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Thread: packing for work trips?

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    packing for work trips?

    I'm still trying to figure out how (I mean, what) to pack for work trips, wondering if a rollaboard is best for me after all? Here's the deal: I'm talking about international trips for at least a week. So I need professional clothing for that long; of course I can mix and match outfits and wear stuff more than once, but on the other hand I'm not going to wear the same outfit for a week straight. Typically I want two pair of shoes, one comfortable pair to wear through the airport and one dressier pair to carry for work. I also need shorts or jeans to wear after work and on weekends when required.

    Also, once I get there I need a bag to carry a 15" laptop, power cord, cell phone and wallet to and from work. Thiswhat makes it hard; I could probably get everything I need into an Aeronaut, but I'd feel kind of silly carrying something that big as my laptop bag. The thing is, if I carry something like an Aeronaut or Western Flyer plus a Checkpoint Flyer, then I have two bags hanging off me, which seems more difficult to me than maneuvering a small rollie bag plus laptop backpack through the airports and train stations. I am strong, but I'm small (5'2") which seems to afford less space for bags hanging on me. Over the past year I've had several trips to Japan, which means that after the flight I have to take a couple of trains to get where I'm going.

    Different viewpoints / suggestions? I'd also be interested in which bags work best as an adjunct to a rolling carry-on - the idea would be to strike the perfect balance between offering space for more than just the computer, while still looking to the airline like just a laptop bag so it's permissible as 2nd carry-on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dichroic View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out how (I mean, what) to pack for work trips, wondering if a rollaboard is best for me after all? Here's the deal: I'm talking about international trips for at least a week. So I need professional clothing for that long; of course I can mix and match outfits and wear stuff more than once, but on the other hand I'm not going to wear the same outfit for a week straight. Typically I want two pair of shoes, one comfortable pair to wear through the airport and one dressier pair to carry for work. I also need shorts or jeans to wear after work and on weekends when required.

    Also, once I get there I need a bag to carry a 15" laptop, power cord, cell phone and wallet to and from work. Thiswhat makes it hard; I could probably get everything I need into an Aeronaut, but I'd feel kind of silly carrying something that big as my laptop bag. The thing is, if I carry something like an Aeronaut or Western Flyer plus a Checkpoint Flyer, then I have two bags hanging off me, which seems more difficult to me than maneuvering a small rollie bag plus laptop backpack through the airports and train stations. I am strong, but I'm small (5'2") which seems to afford less space for bags hanging on me. Over the past year I've had several trips to Japan, which means that after the flight I have to take a couple of trains to get where I'm going.

    Different viewpoints / suggestions? I'd also be interested in which bags work best as an adjunct to a rolling carry-on - the idea would be to strike the perfect balance between offering space for more than just the computer, while still looking to the airline like just a laptop bag so it's permissible as 2nd carry-on.
    It can be hard to avoid wheels when travelling for work, IME. For me the ideal combo in that situation is a rolling briefcase for work papers, laptop etc (can often be the heaviest part of the load) with a Western Flyer (luggage handle sleeve) on top for clothes. But wheels are a pain if you have to negotiate stairs! Have you thought about a Tri-Star? It can pass as a large laptop case....

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    Quote Originally Posted by dichroic View Post
    Here's the deal: I'm talking about international trips for at least a week. So I need professional clothing for that long; of course I can mix and match outfits and wear stuff more than once, but on the other hand I'm not going to wear the same outfit for a week straight. Typically I want two pair of shoes, one comfortable pair to wear through the airport and one dressier pair to carry for work. I also need shorts or jeans to wear after work and on weekends when required.
    If you truly want to travel light and get rid of the wheels, there are two requirements: the willingness to do laundry along the way and the willingness to wear your main bag on your back while traveling.

    You will probably need two cases: one for clothes and personal items and one for your laptop an accessories. No need to take something as big as a Western Flyer for your laptop. Get something much smaller perhaps a Ristretto or other type of messenger style laptop bag. The Checkpoint Flyer is too big for what you describe.

    When I go on a trip, 90% of the time I take three days worth of clothes and wash along the way. Everything mixes and matches. I can wear most of what I bring for either work or play. Leave the jeans at home as they are heavy. While I wear them daily at home, I never travel with them. I prefer a pair of Dockers which can also do double duty as business casual or even worn with a jacket.

    If this doesn't sound like something you want to do, then go with the roller. However, when the time comes and you're forced to check it with the bag going in a different direction than you are, or you're pulling it through some location and a wheel falls off, you'll understand why so many of us have said goodbye to wheels.

