@shonali thanks for the great travel tips. I'm traveling myself today and am mentally noting these things for next time.
For those of you not in the U.S., we’re approaching the height of summer vacations and travel (unless you’re in the “other” hemisphere,” in which case you’re shivering your timbers off, and Jamie Garantziotis is going to have to take care of you).
Now, I know that as “PR people,” we’re never supposed to actually take vacation (‘cos then who would, you know, issue all those mind-numbingly boring press releases, since apparently that’s all we do).
though, is quite different – both when it comes to what we actually do as well as taking time off. Or simply being on the go.
So seeing as how we’re approaching a time that is typically “on the go” for us, I thought I’d share the contents of my handbag with you. These “things” are what I’ve found to be travel essentials for the PR pro on the go, and I figured the info might be useful to you.
Because whether we’re traveling on business or vacation, we never know when the opportunity for a good story … or making a good connection… will find us.
And if we weren’t ready, then where would we be?
OK. Here goes.
There are six little bags that go into my “big” handbag. When I switch handbags, the mini-bags get whooshed out from the first, and whooshed into the second. (You see a couple more items in the photo below that aren’t bags, and I’ll tell you what those are momentarily.)
1. Stationery on-the-go.
Bag #1 contains my mobile office. Yes, I do have a “real” office, but the nature of our work is that we are often moving around, needing to maintain a certain level of productivity at the same time.
So I’ve found that it pays to have a few office essentials on hands: such markers, mini-staplers, Post-It flags, white-out, and a couple of spare pens and pencils.
Put whatever you would normally reach for in the office in here. These items are what I’d reach for.
2. Fresh ‘n’ nice.
The last thing you want when you’re heading into a new business meeting, or a new partner meeting, or any similar situation, is to feel ungroomed and unkempt.
And I feel the same. Therefore, I always carry the following with me:
A small bottle of mouthwash
Perfume (gents: cologne)
Top coat (though this is for nails, it’s a lifesaver if your pantyhose springs a ladder)
A couple of safety-pins.
The gentlemen are probably smirking at this point, but whatever.
Ladies, this is pretty self-explanatory, and I suspect that this is one mini-bag you DO have in your handbag.
I didn’t realize how much of a life-saver these would be when I first saw them. Now I know.
Suffice it to say that if you often wear high heels to the office/on the road, you need to keep these handy (they take up much less space than your average pair of flats) to save your feet.
I stumbled upon this a couple of years ago, while picking up some meds at my local CVS. Mine isn’t this specific one, but it’s basically a shopping bag that folds and zips up into a nice little rectangle.
Very handy to have for those of us who are impulse shoppers, find they need to pick up a few grocery items on the way home, or are unsuspectingly caught in a sudden thunderstorm (yes, this actually happened to Heather Huhman and me, and my little bag-in-a-bag was what I used in lieu of an umbrella to spare my coiffure, to the extent it could be spared).
6. Mobile studio.
Now, you can’t actually see this in the photo. That’s because it’s in its own little baggie and resting inside the “big” handbag (what a nice family!).
I wrote a while back about how you can create your own photo/video mobile studio for under $200, and you should. Especially if your work entails you doing that kind of stuff.
Because you never know when the opportunity will arise for you to do a killer interview for your blog, now, do you?
7. A hand fan.
This may sound frightfully olde worlde, but it can be really useful. Say it’s really humid, and you need some air.
Or, the power goes out, and you’re suffocating.
Or, you stumble upon a damsel in distress, and she’s about to faint.
Or, you come across a basset hound who won’t shut up.
Or… you see what I mean?
8. A sound machine.
Imagine you’re starting a speaking gig, and the crowd needs to be warmed up. Cue the sound of, er, a flatulent seal!
Or you’re about to break up with your BF/GF and need something to fill that awkward gap after you say, “It’s not you, it’s me.” “Ding!” (That’s the sound of you pretending to be a loser!)
Or, you need to put a basset hound in her place (see #7 above). Cue the w0lf whistle!
