Canadian flag backpackIf you’re working as a project manager, software trainer or business consultant, it’s likely that you have to travel from time to time to client offices for on-site client visits. I know I do – in fact, as I type this I’m sitting in Terminal 3 of Toronto’s Pearson Airport, preparing to board a plane bound for New York City. From there I will catch a connecting flight home to Paris.

If you’re like me, packing for such a trip may be a bit of an ordeal – I have certain necessities that I like to have with me at all times; my iPhone, my mp3 player, and my Kindle, for example – not to mention changes of underwear! And without fresh contact lenses I can’t see two feet in front of my face.

A packing checklist spreadsheet

To help me pack my suitcase and travel bag for such business trips, I created an Excel spreadsheet with a checklist of my personal packing essentials. I’ve found it extremely useful when packing for trips! And as I’m all about sharing what’s useful, I’ve made it available for free download, here:

Brian’s business trip packing list!

Tips for successful packing

Here are some tips for using the packing list successfully:

  • Use this packing checklist as a template and make it your own. Remove those items that you don’t need from my version of the list (if you don’t wear contact lenses, for example, you’re not going to want that item on your list) and add those items that are important to you.
  • Make sure you only check off each item as you put it in your suitcase. I speak from experience here… for a recent trip to London I put my medication in a “staging area” and checked it off as being packed, but then forgot to load the medication from the staging area to my suitcase. As such I had to have my wife scan and email my French prescriptions to me in England, find a British doctor (on a Sunday no less) to write me new prescriptions for my medication, and then fill those prescriptions at a London pharmacy. A lot of work considering my packing list was supposed to help me avoid such situations!
  • If you’re printing paper copies of the checklist to use when packing, print out two copies of the checklist for each trip; one for the trip there and one for the return voyage, so that you won’t leave anything essential (like your phone charger) in the hotel.
  • If anything you’re packing is made of glass, you’ll want to wrap it up snug in a shirt or sweater in the middle of your suitcase. Better yet, don’t pack anything made of glass – suitcase handlers at airports won’t tend to be gentle with your luggage.
  • Don’t forget to leave a little room in your suitcase for souvenirs! It’s always fun to bring a little something home from the places you visit.
  • Let me know, via comment, if I’ve left anything essential off my packing list, and I’d be glad to add it to the packing list template.

And that’s all there is to it! Wherever you’re off to, I hope you have a safe and pleasant trip.