9 Business Travel Hacks Every Guy Already Knows
(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)
Are you a guy? Traveling on business? Yeah, join the crowd. There’s a lot of us. And while no one’s helping us with our bags or offering us seats on the rental car shuttle bus there are a few things you can do to make your life on the road a little better. Guy things. You probably know them already. So let’s get started.
First, buy a Tom Bihn bag.
I’ve had mine for more than five years and there’s not a scratch on it — I’m pretty sure that’s because it’s made of kryptonite. I bought it after stumbling on this insane video made by a news photographer who packs everything he needs for extended trips all in one bag (I swear, he’s got a spare tire hidden in there somewhere). I’m personally a fan of the Tri-Star but I hear the Aeronaut 45 is pretty good too. It’s indestructible and ever-expanding. I’m still finding things in its pockets that I packed during the first Obama administration. Unlike roller boards with those girly-wheels, it will fit into most overheads or easily under the seat in those smaller planes. Sure, it’s a little tough on the upper body when you drag it around the airport — but you’re a guy, so stop complaining.
Never, ever check a bag.
You’re a guy, for God’s sake! You can minimalize your clothing. No one cares. Go ahead — wear your socks two days in a row. Turn your underwear inside out. Or just go commando. Bring an extra stick of deodorant. And yes, you can wear your pants for multiple days in a row. No one cares. We have more leeway on these things than women do. So use this to your advantage and pack light. Waiting for a checked bag is a time killer and exposes you to an airline’s operational flaws.
Avoid the Mini Moos.
When getting coffee, opt for your milk/cream from a jug instead of the Mini Moos that come in those tiny peel off containers. They’re fraught with risk and built to splatter. If you have no choice then make sure to open the Mini Moo away from you. Otherwise you’ll be traveling to the big meeting with milky Mini Moo shrapnel all across your shirt. Better yet, skip the Mini Moo (I love saying “Mini Moo”) and just drink your coffee black like a real man.
Bring a backup dress shirt.
A Mini Moo catastrophe is only one of a hundred things that can befall your dress shirt between the time you walk out the door and the time you land. There’s the guy in the seat next to you who insists on getting a coffee during a bumpy flight (really?). There’s the kid in the seat in front of you who wants to share his strained beets with everyone in rows 12-14. And then there’s just sloppy old you, who can’t seem to consume a tuna salad sandwich without getting half a jar of mayonnaise down the front of your shirt. That’s why you keep a backup dress shirt, in its original wrapping, stuffed in your bag.
Buy only travel shirts and cheap shoes.
You’re not trying to win any fashion contests. You’re just going to get the deal. Leave your 100 percent cotton shirts at home for the big night out and instead get the “travel” style shirts from Joseph A Bank. They don’t wrinkle very much and iron easily. And stop with the $300 shoes. Trust me — they’ll wear out as fast as the $69 pair from Target (I’ve tried them both). And frankly, they both look as professional. Besides, no one’s looking at your shoes — they’re hidden under the conference room table most of the time. They’re focusing more on the ludicrous pricing your company charges.
Keep your laptop light.
After years of trying you’ve come to the same realization as me: you can’t get any real work done on a tablet. So you’ll need a laptop. Here’s my advice: don’t get caught up in the specs. Any laptop you buy today would crush the most technologically advanced device offered in 2010. Just focus on one thing: weight. Keep it under 3.5 pounds. You want to travel light. Trust me, your spreadsheets, word processor and browser will work just fine. And you’ll have plenty of room to download the last season Walking Dead for that long trip, although the last episode was horribly manipulative and I’m pretty sure it was Aaron who dies, but then again it could’ve been Morgan.
Carry these essentials in your Tom Bihn bag.
A spare battery or one of those plug-in things that you can use to charge your smartphone. Earbuds to block out everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) on your flight. A Tide stick which works OK, but is still not as good as a spare shirt. A USB flash drive. Pez (oh come on, who doesn’t love Pez). A tin of Altoids (sorry, but you should know…). Nail clippers for grooming in your hotel room because you love your wife. Advil. Carmex for chapped lips. A second tin of Altoids. Pens that you’ve stolen from the hotel room. A TV remote control — hey, we’re guys so who knows when you might need one?
Do not carry these in your Tom Bihn bag.
Pepper spray. A pen knife. Scissors. A bottle opener. A 12 oz. can of soda. A catcher’s mask (now that’s just none of your business). “Dream Water” (it just seems sketchy). A whiskey flask filled with bourbon (it was Vegas, OK?). A podcasting microphone. Shaving cream (soap is perfectly fine). Yes, these are all things that I’ve actually packed and have all resulted in an extensive bag check and exploratory body cavity shirt conducted in public by the TSA. I still shudder when I think about it.
Finally, subscribe to Spotify.
It’s my preferred my music service. Only a few bucks a month and a zillion songs. Just don’t tell the other guys that you’ve got Bieber’s new album on your playlist.