What Should You Bring on a Business Trip?

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This week I am in Bangkok and Hong Kong speaking to business professionals about networking.  When you travel (especially internationally) it is easy to forget something you really need while you are in meetings or speaking to groups of people.  Last month,  I did an interview with an international magazine on this very topic.  The reporter asked me “what should business people think about taking with them on business trips that they might not normally think about?”

First, I had to give the things that may be obvious but that you don’t want to ever forget.  Things like:

  1. Plenty of business cards.  It is never a good idea to run out of business cards while traveling.  Tuck extras in your suit pockets, wallet/purse, briefcase, luggage, etc.  I put stacks in many places to ensure I always have extra.
  2. A badge.  If you do any networking while traveling on business, have your own professional badge.  Don’t rely on the hosting organization to do your badge and do it right.
  3. Extra pens.  Make sure you have a pen with you while you are doing meetings.  I always find that I need to write some reminders down while I’m talking to people.  It’s troublesome to track down a pen while you are networking.

Somewhat less obvious things

  1. The contact information (or business cards) of all your referral partners.  I sometimes find that having that information at my fingertips allows me to give referrals to people while I’m out networking.
  2. Hand sanitizer.  I know, I’m sounding a little bit like “Mr. Monk” the germ-a-phobe title character of a television series.  However, I have found that since I’ve started using hand sanitizer after shaking many, many hands, that I have been getting far less colds than I used to get.  Just be tactful about the way you use it.  Don’t desperately spray your hands every time you shake someone’s hands or else you will be acting like Monk.
  3. Breath mints.  As obvious as it may sound – I can assure you from experience that many people have no idea they need them!
  4. A memory stick.  Many times I have either needed to get a copy of something OR give a copy of a file or presentation to people while out networking.  Having a memory stick handy has been very helpful on several occasions.
  5. A camera and/or video.  A camera is great if you want to memorialize some occasion or a meeting with someone important to you.  A video is important for anyone that blogs.  It gives you a chance to interview someone during your travels.  I do this almost every time I travel.
  6. Tools for your business.  For me, that includes many copies of my bio for introductions whenever I speak.  Despite the fact that my team sends the bio in advance, there are many times when I arrive and they don’t have the bio handy.  Another tool for me is a PowerPoint remote clicker.  This is really important for me because I don’t want to rely on someone else to move the slides forward as a I present.  Also, that memory stick I mentioned earlier.  I have copies of my talk(s) on there just in case the group I’m speaking to has misplaced my presentation material.

There’s more, but this is a pretty good list.  What do you think is important to bring along with you on business trips?  Share it with us here in the comments section.

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9 thoughts on “What Should You Bring on a Business Trip?

  1. Fully agree with Dr.Misner on all counts, especially business cards I cannot believe how many business people today that don’t have or they are “in print” at networking and other business events.

  2. A phone charger… – have you seen how much they cost at the airport or abroad…?
    A good book – you may get stuck at the airport (or on the plane) for hours, with nothing to do…

  3. I cannot agree more about the importance of Breath Mints. I almost always get ‘put-off’ with talking with people with unpleasant breath. I picked up a habit a couple of years. I carry cardamom with me. There could be some in the kitchen. My wallet always have enough to go through the day.

  4. Business cards are nice….but how long do you keep them.? Write on the back side of cards given you. You will be surprised how
    quickly you can remember the person’s name and looks.
    I have patented, trademarked and registered my hand fan. Unlike hand fans of old, our coolest hand fan has no wooden or plastic handles that can cause injuries. It is entirely safe! No splinters, No glue, No staples. People will keep your hand fan because of the convenient size, easy to store in a laptop tablet, vehicle side pocket, man bag, purse, back pack or attache case for easy access.
    It gives the person a synopsis of your organization. You designed it with your mission and purpose.No one will throw it away. When they get uncomfortable and want to cool off…they have a fan to do so. I want to join BNI. Let me know. Thanks, Woody

  5. Follow up on list of items to take on a trip. I send out hundreds of my travel list for salespeople at NO CHARGE. We exchange ideas or networking. aaahalwoodyard@live.com. You will be surprised with what I have covered…if you do not like it, throw it away. It did not cost you anything. My phone # 706-246-0553, * My mailing address, Woody * Box 111 * Franklin Springs, GA 30639
    I am seeking a BNI location..the nearest one is 125 miles from my office. Thanks, Woody

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