So I'm officially slightly more of a full grown adult now, with a real job. And like I always vowed I'd do, I took a job that includes travel. As great as it is to see a new part of the country every other week, it can get real tough and chaotic at times. I've now been doing this for just over a year and learned quite a bit along the way, so here's how I manage and even get to enjoy traveling for work.
So like I said above, I've taken a position where I hop on a plane just about every other week to various parts of the United States BUT the catch is that my trips are very short. Like in and out within 24 hours short. So there are a few things worth pointing out that make my business travel quite different than most:
I'm going to cover my idea of some general basics for the travel that I personally do, such as my preferred bags, gadgets, packing tips, airlines, and travel rewards programs. Then I'll throw in some of my personal general travel tips here and there.
Also disclaimer; I will be including links to products that I use and truly do enjoy. No one is paying me to advertise for them but I may look into that whole referral link stuff where I get an Amazon credit of like 1% if you buy something through a link. Because, why not?
The bag(s) you choose for any travel are very much so dependent of the length of travel, personal comfort, and very importantly the airlines you use. It's getting extremely common for airlines to charge for carry-on bags now, only allowing one free "personal item." The allowed size for a personal item varies from airline to airline and is most notoriously small with Spirit. So check your airline's rules on the matter before you sell yourself on a bag.
That being said, in my experience, the exactly dimensions of allowable bags is not always enforced. and many bags that are slightly bigger still fit under the seat in front of you. Also, I cannot say this enough, DO NOT VOLUNTARILY PUT YOUR BAG IN THE MEASURING BIN WITHOUT BEING ASKED! Thats just asking to pay an additional $60+ for your bag, that no one was going to bother you about otherwise.
When I started traveling for work (keep in mind again that I usually only travel for 1-2 days with a "personal item"), I was using the same black backpack that I slugged through high school and college. It was easy, comfortable, fit most of the basics, and no one bothered me about it. Backpacks are really great in my book, they free up your hands, are so much better for your back than a cross-body bag, and if you get a reasonably subdued color they are just fine for business travel. As long as you aren't bringing that to a meeting where it can be viewed as unprofessional.
I now have a very professional looking minimalist back pack that was one of my favorite gifts this past Christmas. I use it on a daily basis as my briefcase, so to speak. It holds my laptop, my large manila files and an emergency change of clothes if needed. I use this on trips that I fly out and come back home within the same day.
Now I've finally settled and found a standard travel bag that suites a majority of my preferences. It took quite awhile and quite a few different bags with trial and error but after some research I convinced myself a Vera Bradley bag could actually work for me. Though, I have to preface this with the fact that I am not the type of person who would ever walk into a Vera Bradly store and go nuts. I really do not like the designs at all, which is the backbone of the company, but its just too much frill and flowers and I simply can't do it.
BUT then I realized that they actually have normal women in mind with the construction and durability of the bags and apparently they offer solid colors. Thank God.
I ended up going with the Vera Bradley Iconic Deluxe Weekender Bag (wow that's a mouth-full). It checked all my boxes, with the exception of having backpack straps:
*So here's my only issue so far with this bag; the cross-body strap, while there and sturdy enough, is not well padded. My bag can get fairly heavy with a pair of booties, my laptop, clothes, files and who knows what else, so the strap has a tendency to dig into my shoulder when carrying it for extended periods of time.