Packing for a Work Trip Part 1: Body

I wrote about the perils of work travel quite exactly one year ago, and dear reader, it’s time again to get ready for the annual work trip bootcamp.There are precisely two kinds of work trips:

1. Short visit to a glamorous city. You will be whizzing around in the backseat of a black limo and will not need to think about queuing or having an overcoat with you. You eat in places that are not restaurants, nor open to public, the food is sublime and with some luck you are seated only 3 tables away from Christine Lagarde. After dinner you have a G&T with at least three different dried spices in it, as well as an elaborately arranged cucumber flower, and then retreat to your insanely plush hotel room.

2. A multi-day stay at an international conference that takes place in an ad hoc – tent village. Transport sûr place means cramming into tiny shuttle-buses together with all your earthly belongings and the rest of the universe – and in the case of UN-conferences, this is an actual fact, not a metaphor. You spend each day locked up in the said conference center, soon losing grip of whether it’s day or night. Which is just as well, because towards the end the talks drag on to the small hours in any case (“Someone moved a comma! This changes everything! We shall start the whole thing from scratch!”). You subsist mainly on processed wheat and Diet Coke, with the odd salmon puff and vinegary white wine thrown into the mix. 

I am currently preparing for scenario 2, and have updated last year’s lessons for you. We shall focus on body and gadgets in this post, face and clothing will follow soon. 

Lesson 1

Never, ever assume you will be able to buy things once you arrive at your destination. This is delusional in every way. You will not have time to go shopping. If you were to be so lucky as to have this opportunity, you will not find what you need. There are no exceptions to this. Always pack everything you need. 

Lesson 2

Pack nifty gadgets. My diplomat friend, who is also a frequent work-traveller, jokes that she could perform an open heart surgery with all the medical- and other paraphernalia she schleps around in her handbag. You don’t need a safety pin, individually packed, pre-soaked nail polish remover or industrial strength painkillers when you leave the house, but I’m telling you, you will eventually. But only if you don’t have them on you. There are no exceptions to this rule. 

Also pack:

– Travel-size sticky roller to easily remove fluff from clothing

– Cotton buds and pads

– Small scissors and tweezers 

Lesson 3 

Special creams for your feet. There will be elements of flying, walking, more walking, and then all the rest is sitting. 

My favourites:

Tata Harper Soothing Muscle Gel

​Weleda’s Skin Food

Dr. Jacoby’s Extra Pferdesalbe (it’s originally intended for horses, but let’s not concentrate on that, but rather on the fact that it is a gel that can be applied over (sheer) tights and it is really good if you don’t have the time to put your legs up for 20 minutes after a 16-hour day of running around)

​Lesson 4

Only pack the bestest of your stuff. This is no time to experiment with new hair products, for example. Also, don’t fantasise about doing elaborate beauty rituals in the evenings in your plush hotel bathroom. Only have your most trusted products that deliver. This is also good for keeping you in good spirits while you’re exhausted and on the road. 

Lesson 5

Pack probiotics and vitamins. Then take them. I have taken to pack tubes of soluble vitamin tablets to trips. Also don’t eat and drink all kinds of crap that comes your way just because. This includes free chocolate/alcohol. I am not suggesting you pack little bags of seeds, nuts and dried fruit, because we are normal people after all. 

Lesson 6

Always pack woollen socks. Regardless whether you travel North or South, there will be air-conditioning somewehere that you cannot control. Your feet and soul will thank you for having proper woollen socks with you when you travel. Always pack them in carry-on, you will need them on the airplane.

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