I had an early morning flight last week. The night before I set my alarm for 4:45 am so I could meet my travel partner for a 5:30 commute to the airport. How was I able to get out the door by 5:35 (5 minutes late) when I woke up without an alarm at 5:23? Fortunately I was ready.

The night before I travel, there are three things I prepare before going to bed.

Brief case

I pack my brief case ready to board the plane. It is packed sitting next to the door completely ready to go. At times I’m tempted to keep my laptop plugged in overnight so I can synchronize my off-line email. That would have cost me precious time that morning. It was all packed the night before. This is what I pack for every trip.

    • Laptop with power cord.
    • Peripheral bag. This is a small bag always stocked with my wireless mouse, external mini speaker, and phone cord (also a micro USB).
    • Car phone charger.
    • Newly synchronized MP3 and earphones (for podcasts).
    • Blue tooth headset.
    • Site access badges (for the site access where I coach).
    • Notebooks (Moleskine®).
    • File folders and printed handouts for whatever I am doing at the site.
    • Boarding pass.
    • Pens and highlighters.
    • Book to read and Success Magazine.

Carry-on bag

I have a perfect size carry-on bag with scope handle and wheels that my wife got me for Christmas. With the amount of travel I am doing (almost weekly), it is extra nice to have one carry-on bag dedicated to my business travel.

I only travel with one carry-on (plus my laptop bag) when I fly so that I can avoid checked baggage complexities. An awesome video blog post from Michael Hyatt taught me how to pack so my clothes don’t get creased or wrinkled. In my carry-on bag:

    • In a large Zip-lock® bag are all my toiletries. This zip-lock bag remains permanently stocked and ready to go. I don’t pack any of this stuff the night before. Airport security now requires this.
    • Small bag of snacks. I learned from a previous trip that you cannot always count on having time to eat something.
    • Laptop cords and other brief case items I don’t need to junk up my brief case with.
    • Clothes. I only pack exactly what I need. For me, packing extra clothes is just worth it.

Clothes for travel day

I use mental energy the night before to decide what I am going to wear the next morning. This also minimizes disrupting my sleeping wife. The night before, I lay out everything. This includes laying out my socks, shoes, belt, glasses, etc.

I never expect to wake up late, but always think it can happen. Sometimes morning plans don’t work out as expected even when I wake up on time. Being prepared the night before helps cut that stress.

How do you prepare for a trip?
When have you regretted not being ready for a trip?

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2 thoughts on “I’m packed

  • at 8:18 am

    Wow – I hate that feeling…rolling over to look at the clock and realize you’ve overslept. Luckily, it rarely happens, but just once is enough.

    As always Chris, very methodical and well thought out. Thanks for the info.

    • at 9:05 pm

      You are right. “Just once is enough”. I try to make my mistakes learning experiences. Now I added a confirmation process to setting my alarm. I will not wake up late again. Thanks for your comment Mike.


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