In the last months, I’ve written about some hard(er)-hitting subjects that impact each of us individually and our industry at large, most recently on Diversity & Inclusion.

For this, the Friday With Joan Q&A article that begins spring 2018 and the accompanying blog, we’ll delve into an impactful topic and a bit of a lighter one: what seasoned travelers pack and can’t be without or wish they had packed.

For all of us, in the comments here or at the related blog with my own travel packing tips, please note your must haves, packing tips and favorite/most useful travel apps.

I am, as ever, grateful to those who responded to the questions.

As always, if, in editing, I’ve misrepresented or incorrectly edited, please accept my apologies. Any products, apps or services mentioned are the opinions of those interviewed and do not constitute an endorsement by your author, Meetings Today or its publisher, Stamats Communications. 

First off, here's who we spoke with and their contact information:

Jaime Bloom is a strategic marketing consultant currently with Accenture Interactive, with 22 years of marketing and event planning experience. Jaime was once a student of mine in meeting planning classes at the University of Georgia with whom I've since stayed in touch. You can connect with Jaime on Linkedin.

Joe Brancatelli is editor of joesentme.com, the noncommercial business travel website. On Twitter, follow Joe at @joesentme and contact him by email at joe@joesentme.com.

Personally speaking: Joe is an invaluable asset to anyone who travels. My usual thanks to Beth Cooper-Zobott, who turned me on to Joe years ago. And an AOL user like I am from the early days, Joe said Been on AOL since 1994. Awful as it is, can't imagine not having my personal address where all my stuff comes into.

Joseph Chan is the president and CFO of Los Angeles-based SYNAXIS Meetings & Events, a boutique meeting management firm with a diverse group of clients in several industries, including tourism conferences, the pet industry, sales meetings and incentive programs, and small- to medium-sized associations and non-profits.

You can reach Joseph by email at joseph@synaxismeetings.com.

The spouse of a good friend, Charles Chan Massey, I’ve gotten to know Joseph more over the last few years and treasure his knowledge, experience, background and friendship.

Timothy Lam is the executive director of TISOH: The International School of Hospitality. You can reach him directly by email at tlam@tisoh.com or connect via Linkedin.

Tim and his gracious family have been so kind to me. Additionally, Tim and his brother, Marcus Lam, along with Donnell Bayot and Patti Shock, are helping to ensure a future of smart industry professionals at TISOH.

Steven Marchese, CTSM Diamond Level, manager, Corporate Events, Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, Inc., who can be reached via email at steven@stevenmarchese.com.

Steven and I met through ExhibitorLive, a show at which I’ve taught for many years. Steven has become a mentor on the intricacies of tradeshows and a dear friend with whom our love of theater has created a strong bond.

Zoe Moore (pronounced ZOH) is an Army veteran and now an event planner who believes that the meetings and events industry will be diverse and inclusive through intentional efforts. She helps small minority-owned businesses understand the value of events as an effective marketing tool, and on Twitter, and is building an event resource group to help minority event planners build and gain exposure throughout the meetings and events industry. In addition, she chairs the Diversity Taskforce for MPINCC.

You can connect with Zoe via email: info@lotusbaseline; Instagram @lotusbaseline; Twitter: @lotusbaseline; and her website www.lotusbaseline.com.

Zoe has given me more hope that the issues of diversity and inclusion will again come to the front of the thinking in our industry as she leads, as chair, the new MPI Northern California Chapter diversity and inclusion efforts.

Onward, Zoe! Onward!

Steve Rudner is a hospitality Industry lawyer who can be reached at rudner@hotellawyers.com.

Steve was the first industry attorney who asked me to testify in an industry dispute—one that provided great insights about all that can happen in a deposition and why anyone would want to stay out of one!

Reiko Tate, CMP, CGMP, is an event planner, artist and creativity enthusiast who works with corporations, associations, startups and nonprofits to create memorable and inspiring creative experiences. Her professional experience includes working as a professional visual artist, and in corporate events management and marketing communications. You can connect with Reiko via the following methods:

Reiko is also my neighbor who became a friend because of shared interests in the arts and meetings! You can view (and purchase) her creative work here: www.reikorenee.com and her Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/reikoreneeart.

Q1. For how many years have you been traveling by air?  

Jaime: 25

Joe: “40, sadly”

Joseph: 25+

Timothy: 20

Steven: 53 personally and 28 professionally

Zoe: 25+

Steve: 29

Reiko: 20+

Q2. On average, how many of the following modes of business trips do you take in a year? The totals for all follow, excluding Joe’s “too many too count,” for which I can vouch given what I’ve read!

Air: 215+

Train: 22

Car: 59

Other: No one said!

The domestic versus international business trips ranged from zero to 30 percent for international, with the majority traveling mainly domestically within the U.S.

(Of those asked to respond, I asked only those who are U.S.-based).

For the next questions, their individual responses, which I found enlightening, appear.

Q3. What are the one to three things you a.) Always pack; b.) Never pack but wish you had?

Jaime:

a. Hair dryer attachment/diffuser, workout clothes, massage ball

b. Another pair of shoes, especially running-through-the-airport flats, and a clothes steamer

Joe:

a. Mini-flashlights; Mini-iPad and pen; zipping plastic bags

b. Roll of duct tape

Joseph:

a. Toothbrush

b. Shampoo and conditioner because I know the hotels will have them unless they only have shampoo/conditioner combo—and I wish I had my own!