    There is an additional idea if you insist on wheels. How about a collapsible luggage cart? One that could fit inside your bag when not needed but be taken out for those long airport walks. When the times comes I can no longer carry my bags, I'm going to try this method first.
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    What about a smaller bag to fit inside something like the Aeronaut or Tri-Star? Maybe the Cadet or a Brain Cell depending on your laptop. Kind of like Frank's suggestion. That way you just have on bag to maneuver with through the airport and then when you get to your location, you just pull out the second bag and use it. You can always call TB with the exact measurements of your laptop and they can tell you exactly what bags it would fit in. That is my suggestion.

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    If you end up with the roller bag, I think the Cadet might be the perfect accompaniment. It's very compact, is set up for a 15" laptop, and is a really cool bag. You can slip it over the roller bag handle, carry with a shoulder strap, or just carry it like a briefcase.

    I was in Japan recently with a roller bag, and felt quite hampered by it, both because of stairs and crowds. Next time, I would take my Tri-Star (or Aeronaut if I ever get one). You might be just fine with the Aeronaut on your back and the Cadet in your hand. I have no idea if the Cadet would fit in the Aeronaut, but if it did, even better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    Everything mixes and matches.
    The laundry tip is important, but Frank's tip to make sure everything works together is probably your key.

    You said:

    So I need professional clothing for that long; of course I can mix and match outfits and wear stuff more than once, but on the other hand I'm not going to wear the same outfit for a week straight.
    That makes me think you're not mixing and matching enough. It's possible for you to use 7 articles of clothing and mix/match them for a different look for your entire trip, including work trips. Choose a neutral color (navy, black, brown, etc.) and make sure every piece works together. A huge helper for women needing to wear a corporate look is scarves, which take up next to nothing in your carry-on. Take 2 or 3 different scarves... make sure they each contain your key neutral color, but have different patterns/accent colors. You can wear the scarves in different ways, too. Like a bow tie, tie, wrap, ascot, etc.

    The idea is to trick people into not noticing that you're repeating some of the same items. Let's say you take two pairs of slacks; one black, and one a lighter color. People really will not notice that you only have two pairs of slacks, if the tops are different, and you're wearing different scarves or accessories on top.

    You don't mention how large your laptop is, but I'm going to assume it's not a huge honkin' 21-inch Alienware gaming machine (but also not a netbook, since you don't mention that specifically).

    Instead of an Aeronaut, how about maybe something like the Tri-Star? The middle compartment was designed for you to stash things like a laptop. Use the Snake Charmer, various organizer pouches, or the new travel stuff sacks to keep your cables and whatnots organized. You should be able to keep the bulk of your work stuff in that middle compartment.

    If you have to carry your laptop around during the day, instead of carrying a separate laptop, I'd suggest finding a neoprene sleeve for the laptop to fit in first, and then use an expandable purse.

    If you have to look official and corporate with your laptop bag when you go to work during the day, my suggestion is to splurge a bit... buy yourself a large long-handle Le Pliage tote from Longchamp--you should be able to buy it at Nordstrom (do NOT buy them off of eBay; there are way too many counterfeits there). The thing it, Le Pliage folds into a little flat thing you can stuff in your Tri-Star. IT LOOKS LIKE A LADIES' PURSE and it will likely be large enough to fit your laptop. It also works as an expandable tote bag for when you want to bring home lots of souvenirs.

    Other companies like Eagle Creek make similar expandable totes, but Le Pliage is one of the few that's VERY popular with women and you will not look at all out of place carrying that into a meeting.


    I'm also with Frank on using a collapsible travel cart if you really want wheels.
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    Le Pliage *le sigh* They do fold up super nice and small and look great. Lani is right about the clothes thing. Check out Frank's site OBOW Blog - One-bag, carry-on, light travel tips, techniques, and gear where there are several threads that talk about women's travel wardrobes and how to make it all work together. We ladies like sharing our clothing ideas over there!
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    I use an Aeronaut or Brain Bag as my carry-on and use a Chrome Bags briefcase bag that also carries as a backpack for my computer and on plane stuff. It fits under the seat in front of me and becomes my daily bag at site.

    I'm in engineering so I carry my jacket on the plane and wear my heaviest shoes. I pack very few clothes, figuring I can wash underwear and shirts if I need to at night. I do carry one set of shorts/sweats and comfortable shirt for lounging. Not that I get much time for that on my trips.

    I will be traveling soon. I will try to remember to do a packing list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    If you truly want to travel light and get rid of the wheels, there are two requirements: the willingness to do laundry along the way and the willingness to wear your main bag on your back while traveling.
    (snip)
    If this doesn't sound like something you want to do, then go with the roller. However, when the time comes and you're forced to check it with the bag going in a different direction than you are, or you're pulling it through some location and a wheel falls off, you'll understand why so many of us have said goodbye to wheels.
    But those things don't happen, because it's a small carry-on that fits easily in the overhead. I suppose at worst I could be forced to gate check it but that seems unlikely - and that could happen with an Aeronaut or Tri-Star too. And if a wheel fell of, I could just carry it, because it's small and light. I don't have any trouble taking it up and down stairs. A usual business trip for me goes like this: walk < 10 min to train station, take train to Schiphol. Check in, and fly about 10 hours to Seoul. Cross to opposite terminal, check in for Japan. Get to Nagoya, take either 1 bus or 2 trains to Yokkaichi. After a few days, I'll have an overnight to Hiroshima (2 more trains). Then repeat the whole thing in reverse. The carryon is really not a problem in Japanese trains - if you get a reserved seat, the trains are much less crowded.

