Work travel comes with its perks like time out of the office, the opportunity to explore different parts of the country (or globe!) and hotel rooms that let you rest easy without all the work. But, work travel also can come with some challenges, because you’re away from your comfort zone and are often operating by a schedule out of your hands. From frequent fliers to road warriors, those who travel a lot for work have found the best tips we all can use!
Today we break down 21 essentials to help you travel like a boss. But this list doesn’t have to end here. Tweet us @iwantherjob and use #TravelLikeABoss to share your finely-honed travel skills. Until then, read on for some essentials to make your next work trip a breeze.
1. TSA Pre-Check
Skip the awkwardness of taking off your shoes in front of your co-workers, and get through security faster with TSA Pre-Check. In January 2019, 94% of Pre-Check passengers glided through security in 5 minutes or less. If you want more time to grab a latte, or peruse the magazine stand, it’s a must. Plus, many companies will let employees who travel for work frequently expense their TSA Pre-Check.
2. Backup USB Power Bank
With unpredictable travel schedules, you never quite know if your flight will take off on time or if work will require you to stay an extra day or two. Consider buying a backup USB power bank to keep in your purse or carry-on. Keep it charged, and you’ll be prepared wherever the day takes you.
3. Get. Rewarded.
Many companies offer travelers rewards. Make sure you add your frequent flier number every time you fly. Sign up for travel rewards from your favorite hotel loyalty program, like Best Western Rewards. Best Western Hotels & Resorts even offers Best Western Business Advantage, a rewards program dedicated to small business that offers preferred rates and automatic elite-level status.
4. Picture Perfect
Keep photos of your favorite travel essentials tucked into a labeled folder on your iPhone, or keep it handy in Evernote. However you decide to store it, taking photos of items you frequently pack (or even forget!) can come in handy when you have to pack for a last-minute trip. Take it a step further and photograph your outfits in advance, like many celebrity stylists do for their clients, making packing for future trips a breeze.
5. Lightweight Blanket
To travel like a boss, you need to pack like a boss. Forget the scratchy, germy airplane blanket, and bring your own! Flights are often chilly, and you can’t always guarantee your seatmate will keep their air vent closed. You can find affordable lightweight blankets that are super cozy at Target and TJ Maxx.
6. Crystal Light Pouches
I Want Her Job reader Laura loves packing Crystal Light pouches, because they can make any drink a sweet treat, without all the calories. They also are great to stuff in your purse or laptop case to have on hand when you want to sweeten up the standard water bottles you’re given at a conference.
7. Big, Bold Luggage Tags
Make your baggage claim experience a breeze with a bright luggage tag that is distinctly you. Brands like Lilly Pulitzer, Anthropologie and J. Crew offer vibrant colors and patterns. When traveling for personal vacation, use the card provided with the luggage tag to write your name and phone number. When you travel for work, simply slide in your business card over the top.
8. Thick Moisturizer And Hand Cream
Although it can seem like a pain to pick up tiny sizes of beloved products, it’s never been easier. Sites like Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom offer gift sets for hundreds of brands. Most products included are easy to fit in a Ziploc bag and perfect for travel.
9. Solid Beauty Bars
Speaking of those tiny clear plastic bags, save room on your next trip by packing solid beauty bars. Everything from cleanser, to moisturizer to shampoo is now available in solid form. Our personal favorites are from Lush, and we also love that they keep our suitcases smelling fresh.
10. Noise Cancelling Headphones
They’re called the friendly skies for a reason, but let’s face it. Sometimes, we just don’t want to talk, or we want to get work done! Pack a good set of headphones the next time you fly, and whether you sleep or work you’ll have your “do not disturb” sign tucked carefully into your ears!
11. Water Bottle
We’ve all faced that super expensive bottle of water in an airport gift shop. Save your cash for shopping, and pack a water bottle. Most airports offer water fountains to easily fill them once you’ve made your way through security. Plus, some stores, like REI, sell collapsible bottles that can be easily packed.
12. Sheet Masks
Flights can leave the most moisturized of us feeling dry. As I Want Her Job reader Becca says, “Sheet masks are a must for long-haul flights!” They don’t count as a liquid, so tuck one in your carry-on bag. (And if you’re too nervous about wearing one on-flight, save it for when you arrive in your hotel room post-travel.)
13. Compression Socks
While compression socks might not scream, “I’m a boss!” they will keep you in control of your health like a boss. Plus, they can prevent your legs from getting tired and sore.
14. The Hottest Book Drop
Looking for an absorbing read for your long flight? I Want Her Job team favorites include You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero and The Gutsy Girl Handbook by Kate White.
15. Wipe It Away
Germs, be gone! We hate getting sick from air travel as much as the next person. To avoid germs, we rely on disinfecting wipes. And we wipe down everything we can, especially that germy fold-down tray.
16. Drapey Wrap
Perhaps one of the greatest in-flight essentials is a drapey wrap, pashmina or ruana. Lightweight, it layers over your favorite jeans and shirt flawlessly. It also doubles as a cozy blanket.
17. Rose Toner
If your clear liquids bag can spare the room, it’s wise to stow a rose toner. Packed with rose water, it can help rehydrate skin after a long flight. It also can help fight breakouts and set makeup. So even if it takes room, it’s multipurpose which makes it a justifiable piece for our carry-on!
18. Roll-Up Shoes
When traveling for work, often times a professional attire is required. And while we like traveling in boots, sometimes heels are a must. And when we travel with heels, we always make sure we have a pair of roll-up shoes in our carry-on bag. Our favorite pair is made by Tory Burch and looks identical to her iconic Reva flat.
Sometimes the most obvious item to pack can be the one we forget the most often. Just because you’re in the sky, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the sun. Throw in your favorite sunnies the next time you travel. They also double well as a subtle, “Sorry I’m going to sleep” message to your seatmates.
20. USB Cable
Select airlines now offer in-seat USB plugs. Check ahead, and if the airline you’re traveling on offers them, it can help you stay charged up on the fly.
If one of your bags has ever been lost en route to your destination, you know how frustrating and helpless it can feel. Next time you fly, think about adding Tile to your bag! Simply activate it, toss it in your bag, and you can spot your bag in its location on a map. Now how’s that for traveling like a boss?!
With these items, or even a handful of them, your trip can be smoother and more relaxing. And, they can especially come in handy if you have an unexpected layover or request from your boss to work out of the office an extra day. Want to be even more prepared?
Sign up for Best Western Rewards, so if you find your flight unexpectedly cancelled you can find comfort (and earn points that never expire!) at one of BW’s more than 4,200 locations.