Save time when packing: keep essentials in your carry-on at home

By John Walton, June 25 2012
Save time when packing: keep essentials in your carry-on at home

Hate packing? We'll let you into a secret: so do we!

That's why the Australian Business Traveller team is always on the lookout to make one of business travel's more frustrating tasks faster, easier and with less faff.

One of the tricks I'm very fond of is never fully unpacking. Don't worry, my bag gets put away -- but there's always a small stash of key travel items tucked neatly away in the bottom of my carry-on.

If I'm travelling hand-luggage only, everything's where I need it, and if I'm packing a suitcase I can just drop anything I don't want to take on board into the larger bag.

I keep a "travel set" of things I always take with me in the bag:

  • passport
  • foreign currency
  • frequent flyer cards
  • my stash of overseas SIM cards
  • travel-sized toiletries
  • the shoes I travel in
  • socks, underwear and t-shirts
  • power adapters
  • connecting cables
  • power strip (you do travel with a power strip, right?)

Having the necessities in your bag also serves pretty well as a "go-bag" in case of natural disasters, fire or any other reason why I'd need to leave the house in a hurry.

If you travel with electronics it's especially helpful to keep a second set of cables and chargers in your case: those little cables take way too much time to unplug from the home computer and roll up neatly into your bag. Take my advice and keep them zipped up in an old airline amenity kit.

Prefer travelling with a garment bag? Consider dropping it off at the cleaners fully loaded with laundry on your return home, then picking it up all neatly pressed and folded before you next hit the road (or even en route to the airport).

Got a favourite luggage tip to share with your fellow travellers? Jot it down in the comments below!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

27 Sep 2011

Total posts 37

I can't believe anyone still travels with a power strip! All my phones/ipads etc charge via usb, so I have one of these

(various people sell on ebay) and a single adaptor for my laptop. Takes up much less room than a power strip.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 666

I still travel with a three-socket power strip, to take my laptop, camera battery charger (I swear by my Canon, which doesn't charge via USB) and my Internet router for when hotels have wired Internet but not wifi (or when the wifi is much slower than the wired connection). All my USB stuff charges from my laptop.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 43

Rebekka,  just make sure you can still bring your phone back to life on USB charge if you totally drain it. On my Motorola Defy, I have had times when I can't charge i just on USB if I let the battery totally drain. 

So, if you have a notebook, phone, camera and maybe even an iPad to charge, a powerboard is essential.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2012

Total posts 3

I always pack next day's clothes  in my carry on and always have snap lock bags in a variety of sizes in the outside top pocket of my case : good for clothes, make up, power cords etc etc

Lufthansa - Miles & More

26 Oct 2012

Total posts 9

I have some tips which might be helpful to some of you.

The best is as mentioned to never unpack your bag. In addition to the items mentioned above, i recommend to always have the following inside your carry on bag:

- an envelope with 20 or 30 of 1-US-Dollar notes and 10-15 5-Dollar-notes. It is useful everywhere in the world, for paying visa-on-arrival, to give small tips to staff and so on. If you travel to some other countries very often it is also useful to carry e.g. some Singapore Dollar notes.

- a waterproof pencil

- 1-2 lagguage tags with your name on - in case you need to buy something and use another bag for the return flight!

- an USB stick, which is shock resistent and which carries all important data. I use a Kensington DT R400 and always have a data backup on it, not older than 7 days. So in case your computer breaks, your computer gets stolen or whatever, you can restore your data virtually everywhere in the world. I recommend to use True Crypt, which is for free, and which encrypts all your data. On the stick there only needs to be one file, which you can decrypt and connect as a virtual volume.

I also carry a flat network cable inside of my carry on board trolley. You can fold it very small and it is 10 meters long. This is because there are still so many hotels without good wifi connection. Using the cable you can sit on the bed and go online :)!

Hope this helps? Looking forward to your comments!!

Qantas Platinum

04 Dec 2012

Total posts 48

In addition to all good advice I can also recommend headphones which I always have in my two carry-ons (one day-multi day trips)

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