    My current system isn't broken; I just want to figure out if there's something better. I do not want to go ultralight, because I'd rather not wear the same two pair of pants for 10 days, of which 7 are workdays. No, not even if I wash them. (No one else would notice, because having a new outfit every day is much less of a thing for Europeans and Asians than for Americans - this is just personal preference.) My current plan is to take 2 pair of pants, 1 dress, about 3 tops (and a scarf, and a long necklace) and a skirt that's actually a skort and can double as casual wear for nights and weekends. I'll probably also take a pair of shorts, because Yokkaichi is hot and humid, and a couple plain jersey t-shirts (OK for work or weekend).

    The Aeronaut with Cadet in hand might work - I'd have to just put my airplane stuff in a separate bag I could pull out and put under the seat. (I have a folding shopping bag that would work for this.) I'll check out the Le Pliage bag too, since taking a purse is always an issue,and if it can carry a 15" laptop that would be great. That with just the Aeronaut might work well.

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    I have an Aeronaut and a backpack laptop bag - problem is then I'd have two backpacks and I'd look like a walking bag rack. My trips always involve at least some walking and at least one train ride, since that's how I get to the nearest big airport (Schiphol). (Just out of curiosity, I'm an engineer too, but what does that have to do with carrying a jacket on the plane?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    If you have to look official and corporate with your laptop bag when you go to work during the day, my suggestion is to splurge a bit... buy yourself a large long-handle Le Pliage tote from Longchamp--you should be able to buy it at Nordstrom (do NOT buy them off of eBay; there are way too many counterfeits there). The thing it, Le Pliage folds into a little flat thing you can stuff in your Tri-Star. IT LOOKS LIKE A LADIES' PURSE and it will likely be large enough to fit your laptop. It also works as an expandable tote bag for when you want to bring home lots of souvenirs.
    If I'm not mistaken, those are the bags they sell all over airports. I've never considered using one to carry a laptop! If I see one at either airport I'll check to see if it fits my computer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dichroic View Post
    I have an Aeronaut and a backpack laptop bag - problem is then I'd have two backpacks and I'd look like a walking bag rack. My trips always involve at least some walking and at least one train ride, since that's how I get to the nearest big airport (Schiphol). (Just out of curiosity, I'm an engineer too, but what does that have to do with carrying a jacket on the plane?)
    My laptop bag really looks like a briefcase and that's how I carry it at the airport.
    I carry my jacket because it would get wrinkled if I carried it in the carryon and i use it as a blanket on the plane if it gets to cold. Sometimes I have to attend management meetings on my trips and so I need a nice jacket.
    Joi Edwards

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    Intermediate followup: I have the Aeronaut mostly packed and it's still got a fair bit of room - the main compartment is only packed halfway deep (with the backpack packing cube, not overfilled). Only issue is that I still need to put in a dress I forgot plus a shawl or thin fleece for the plane, umbrella, several Luna Bars, and all the last minute stuff (last minute because I use them until the end): laptop in sleeve, power brick, phones, phone charger, iPad, Kindle, knitting. Don't know if it will all fit; we'll see.

    It turns out that the giveaway bag I have (in a style like the Le Pliage bags) does *not* have a logo on it and is plenty big enough to be a laptop tote. So I'll use that this trip - it's already packed - and if it works very well I'll consider investing in the real thing. I'll also check in the airport to see if those pack more easily - the handles of mine are a little stiff. It's also big enough that I can probably leave the suitcase at my hoiginal hotel and take just it for my overnighter to Hiroshima.

    If I were going for ultralight packing, I'd take the iPad OR Kindle, not both. But they're unlikely to be the final straw, and having both will definitely improve my trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darbs View Post
    Le Pliage *le sigh* They do fold up super nice and small and look great. Lani is right about the clothes thing. Check out Frank's site OBOW Blog - One-bag, carry-on, light travel tips, techniques, and gear where there are several threads that talk about women's travel wardrobes and how to make it all work together. We ladies like sharing our clothing ideas over there!
    Yes we do!

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    Bon voyage!
    Just a thought: I often take my Field Notebook as an in-flight gear holder: It will fit a notebook, my ipod, headphones and a paperback, and it fits in one of the end pockets of the Aeronaut.

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