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10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers

10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers

Being a business traveler to over 20 countries, I have a “things to bring” list that I keep on my phone whenever I’m heading out to a foreign land. It’s a pretty extensive list that helps me to remember what I need to pack in my luggage before leaving for the airport. Some of the things that I find indispensable, which often give me “thank God I brought that” moments, are at the top of my list.

Below are some recommended items to have in your suitcase.

1. Swiss Army Knife

Made famous by the TV series MacGyver in the late 80’s, this jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none tool is first on my list because of its novelty and life-saving qualities. I must admit that since I was a boy, I was captivated my MacGyver’s ingenuity in getting out of trouble by this using super handy tool. So, I begged my mom to buy me one, and after 20 years, I’m still using the same one she bought for me with my name engraved on it.

Okay, enough of nostalgic memories; the reason why this item is on my list is because you would never know when exactly you might need scissors, say to remove the label on the brand-new tie you just bought for the conference, or my most-used feature of all, a bottle opener for the foreign beers I love to try. But please ensure that you store this item in your check-in luggage, as it absolutely will be confiscated by the airport security officers during your security screening. This tool is still a Swiss military standard issue, which is why it is top on my list.

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10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers - swiss army knife

    2. Portable Luggage Scale

    With so many low-cost airlines around nowadays, chances are you might be flying with one of them, whether your company is under budget or not. And your flight might restrict the weight of the luggage to as low as 20kg/44pounds (“thank you” Ryan Air). So, weighing your luggage before each flight is becoming a routine for business travelers, especially if you’re on a long trip. This is when a luggage scale comes to your rescue (or your company’s rescue) from paying hefty fees on those extra kilograms you just packed into the plane. Investing around $10 into this gadget could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

    luggage scale

      3. Foreign SIM Card for Mobile Internet

      Today’s highly connected world requires us to always be, well, connected! Some of us may dread the feeling of not checking our Facebook or Twitter account for days, but beyond that, staying connected over mobile Internet is crucial for a business person to check their emails, texts, Linkedin, or to power those traveling apps (see item 10).

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      It also acts as your WiFi hotspot via tethering when you’re not getting good enough signals from your hotel’s WiFi. It’s getting more affordable and accessible for any foreigner in any country to get a pre-paid or post-paid SIM card, or a short-term cell phone plan. In Europe, a 2GB plan could be as low as $25 per month. I myself once bought a pre-paid SIM card from Hutchinson 3 of UK in South Korea for only $35 and used it all over Europe for 2 months, without paying any roaming charges. Even a post-paid dominant world like Korea has introduced SIM card plans for tourists.

      Besides getting a foreign phone line, you could also put your phone on roaming mode with data, or continue to hunt for those elusive WiFi zones around the city.

      4. Credit Card, ATM, or Debit Card

      This is a rather self-explanatory item that you must have, but do check with your bank if they charge extra (by percentage) for overseas transactions. If so, use your ATM/debit card to withdraw cash instead, via the globally connected ATM machines (check the logos on which interbank network the machines support). You only need to pay a small one-time withdrawal fee, on top of the cost of currency exchange.

      5. External Portable Battery

      Travelers are always out and about; not to mention constant photo taking and navigating via Google Maps. These activities will absolutely drain your phone’s battery, and if you can’t find a place to charge your phone, consider carrying an extra battery around, or an external battery pack to share with your other power hungry devices. Ensure that you bring them along with you in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked-in baggage, due to risk of fire hazard.

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      10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers - portable external battery

        6. 2 Travel Power Adapters

        Ok, I’m assuming we are not first-time travelers, so we never assume we could hook up our phones or laptop chargers to any power outlets in any countries. But, we should assume that we may need more than one power adapter in this ever increasing, digitally connected world. In fact, I carry two of this when I travel, because I just have too many things to charge or power-up. You could also consider bringing a socket extension as an alternative, but do watch your luggage weight.

        10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers - travel adapter

          7. Mini Sewing Kit

          I thought I heard you laughing. Well, some may laugh now, but wait till you accidentally pop that button of your favorite office shirt and you’re meeting your huge prospect tomorrow. If you think your hotel does not provide one, please bring one. What I do is I keep one from the previous hotel I stayed in.

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          8. Business Cards

          I add this on this list because I actually have it on my “things to bring” list just in case; you may forget (like me). Many foresee that business cards will be dead soon, and be replaced by new high-tech devices or apps (but many of these hopefuls have failed). So, until that happens, pack them in your suitcase and remember to bring lots of them.

          9. Business Card Reader App

          Okay, say you’re a pretty popular business person and in a day, you could collect dozens of name cards from your newly formed contacts. How do you plan to keep those cards? Name cards are becoming a real burden to store, as we swiftly move into the digital age and the current best option for you to efficiently manage these cards is via name card reader apps. I personally use CardHQ’s business card reader app because it’s lightning fast and super easy to use.

          10. Apps, Apps and More Apps

          Apps are already becoming don’t-leave-home-without-it essentials we all must have. My top must-have traveling apps are:

          • Google Maps (or Waze)
          • Google Translate
          • Whatsapp (or other commonly used chat apps in the country like KakaoTalk for Korea, WeChat for China, Line for Japan and Thailand, or Facebook Messenger)
          • Weather app
          • Currency converter
          • Booking.com (or any apps from your online hotel site)
          • Uber
          • Foodspotting

          Featured photo credit: Matthew Hurst via flickr.com

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          Melvin Wong

          Founder of Qoach - Over 300 free sports courses with 5,000 videos

          10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers 10 Proven Must-Have Things for Business Travelers

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          Last Updated on September 16, 2019

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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          • (1) Research
          • (2) Deciding the topic
          • (3) Creating the outline
          • (4) Drafting the content
          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
          • (6) Revision
          • (7) etc.

          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

          2. Change Your Environment

          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

          6. Get a Buddy

          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

          Reality check:

          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

          More About Procrastination

          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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