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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 March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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