Business travel usually sounds like a lot of fun, until you’re on the road constantly. Living out of a suitcase often means leaving some of your favorite things behind, and one delayed flight can throw off meetings, hotel reservations, and more.
Whether you’re an experienced business traveler or new to this particular adventure, there’s a way to make the traveling life easier — by packing smart. Here are some things that the savvy business traveler should always have along for the ride. (See also: 11 Ways Business Travel Helps Your Wallet)
1. A filtered water bottle
It’s easy to forget just how essential water is for health and happiness. Make sure that you have safe, clean water to drink wherever you go by investing in a water bottle that will filter contaminants on its own.
2. A Wi-Fi hot spot
Airport and airplane Wi-Fi can be expensive and, if you happen to be in the wrong part of the airport, it can be spotty, too. Some places, it’s also an unsecured network. While you can almost always turn your smartphone into a wireless hot spot, many business travelers prefer to carry a separate hot spot device. Sometimes, work will even pay for it! (See also: Technology Hacks for the International Traveler)
3. A surge protector
Many power cords these days come with surge protection built in, but you can never be too safe (especially when traveling overseas). Carry a small surge protector with you, and you’ll know that your devices won’t get fried when you need them most. (See also: The 5 Best Power Surge Protectors)
4. A power bank
You never know when your phone, tablet, or laptop is going to run out of battery life, but it’s almost guaranteed to be at the worst possible time. Save yourself the hassle of finding a charging station in an airport or bumming a charge off another traveler by making sure you have your power bank packed. Make sure yours is fully charged before you leave. (See also: The 5 Best Power Banks)
5. A small carry-on bag
Save money and hassle by investing in a carry-on bag that conforms to TSA’s standards, and fit everything you need for your trip into it. You could save between $50 and $100 per flight by not bringing extra luggage, and you’ll have it all with you so you won’t have to wait in line at baggage claim or have to worry about lost luggage. (See also: 21 Unexpected Items You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-On)
6. A first aid kit
You never know when you’ll trip or something unusual will happen and you’ll need a Band-Aid or some ibuprofen. And you don’t want to be heading into an important business meeting with an open cut or a splitting headache that could’ve easily been taken care of, had you planned ahead. Gather a few first aid items in a baggie before you leave, so these small inconveniences don’t become bigger problems. (See also: The 5 Best First Aid Kits)
7. Wrinkle releaser
Sure, many hotels now stock irons and ironing boards for travelers, but what if you end up running straight from the plane to a big meeting? Get rid of wrinkles on-the-go by bringing your own wrinkle-release spray along. It’s also useful when you don’t feel like ironing in your hotel or you forget to send your clothes out for cleaning.
8. Travel apps
There are many apps out there geared toward business travelers. Apple’s Wallet lets you organize your boarding passes and other important data so you always have access to them. Send your confirmation and travel emails to TripIt and the app will create your itineraries for you.
The point is, if you want to find an app to do something that will make your business travel easier, you probably can. Take the time to figure out what tasks you would like to do digitally, and download the apps that will work best for you. (See also: 7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler)
9. Travel-size personal care products
Hotels are always stocked with shampoo, conditioner, and soap for guests to use, but they don’t usually have other essentials like face wash, deodorant, or hair styling products. These are must-haves for business travelers who need to be presentable and professional at all times, so make sure you have TSA-approved sizes of the personal care items you like to use.
10. The right travel rewards card
Some companies will let you book your own business travel and will reimburse you later. Whether this is true for you or not, it can pay to have a good travel rewards credit card along with you. Even if you can’t book your own travel, these cards can offer rewards for things like dining out, entrance fees, and other travel costs you might incur on your own. Figure out what you will use your card for most and which type of points would help you the most, then get the card and reap the benefits. (See also: Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?)
11. Plastic bags
These are useful in so many ways. Use them to cover your shoes, store your dirty laundry, keep your toiletries from bursting all over your bag, and more. You may feel a little silly when you pack them the first time, but you’re likely to find yourself using them over and over again during your trip.