Timothy:

a. 1. Emergency kit in carryon with Advil, bandages, eye drop, antacids, wired earphones, tissues, eye shade

2. Global Entry card: an alternative ID, just in case

3. Wipes: I always wipe my headrest and armrests

4. Slippers

5. Plastic baggies, for medicine, small accessories…

6. Thin jacket

7. Folding reusable bag

b. An extension cord and a backpack

Steven:

a. Shoes, toothpaste, a tie

b. Swimwear

Zoe:

a. My laptop

b. Incense and candles to take baths after a long day

Steve:

a. My laptop, my iPhone and noise-canceling headphones

Reiko:

a. Multiple chargers/battery packs, insulated water bottle, large scarf/shawl

Q4. Do you keep a suitcase always packed with most of what you need all the time?

(I confess that the number of “no” answers surprised me most. My suitcase, except for some changes of clothing, is always packed to go, as is my backpack for my laptop).

Jaime: Yes

Joseph: No

Timothy: No

Steven: No

Zoe: No

Steve: Yes

Reiko: Yes, during busy seasons

Joe Brancatelli, other than me, the one with the most years of travel wrote:

I keep a suitcase packed with most of what I need all the time: My kit bag and computer-supplies bag are ALWAYS packed and refreshed after each trip so I can grab and go.”

Q5. Do you check luggage?

The general response was only on overseas trips or those for trips of a length of time.

Joseph was the exception: “Not even [international] these days—I pack as little as possible, and especially on overseas trips I want to get out of customs as quickly as possible.”

And Steven Marchese and I are similar in our packing/checking/shipping habits. He said he only checks luggage on overseas trips; he always has a carryon bag plus a checked bag, and yes, he ships, via FedEx: “If I’m going to be away for more than 10 days I ship a box with extra shoes, sweaters, things that would add weight to my checked bag.”

Q6. What is your best business travel and/or packing tip for hospitality professionals?

Jaime: Roll your clothes in your suitcase to save room.

Use grocery delivery* to the hotel to avoid eating out for every meal; I use Instacart.

Joe: These aren't packing tips per se but are totally about packing: I always call the hotel and ask about its same-day laundry/dry cleaning. I also learn where the nearest dry cleaner to the hotel is located.

And where a "general store" (i.e. Target or Walmart) is so I know where to go in an emergency. When you know this stuff, you can pack less.

Joseph: Pack just what you need. Find out what laundry facilities are available at your destination. A guest laundry is wonderful; be sure to check with hotels to see if they are available and the cost.

Some resort destinations even offer them free of charge!

Timothy: Packing cubes (See Steven Marchese’s response for more information.)

Steven: Invest in eBags packing cubes. They make organizing and packing your suitcase neat and easy. You can also easily transfer your clothes from the suitcase to the drawer easily and keep them hygienic and clean.

Zoe: You’ll never wear all the clothes you pack. Bring interchangeable outfits and comfortable shoes.

Also bring a lighter bag packed in your luggage for additional items that may be purchased or carried around while you’re on the move.

Steve: Use the hotel’s laundry service to avoid over-packing. Remember, too, that every piece of paper can be scanned versus carrying it with you.

Reiko: Invest in and travel with comfortable high-impact and versatile, fashionable wardrobe items such as comfortable professional business-style dresses (my personal preference are knee-length sheath dresses) and a few accompanying cardigans and blazers. These items can be dressed up or down and the dresses only require one decision on my part versus choosing a top and bottom.

Q7. What are some travel apps/resources (blogs, etc.) you can’t live without?

Joe: Weather.gov (the National Weather Service site), SeatGuru.com, FlightStats and FlightAware (delays/cancellation pages)

Joseph: All the hotel company and airline apps; Google Maps and Waze (when driving); TripAdvisor, SeatGuru and Grubhub (both to avoid expensive room service pricing AND to increase your choices); and Lyft and Uber. Uber is especially valuable in foreign destinations. I’ve used it in Hong Kong, Taipei and Athens so far.

Timothy: Tripcase to store one’s itinerary; Flightaware to check the flight’s stats, inbound flight arrival info; Seatguru to check seat configuration; Expertflyer to check seat availability; Priority Pass app for lounge guide and one’s e-membership card; blogs: Boarding Area, The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets

Zoe: When I begin to travel more I plan to follow Travel Noire, oneikathetraveller.com, Tastemakers Africa and Up in the AirLife

Steve: Flightaware.com

Reiko: Airline apps: It’s super convenient with some of the airlines apps to change seat assignments.

Amtrak app: I love being able to purchase and change reservations on the app, especially critical with an unpredictable schedule.

Weather Underground app to keep updated on the destination weather so I can plan and pack accordingly.

*Additional tip:

Jaime Bloom, somewhat like Joseph Chan, keeps expenses down and options open by ordering food in. I asked her more about her use of Instacart, which I’ve only used for grocery delivery to my home.

Joan: Do they do prepared food as well as groceries?

Jaime: I am a vegan so I get prepared meals and items such as hummus, salads, muffins, etc. Even a salad ensures I know what I am eating and saves money.

It also saves time in the morning so I don’t have to find or order breakfast.

Joan: Do you often stay in in rooms with microwaves and/or refrigerators?

Jaime: I ask for a refrigerator if the hotel doesn’t automatically provide one, explaining my health needs. My medical challenges require me to have extra protein so I [order ingredients for and prepare] a shake with almond milk every morning.

Joan: Do you meet the delivery person in the hotel lobby or are you comfortable having them come up to your room?

Jaime: In my order I mark my date of arrival and have them leave it at [hotel check-in for my arrival.]. I’ve been doing it every week for months and never had an issue.

Joan: Do they bring utensils and plates?

Jaime: No! This is the challenge. I always have napkins with me and get my plastic utensils from the hotel restaurant or when I grab my morning coffee.

Related Reading From the April 2018 Edition of Friday With Joan

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