So, there you have it. The PR pro’s on-the-go must-haves, according to me. Happy summer!
Now that you’ve had a look inside my handbag, tell me… what’s inside yours? Are there other items you’ve found essential to have around you at all times? Please do share!
I don't travel at anywhere near the break-neck pace that @ginidietrich does. But when I'm on the road, my Timbuk2 messenger bag is a constant companion. MBP, iPad, phone, Zoom H4 digital recorder and Joby GorillaPod all slow easily. Requisite chargers. Add two Moleskines, a Mophie speedcharger for the phone and a few pens, and I'm all set.
HAHAHAHA! The sound machine. LOL!! This is one of the gazillion reasons I love you!
My bag is a bit different: iPad, MacBook Air, a real book (for the airplane takeoff and landing times), a copy of Marketing in the Round should I meet someone I want to give it to (expensive business card!), the adapter for a projector so I can hook up my Mac, a slide changer remote (the technical name), a small bag of, oh, 20 lipglosses, gum, water, snacks (for Pete), chargers/cords, and, of course, the sound machine.
@ginidietrich Which makes me ask - how has Pete been doing with your hectic travel schedule lately?
@ginidietrich I like the "small bag" of 20 lipglosses. What's your favorite brand? :)
@annedreshfield Oh jeez. That's like asking me to name my 10 favorite books. :) I love CO Bigelow (the flavored ones), Buxom, Fresh, and Benefit. But never lipstick...just gloss.
Check, check and check; I never leave home without that stuff...........
PR, Insurance sales.........there is no vacation; we may doze, but we never close, right?
@shonali You never fail to disappoint & I admit to smirking at a few key points. Sending a mobile photo/video kit reminder to a few folks
@jckreidel @merrittvox @OSullyEvents And aren't you supposed to still be on vacation, JC? Busting my chops counts as working :-D
@merrittvox @jocmbarnett @osullyevents Maybe he's just jealous he can't wear stockings? You know, without people blogging about it ...
@shonali The expected male-smirk on make-up, hand bags, pantyhose repairs; applies more to my buds @MerrittVox @JCKreidel & @OSullyEvents
@shonali That's funny! And thanks for including me. I have to remember to pack my sound machine - I've used it so much I need a new battery
@martinwaxman Oh, I should stock up on batteries for those! And my pleasure, how could I not give you credit?
@Shonali Cool post Shonali...loved #5..Bag-in-a-bag ...I really need to check this out! :)
@Ancita I can't tell you how useful it is! At the beginning of this year, the county I live in started a $0.05 bag tax any time you went shopping; in other words, if you needed the store to put your purchases in a bag (or several), you pay 5 cents per bag. Just lovely, eh? The idea is to reduce waste, encourage use of reusable bags, etc. For groceries, I've been doing that for a long time anyway, but it's very irritating, say, if you go to the drug store to get something that's just a few bucks, and have to shell out 5 cents for a bag. So I can usually whip this out and say, "No thanks, I got my own."
And it came in very handy as a makeshift umbrella too!
@Shonali Yea!! That sounds amazing..why would you pay extra to carry stuff ...I might as well have a bag-in-a-bag with me!! :D
@shonali Enjoyed your post and left my travel essentials. I'd say number one is a blazer with pockets - male substitute for a purse :).
Oh man, Shonali, I LOVE this! I'm a big sucker for blog posts with "what's in my travel bag/makeup bag/purse," and all other variations! I've never heard of #5, but I'm going to check it out. :)
Right now, here's what's in my bag: 13 inch MacBook Air, a book for the train (Jeffrey Archer's "Only Time Will Tell"), a small makeup bag with lip sticks, perfume, contact case, contact solution, eyedrops, Band Aids, a pill case with Advil and other pills, and a small collapsible brush. Other than that, I have my wallet, some pens, business cards, and mints. That's all I need for a two hour commute, usually. If I don't have a book in my bag, I have my iPad.
