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Business Travel Checklist

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • keep a pre-packed overnight bag ready for short-notice trips
  • include duplicates of toiletries and sleepwear
  • avoid over packing by planning ahead
  • create a standard packing list to use again and again
  • choose clothes that don't require special care or dry cleaning
  • pack clothes that you can mix and match
  • choose outfits that can convert into either business or casual
  • avoid checking your luggage
  • pack two small carryon bags (one for clothes and one for work)


  • keep well-stocked with office supplies
  • pens, stapler, notepads, paperclips, a calculator
  • create a "travel folder" for papers and materials you will need
  • presentations, reference items, unfinished work, travel info, etc.
  • fill your folder as you plan your trip
  • or attach a running list to the folder and fill just before you leave
  • keep all travel info (agenda, flight, hotel, rental car) on one sheet


  • build in a cushion on either side of your appointment for delays
  • have a contingency plan in case an appointment is cancelled
  • bring work or reading material with you to fill time between events
  • plan in some personal time to relax or sightsee -- to unwind


  • use separate credit cards for business and personal purchases
  • keep all of your receipts in a manila envelope or zippered pouch
  • mark your expense form as you go and retype when you return
  • keep important paperwork all in one place in your hotel room
  • label "don't throw away" (for cleaning staff) when out of your room
  • review the materials you have received at the end of each day
  • categorize and make notes you while it is still fresh in your mind
  • keep a running list of items that require attention when you return


  • take care of as many items as possible before leaving
  • return phone calls, answer letters, etc.
  • let clients and colleagues know when you will be unavailable
  • make it easy for your staff to reach you should they need you
  • give copies of your itinerary to your spouse and secretary
  • also give a copy to the front desk at your hotel
  • clearly define those items that warrant interrupting your trip
  • train your staff to handle issues without you
  • back up your computer and sync your PDA so office has your current info
  • change your voice message to point callers to the correct colleague


  • make your arrangements through a travel agent to save time
  • request your flight seat assignment when getting your reservation
  • be seated near the front of the plane to be one of the first off
  • the earliest flight possible gives you "buffer" in case of delays
  • choose a hotel that offers special services to business travelers
  • fax, copier, internet connection, courier service, etc.
  • also free services that make morning easier
  • continental breakfast, newspaper, iron in your room, etc.


  • take a few moments to put everything away at home and work
  • go through mail, voice messages, and e-mail as soon as you can
  • make note of any issues that require your attention
  • create three piles -- "to delegate," "action items," and "to file"
  • delegate items to others immediately upon return
  • put your list in order of priority with most urgent items at the top
  • plan time to tackle each item, from top of the list down


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