outfits from key essential items like 1- black or gray skirt/slacks, 1- dress tops/shirts, 2- sweaters or 1- sport coat, 1-dress/suit, 1-pair of boots, TOMS or UGGs for flying, overcoat (if needed), and preferred intimates – 2 more pair of underwear than I think I will need. 


After 13 years of lugging around my incredibly durable Tumi carry-on, I opted for a lighter-weight Travelpro which I LOVE, of course in black, it’s what I prefer. It is much easier for me to lift to the overhead bins and it minds me much batter as I race through airports. Additionally, I upgraded my very durable but heavy Tumi lapop bag to the new, lighter weight Tumi T-Tech /T-Pass check point friendly laptop bag – which I also love! (BTW, both of these bags were on sale at Macy’s!)

Anything missing?

I would love to hear from you – perhaps I missed an essential you love or have to have. Please feel free to share, I am always willing to refine my own travel process/practice to attain further perfection.

Wishing you safe journeys and pleasant stays!

by Rayanne Thorn



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  1. I am so with you on the 6 foot extension cord. Don’t hotels just love to hide the extra outlets?

  2. These are some really good tips on packing, but you forgot my favorite thing to pack: a good book. My favorite part of packing for any trip is figuring out which book (or books) to bring along with me. Sometimes I want to unplug from all the tech that often travels with me and just dig into a good story. No Kindles or ebooks for me.

    Stephanie Hammerwold

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