@annedreshfield If you have a 13" MBA in your bag, that's a BIG BAG!!! Also, I'm jealous b/c I don't have an Air, but a Pro. Humph.
Bandaids - great idea. My make-up bag has a small brush set (also dupes of my "regular" makeup, e.g. blush, mineral make-up, etc.). Mints are awesome, but I do prefer mouthwash, it leaves me with a much better taste in my mouth!
And you reminded me, I need to carry a spare contacts case & solution too!
@Shonali @annedreshfield thanks for the shout out Shonali! So, during my 3 months in NYC, here's what I carried around in a small office bag to keep up with the times. iPad or laptop (depending on my plans for the day ... mostly just iPad as I could write and edit via dropbox and evernote), business cards, tissues, hand sanitizer, lip balm, iPhone, pre-paid talk/text phone, iPod nano, headphones, pen, note pad, band aid, mini-umbrella, reading glasses and sunglasses.You never know what the Big Apple's gonna throw at you - gotta be prepared! ;)
@JGarant That is a really great, practical list!
Tell me something... how do you write & edit via Dropbox or Evernote? I'm assuming you mean for your blog... I tried the iPad WordPress app a while back and never really got into it, but I've been trying to find a mobile writing solution. Dragon Dictation is one, but if you don't save your notes immediately, I think they get lost - or, at least, I haven't figured out where they go. I dictated an entire blog post one day while driving to work and was so irritated when I couldn't find it later on. @annedreshfield
@Shonali Full disclosure: I'm a brand ambassador for the bag, but I pretty much knew nothing about it until I applied for the job, and was just guessing that the bag would fit all of my needs and also not look ridiculously huge on me (I'm 5'4). Guess what? It can also fit my 15" MBP! The bag is literally my "black hole" bag, and it's AWESOME. Best laptop bag I've ever owned (and I've tried a lot). Check it out here: http://alesyabags.com/shop/product/equestrian-tan/. The Air is magnificent -- Livefyre is awesome and loaning it to me for the duration of the internship -- but the Pro is my personal laptop. In fact, It's so much better to carry around an Air that, when my Pro needs replacing, I'll probably just buy myself an Air and have a monitor at home to hook it up to for the bigger screen.
I'm not at the point where I carry around full touch-up makeup like mineral makeup, blush, eyeshadow, etc., and I'm not sure I really want to. Maybe if I were at a conference all day and wanted to make sure I looked my best. I don't even carry brushes with me...everything I carry has to be applied with my handy-dandy fingers! lol. :)
@annedreshfield Um, if they are ever looking for new brand, er, bag ambassadors... just sayin... ;)
@Shonali Yes, the last batch was the first ever made, and the next batch is in production right now...with new colors on the way, too! :)
@annedreshfield Oh, that is a VERY cute bag! The site says they're sold out, though. :(
@Shonali I guess my travel bag is my computer backpack - because I carry it with me for business and pleasure. It has two notebooks (small and large), one laptop, three pens, business cards, gum, more gum, wireless internet USB, cords and cables and my portable first aid kit with tissues and lots of allergy medicine because you never (SNEEZE) know.
Another thing I do is wear a blazer and designate various pockets for passport, wallet, boarding pass and iPhone because I'm always taking stuff out and by giving things a home away from home means I won't be leaving them home alone :).
@Shonali I do carry my computer bag - I know I could bring my iPad, but I like to keep connected on social channels and maybe write a blog post or two. Easier on my computer. I don't look at emails on vacation...(well too much).
Yep, my blazer is organized for travel - but I'm so worried I'll forget things when I go through security and customs and have to remove my boarding pass, photo ID, passport, iPhone, keys, etc, etc. Giving them a designated pocket helps (and no... I don't make labels for the pockets :) ).
@martinwaxman Do you carry your computer backpack everywhere... I mean, even on vacation?
A portable first aid kit is a really good point. We have one for each car, but I should have a few items in my purse. I do have a couple of bandaids, but that's it.
You organize your blazer! I love it!!!