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Watching my fellow Monday morning commuters with their constant travelling companions is a joy. There is a congruence between a business traveller and their cases.
Regular nomads have their travel routine down to a fine art and there are four types in evidence on every flight. Here are the four types at every departure gate and their packing preferences.
Which one are you?
Passport In My Pocket
One overnight means the soft leather briefcase will be fine. You strain every sinew to leave the black case under the stair and can pack for a week with no hold luggage in a case so small even FlyBe like it. Passport, pants, socks, shirt and a roll-on deodorant will get you through security today and have you smelling nice tomorrow. Everything else is ballast, as you are watching telly and having room service pizza tonight. In a hotel dressing gown.
You drive colleagues daft as they rattle off check lists you never do and ask about things you never have. And you are home and hosed next evening while they are still at the carousel, keeping their cab driver waiting.
Polish, Fold and Pack
Sunday night is Feng Shui in a case and you feel a deep joy when packing your travel Tardis. It is sleek, expensive hard bodied and burgundy. Packing is done the night before, after meticulous ironing and folding: everything laid out, case emptied of last week’s flotsam, a place for everything and everything in its place.
You are never more alive than when that beautiful plastic lozenge gets snagged by airport security and the conversation turns to the aesthetic of the inside. Pictures have been taken by strangers and there is an Instagram hashtag (#beautifulburgundybaggage).
When you pack for a fortnight in the sun the family know to leave you alone for three weekends before departure and your holiday luggage cost more than the flights.
Two By Two
Noah put two of everything in the Ark and you put two of everything in your case. On an overnight the biggest carry-on permissible, with a fat-boy expendable zip, just about does the job. FlyBe go crazy as you approach the gate and always try to wrestle it from you.
For multiple days you need a hold bag because of the trainers (two pairs), tracksuit, sundry socks (white sports, black business, jazzy evening), spare jackets (one casual, one Harris tweed), jumper (you never know), three casual shirt (polo, collared, T), speakers (the latest, for the whale music), three books (all personal development), business folders (seriously, folders) two pairs of work shoes (black, lacing, identical to the ones you are wearing), toilet bag (the size of your Waitrose bag for life) and hypo allergenic pillow.
Fling It In
Everything gets creased in transit but there will be a tiny ironing board when you get there so why bother? You have a range of bashed cases under the stair and pick one out at random. It has a holiday tag from 2009, sticking plasters and ibuprofen in the corners. One of the wheels does not turn. You throw enough in until it looks full: shirts from the utility room, casual shoes and denims.
You have Maltesers, chewing gum and ibuprofen in every case so are never short of a sugar rush and something for a sore head. There are times when you have packed more pairs of trousers than pants, but that’s what M&S early opening is for. You are a risk taker who is never quite sure if those socks have already had a day’s use.
Whichever flavour of corporate traveller you are, remember that- as long as you have your passport handy, cleanish underwear and a pen in your pocket- you’ll be fine.
At least until the shops open.