After more than two years of travel restrictions spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, business travel may seem like a thing of the past. However, many tech conferences and other events have started to resume in person this year, which means it may be time to dust off your suitcase.
As you prepare for your next business trip, consider adding some of these travel items to your list of essentials.
Plan your event calendar on TechRepublic: 2022 tech conferences and events to add to your calendar
Most seasoned travelers agree that packing cubes are among the best ways to stay organized while traveling. Not only do they help you make the most of your suitcase real estate, but they also make it easier to unload your items into hotel drawers so it feels less like you’re living out of a suitcase.
These basic packing cubes from Target come in a range of sizes so you can pack all of your clothes, shoes, toiletries, and electronics, then fit them together in your suitcase like a giant puzzle. Plus, the lightweight design means these cubes won’t add a lot of unnecessary weight to your luggage.
Travel steaming iron
When you’re traveling for business, it’s important to look your best so you can make a good impression on anyone you meet. That often involves taking the extra step of ironing or steaming your clothes. Packing a travel steaming iron means you won’t be stuck wearing a wrinkled shirt if the iron in your hotel room is rusty, broken, or missing.
This palm-sized iron from Oliso provides the same steam and press capabilities as a full-size iron, but it’s small enough to easily fit in a carry-on bag. It also comes with a silicon trivet to protect your work surface and keep the cord neatly wound while the iron’s not in use.
Travel door lock
Numerous horror stories about travelers—especially women—encountering an intruder in their rooms have made travel door locks a popular tool for personal security while on the go. Many flight attendants recommend bringing some type of reinforcement device to prevent housekeeping staff or other strangers from entering your space while you’re present.
Some portable door locks are heavy or bulky, but this lightweight lock from Addalock is an inexpensive, compact solution that helps ensure your privacy and safety.
A durable and versatile backpack is one of the most important travel-related investments you can make. The right backpack should make it easy to organize all of your essentials and access them quickly.
This Solo Pro backpack has separate compartments for all of your electronics, smaller essentials like flash drives and pens, and larger items like an umbrella or a water bottle. It also has a built-in panel that slides over your suitcase handle to make it easy to go from a conference session to the airport gate.
Portable chargers are a must-have for frequent fliers who rely on their electronics to stay connected while traveling. Whether you’re catching up on emails during a layover or finding your way around a conference venue, it’s important that your devices have enough power to get you from point A to point B.
This portable battery from Nimble supports up to five full smartphone charges, and it can charge up to three devices simultaneously.
Extra set of cables + international adapter
Many travel experts recommend purchasing an extra set of charging cables exclusively for trips. Doing so means you’ll never be stuck at an airport or event without the right cords for your devices, and you won’t have to pay a premium for a replacement at the airport. You could purchase duplicates of your existing cables, or you could choose an inexpensive multi-USB bundle like this one that lets you connect to multiple devices with one cable.
If you’re traveling internationally, you should also make sure you have the right adapter for the country you’re visiting. A universal adapter like this one from Insignia can accommodate plugs and sockets from North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the European Union without needing to swap out separate pieces.
Noise-cancelling headphones are another essential for maintaining sanity while traveling for business. Airports and large events can be loud and overstimulating, and active noise cancellation offers a way to listen to music or podcasts and take calls without interruptions. Plus, opting for high-quality earbuds instead of bulky over-ear or studio headphones can save space without sacrificing quality.
Bose’s QuietComfort earbuds allow you to control how much outside noise you let in. They last up to six hours on a single charge and come with a charging case that can fit in your pocket.
Airport and hotel Wi-Fi networks are notoriously unreliable, so it’s a good idea to invest in a portable hotspot if it’s important for you to maintain a consistent internet connection while traveling.
Most cellular providers offer hotspot services, but if you prefer to keep business and personal expenses separate, you may opt for a contractless, pay-as-you-go option. This option from Simple Mobile is also ideal if you don’t need hotspot access every month.
Virtual private network (VPN)
If you are able to find a reliable public Wi-Fi network, you should have proper security measures in place before connecting. Hotels, airports, convention centers, and other public venues are ground zero for cyberattacks, and connecting to a public network without cybersecurity defenses like a virtual private network (VPN) in place is a recipe for disaster.
Even if your organization offers network security tools that are stronger than a VPN, it may still be worth investing in one to safeguard your personal devices and data.
Explore top VPN solutions on SoftwarePundit: Best VPN Software
Aside from network security concerns, traveling for business also means you should be aware of who is physically around you while working in public. Leaving your phone or computer screen in plain view of onlookers may put your organization at risk of a data breach. To prevent nosy onlookers from seeing sensitive information, it’s a good idea to add privacy screen filters to all of the devices you use in public.
For example, this 14-inch laptop privacy screen restricts visibility to 60º in front of the screen. Anyone outside of this range can only see a black screen, while you can keep working with a clear view.
Hand sanitizer wipes
Hand sanitizer wipes should not be underestimated when packing for a business trip. The pandemic has made it exceedingly clear that traveling is one of the fastest ways to catch a viral illness, so it’s important to have a fast and easy way to sanitize your hands, devices, and other surfaces. Choosing wipes over liquid hand sanitizer also means you’ll have more room in your carry-on for other essential liquids.
Trip Wipes are individually packaged, so you can toss a few in your bag before each trip without worrying about running out of room.
Other ways to prepare for business trips
Some travel essentials aren’t tangible items:
- Services like TSA PreCheck and CLEAR can help you get through airport security faster and with less stress—a worthwhile investment if you travel frequently.
- A Kindle Unlimited subscription gives you access to millions of ebooks, digital magazines, and audiobooks that you can download and access instead of purchasing something from the airport gift shop.
- The World Traveler Bundle ft. Rosetta Stone Lifetime Subscription from TechRepublic Academy is a great way to build your language skills if you do a lot of international travel.
Whether you have millions of airline miles or are preparing to embark on your first business trip, traveling in a post-pandemic world can be stressful. Packing a few travel essentials, though, helps ease some of that stress and ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Read more business travel advice on TechRepublic: When to meet in person: 3 good reasons for business travel