I travel several months a year, speaking to business professionals about
networking. When traveling (especially internationally) I try very hard not to forget
important items I need for meetings or speaking to groups of people…but I admit it’s
hard to remember everything all the time.
Last month, I did an interview with an international magazine on this very topic.
The reporter asked me, “What should business people think about taking with
them on business trips that they might not normally think about?” I thought this list
would benefit anyone taking a trip, so I decided to share them here.
And here are a few somewhat less obvious things that can certainly come in handy…
1. Plenty of business cards. It is never a good idea to run out of business
cards while traveling. Tuck extras in your suit pockets, wallet/purse,
briefcase, luggage, etc. I put stacks in many places to ensure I always have
2. A name badge. If you do any networking while traveling on business, have
your own professional name badge. Don’t rely on the hosting organization to
do your name badge and do it right.
3. Extra pens. Make sure you have a pen with you while you are doing
meetings. I always find that I need to write some reminders down while I’m
talking to people. It’s troublesome to track down a pen while you are busy
Somewhat less obvious things
1. The contact information (or business cards) of all your referral
partners. I sometimes find that having that information at my fingertips
allows me to give referrals to people while I’m out networking.
2. Hand sanitizer. I know this may sound a little bit like “Mr. Monk”, the germ-
a-phobe title character of a television series. However, I have found that
since I’ve started using hand sanitizer after shaking many, many hands, that
I have been getting far less colds than I used to get. Just be tactful about the
way you use it. Don’t desperately and obviously spray your hands every time
you shake someone’s hand!
3. Breath mints. As obvious as it may sound – I can assure you from
experience that many people have no idea they need them!
4. A memory stick. Many times I have either needed to get a copy of
something or give a copy of a file or presentation to people while out
networking. Having a memory stick handy has been very helpful on several
5. A camera and/or video. A camera is great if you want to memorialize some
occasion or a meeting with someone important to you. A video is important
for anyone that blogs. It gives you a chance to interview someone during
your travels. I do this almost every time I travel.
6. Tools for your business. For me, that includes many copies of my bio for
introductions whenever I speak. Despite the fact that my team sends the
bio in advance, there are many times when I arrive and they don’t have
the bio handy. Another tool for me is a PowerPoint remote clicker. This
is really important for me because I don’t want to rely on someone else to
move the slides forward as a I present. Also, you know that memory stick I
mentioned earlier? I have copies of my talk(s) on there just in case the group
I’m speaking to has misplaced my presentation material.
When I asked some colleagues and other business travelers what they would add to
the list, they added some that I hadn’t thought of! Here are some of their suggestions
that most would find vital to include on a business trip:
1. A phone charger. I agree heartily, especially seeing how much these items
cost in an airport, or in another country. And you certainly won’t want to
forget your laptop power cord – besides being expensive it’s often impossible
to be able to get the right one easily, if at all. Also, you should write a “note to
self” to fully charge all of your electronic devices the night before you leave!
2. Power adapter/converter. Though it’s usually easy to pick up a “universal”
adapter at airports or stores in heavily populated areas, in this electronic age
you would hate to need one and not be able to find one, so it’s best to have
one (or two) packed and ready when you need it!
3. The right clothes. Most of you have experienced differences in temperature
and/or weather from one town to another, so you can imagine how different
the conditions could be across the country or around the world! It’s never
been easier to plan what clothes to bring, thanks to online weather forecasts
for every region of the earth. (Of course, there are no guarantees where
weather is concerned!)
4. A good book. Hear, hear! Those airport layovers, delays, and long flights can
seem even longer without something interesting to read.
There are certainly more items to include, but these items can certainly make or
break an important business trip. So you definitely do not want to forget them!
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling
author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization.
for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company.