While flying to far-flung locations for business meetings, connecting with customers or talking to potential vendors, it’s important to plan what you take in your carry-on bag.
By being strategic, you can save yourself a lot of stress. And while important documents, valuables and money are essential, there are a few other must-haves that can make your traveling experience better.
At Circular Summit, a women’s conference in Houston, we asked female entrepreneurs and leaders what is the one item they always include in their carry-on bag. Here is what they had to say:
Always think about hygiene.
“A pocket toothbrush and my travel dry shampoo. You never know when your travel plans will be derailed due to weather or airport issues. I always make sure I have the minimum in my bag to freshen up after a long travel day before I head to a business meeting or working dinner.”
Erin Gore, founder and CEO of Garden Society, a cannabis confection company
Use your downtime for education.
“My favorite 30 minutes of a flight are take-off and landing. I can’t use my computer, so I use that time to get caught up on new facts and ideas. I always bring a book and a magazine, and make sure that there are new podcasts downloaded on my phone. I never get through them all, but I try to absorb several new ideas and thoughts. I think a curious mind makes me a better entrepreneur.”
Kristina Libby, co-founder of SoCu, an influencer marketplace
Consider accessories to keep you comfortable.
“I never get on a plane without a scarf. Even if it’s the middle of summer and I’m heading to somewhere where it’s 100 degrees outside, I will not board that plane without something to keep me warm, because I always get cold when I fly.
“A few years ago, my friend introduced me to the company Bloom and Give. It works with small co-ops in India to make their products and then donates a portion of each purchase to help educate girls in India. I loved their story, loved their scarves and now the first Bloom and Give scarf I bought is my official plane scarf.
“Also, unless it’s the winter and I already have a coat with me, I carry a light Uniqlo puffy jacket that I can roll up and pack in my carry-on bag.”
Take what makes you feel your best.
“A protein bar, so I have a healthy snack option instead of junk food. I also always travel with melatonin to help me sleep in whatever time zone I end up in. Plus, planes seem to make my skin incredibly dehydrated, so I always have moisturizing cream on hand.”
Jessica Herrin, CEO and founder, Stella & Dot Family Brands, a social selling business
Remember your priorities.
“My gym clothes. I’m religious about trying to get workouts in while I’m gone. The only time in the last 20 years I forgot them was on a recent trip to South Africa and I ended up spending a fortune buying the necessary gear.”
Susan McPherson, founder of McPherson Strategies, a consultancy firm focused on social responsibility
Think about worst-case scenarios.
“A neutral scarf that can double as a blanket on the plane and a cute addition to an outfit. I’m always cold and I’m also the person with the wardrobe malfunctions — spills, rips, you name it — especially when I’m being extra careful and inevitably headed to a meeting. A scarf can mask a coffee stain without needing to take the time to change.”
Katy Aucoin, founder of Dearduck, a gift-giving app