7 Business Travel Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed

As someone who makes a living doing travel for business, I have a few items that I would highly recommend for any business trip. Most of these items are small and lightweight, perfect for fitting into a suitcase. After a few mistakes and mishaps over the years, I won’t travel without them.

Whether you’re traveling to give an important presentation or want to ease anxiety by having a backpack plan, these 7 items will leave you prepared.

1. Smart luggage.

There’s a good chance you’ve felt the pain of a low cell phone battery and no place to charge it in an airport. This can be especially stressful if you need your phone to navigate an unfamiliar place. Smart luggage is a nice option in situations such as this.

Most smart luggage cases can register the weight of the bag, plus provide a GPS location (a reassurance if you’ve ever had a lost or delayed bag), remote lock functions, and the ability to power your phone via a luggage battery. However, be aware that a number of airlines now require the battery to be removable — a decision that has put a few smart luggage companies out of business.

2. Microprojector.

This is one of those items that you didn’t know you needed until you one day need it. A microprojector ensures that your work gets seen in the event of an unpredictable circumstance. Some of these devices are smaller than an iPhone yet are still able to deliver on sound and picture quality.

I once had to present an idea to a small group of investors. As my luck had it, a pipe had burst in the room where we were supposed to meet, leaving me with nothing but my laptop to present. Thankfully, one of the staff members had bought a microprojector to watch movies and was able to lend it to me for this occasion.

3. Portable scanner.

This is a necessity if you are attending a major conference with many vendors. Many of these scanners are cordless and can connect to email or apps like Dropbox. Some of these can scan nearly 30 pages in less than a minute. Sizes vary but most can easily fit in the crook of a suitcase and are lightweight.

I’ve gone to travel fairs and used a portable scanner to get information back to my team quickly. It helps us stay organized and I don’t end up with a bunch of pamphlets and papers in my suitcase. I also use it to upload receipts to keep track of my expenses.  

4. Multifunctional pen/stylus/USB drive.

A pen with a stylus makes sense. But the additional flash drive that’s included makes this item one of my staples. This 3-in-1 deal makes my life easier and always becomes a conversation starter. They are surprisingly ergonomic and still allow for beautiful penmanship.

5. Portable router.

A portable router is almost a requirement, depending on how secluded your destination is. These devices offer additional safety when working online by providing a private network. It can also be cheaper than finding WiFi in a remote location or using your phone to tether.

Some of these routers can provide service in over 100+ countries while also charging your devices. I’ve had to use this a couple of times when my internet has been dicey and have never regretted the investment.

6. Virtual keyboard.

I know this one is a little out there but a virtual keyboard is a great way to work if you don’t have access to your computer. If you’ve ever tried to type a lengthy document on a phone or iPad, you know how it can be a struggle to work quickly and correctly. This helpful device is a portable keyboard without the bulk of a physical keyboard.

If using, I recommend projecting the keyboard onto a piece of paper and on a hard surface. This will help you type more efficiently and make it easier to view. Just watch out for cats who might view it as a toy.

7. Collar stay and shirt travel pouch.

A collar stay is exactly what it sounds like – a little metal object that helps the collar stay in place. A shirt travel pouch is another useful item. It’s like a laptop case but for your individual shirt. These items are cheap, effortless, and can keep you looking professional.

I’ve found both of these items to be essentials, especially if I have to head straight to a meeting after arriving at the airport. Collar stays are those life-hack items that everyone should own, as they are sure to come in handy at some point.

While most of these items aren’t necessary, they can definitely make life on the road easier.  

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