Travelling and packing for events - don't forget to pack your... undies!

Travelling for work is often not as glamorous as others may think. Having time to relax and enjoy the destination is not usually on the itinerary. Instead, meals on the go (or in the hotel), working long hours and waiting in airport lounges tends to be the reality.
 
Event professionals will often get to travel to exotic places where fun activities, glamorous dinners and entertainment are arranged. Unfortunately, those activities are arranged by the event professional for the enjoyment of others – the guests. These trip highlights are often observed from behind the scenes, rather than in front.
 
Adding to the pressure of travelling is the nightmare of packing. Travelling event professionals are required to pack not only their personal items, but also pack all the bits and pieces they may need to perform their job on the ground – away from the comfort of their offices.
 
This week we caught up with a handful of event pros that often travel for work to discover how they prepared for their trips. Many of them admitted to taking a lot more than you might expect, with one even admitting to packing a printer! We discovered that if they do forget a key item, they may struggle to find time to head to the shops when working an event – a particular problem when that key item is….undies! 

So join with us as we discover some secret packing tips, items you cannot afford to forget and the truth about whether event professionals get to enjoy travelling for work – it seems most of the time they find a way!

Ashleigh Moore, Marketing Executive, Lumi Ashleigh Moore

What item can you not afford to forget when travelling for work?
An extension cable. There’s nothing more annoying than not having a plug in your room where you need it.
 
What item/s have you forgotten in the past that caused some grief and why?
About 7 years ago I forgot my mobile phone when travelling overnight. Luckily it was before the iPhone and I wasn’t half as reliant on my phone as I am now… but I did still have to set up a mini office in a phone box!
 
Do you fold or scrunch your undies?
Fold
 
Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink?
I take the kitchen sick – I don’t think I have ever packed a suitcase that was under my luggage allowance!  
 
Best packing tip?
Organise exactly what you need for each day – AM and PM (then throw in a few more options!!).  Nothing worse than realising you have only brought half an outfit!  
 
Best destination you’ve been to for work? Did you get time to enjoy it?
Australia!  While working in the UK I travelled to Australia to coordinate an event – I loved it here so much I never went back!


 

Rachael Elsworth, Manager - Sponsorship & Exhibitions, Arinex Rachael Elsworth

What item can you not afford to forget when travelling for work? 
My onsite folder. It's my bible for the event!! Many a time has my onsite folder been my saving grace.
 
What item/s have you forgotten in the past that caused some grief and why? 
It's embarrassing to say, but my undies!! Yep, the one thing which should be the first item you pack, I forgot!! I then had to try and arrange to leave the venue early one evening to make it to Woollies before they closed. Try explaining that one to your manager!!

Do you fold or scrunch your undies? 
I fold them, when I remember to pack them!
 
Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink? 
I pack light when it comes to my personal items, and I take the kitchen sink when it comes to my work related items. You never know when you're going to need highlighters, paperclips, sticky tape, gaffer tape (it holds the world together!!), plastic sleeves, Stanley knives, pens, pens, pens - did I say pens?!?!?!
 
Best packing tip? 
Start at least a week before you're due to leave. I tend to think of things I need to take at the most random times. So I start creating a pile at least a week out and make sure I remember these so called "random" items. 

Best destination you have been to for work? Did you get time to enjoy it? 
Kuala Lumpur. So far it's been my only overseas trip for work and it was fabulous. Working at the World Gas Conference was mind blowing. The exhibition booths, on stand entertainment (including rhythmic gymnasts), on stand catering, holographic presentations - you name it, they did it!! The food was also fantastic! I enjoyed a delicious meal of dumplings and crab with my Managing Director - it's not every day you eat a crab with your MD. It's also great to be able to extend and have a holiday after working crazy hours. I visited Cambodia with my husband for a few days at the end of this work trip.


 

Scott Bellingham, Event Manager, MCI Group Scott Bellingham

What item can you not afford to forget when travelling for work?
Earphones for my music. I can't sleep without listening to Frank Sinatra's Christmas album. 
 
What item/s have you forgotten in the past that caused some grief and why?
Belt! It's hard to be confident when your trousers are falling down. 
 
Do you fold or scrunch your undies?
Undies? 
 
Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink?
I pack probably somewhere in the middle, I'd rather have something and not need it, than need something and not have it. 
 
Best packing tip?
Always pack swimmers - you never know if you'll get a chance for a swim or if you will need to shuttle delegates in a cyclone in an open side golf buggy! 
 
Best destination you’ve been to for work? Did you get time to enjoy it?
Best moment would be SUPPING (stand up paddle boarding) and cruising along with a sea turtle off Hamilton Island. 


 

Rowena Bale, Event Manager, Verve Creative Rowena Bale

What item can you not afford to forget when travelling for work?
Apart from my phone and charger, books loaded on my Kindle for those unexpected delays.

What item/s have you forgotten in the past that caused some grief and why?
A printed ticket for Noumea when e-tickets were still a bit fledgling: lots of talking and some international calls and one faxed declaration later and I was on!
 
Do you fold or scrunch your undies?
Roll!
 
Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink?
Light, there is so much you can buy now if you really need it (but chances are you won't need to!)
 
Best packing tip?
For international - power board. Just one adapter and you're set to go

I've also just discovered packing cubes – a great Christmas gift idea for an organisational freak like me – haha!
 
Best destination you’ve been to for work? Did you get time to enjoy it?
Ooh so many, but New York is just amazing and yes I did (I specifically worked my flights to be able to do so!).


 

Shane O’Neill, Director, ONeill Photographics Shane Oneill

What item can you not afford to forget when travelling for work?
My iPod, headphones and a good book.
 
What item/s have you forgotten in the past that caused some grief and why?
Sunglasses or my reading glasses, and having to buy more pairs when on my travels.

Do you fold or scrunch your undies?
Ha! I don’t wear undies… I do fold my boxers ;-)
 
Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink?
Pack light. Essentials and a toothbrush! Depending on how long away we are on a shoot, it can be tricky too, when having to take extra camera gear on shoots and trying to work out best weight for the different airlines clients book me on, or sneak on as carry-on luggage!
 
Best packing tip?
When I pack I always leave enough space in my bag for all the extra purchases I am going to make when I am away travelling - particularly if I am going to Melbourne, I tend to come back with a new wardrobe!
 
Best destination you’ve been to for work? Did you get time to enjoy it?
I am recently just back from shooting a wedding in Meaford, a spectacular location. We managed to make it a round world trip, with two weeks holiday en route to Canada, via Thailand and the West of Ireland - one of my favourite destinations. The downfall was approximately 40hrs of flying with nine flights involved and on return - the best part of week with jetlag!


 

Adriana Luketic, Senior Learning & Development Consultant, EY Adriana Luketic

What item can you not afford to forget when travelling for work?
Besides the obvious such as work phone, laptop and event contracts, I'd be lost without a phone charger! Oh actually, make that dry shampoo! Quite often you're the last person in the plenary as delegates start their free time before a gala dinner and you're still there making sure the ballroom has been converted from a conference space to an amazing dinner venue, which normally leaves you 10-15 minutes to get ready for the dinner yourself. Dry shampoo is a saviour after a long day.
 
What item/s have you forgotten in the past that caused some grief and why?
I once forgot my Google map directions (pre smart phone days) to a football training ground where we were holding a player and manager event experience with Wigan FC. The poor cabbie was struggling with my Australian accent as much as I was with his Northern English accent and we couldn't find the place on his GPS (probably because I didn't know the proper name!). We made it eventually to waiting press, players and kids – ooops…
 
Do you fold or scrunch your undies? 
Fold, all paired up nicely so you don't have to rummage through the drawer at whatever godly hour you're getting up at to start the day before all of your speakers and participants arrive.
 
Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink?
Generally quite light. I work out my outfits in advance, pack a few extra for good luck and freak weather changes and always leave room for the key items you need for the event to happen. For example many of our events rely on personalised program agendas which require delegates to attend different sessions in different areas of the conference space, without these the event would be in complete chaos therefore I never trust a courier with them! It also means I have room to take home any shopping which may have occurred post event.
 
Best packing tip?
In terms of packing for an event, pack a printer! Not in your personal luggage of course, but with all of the boxes you're sending to the venue or have a colleague bring one from the local office. We forever have presenters requesting a new handout for each of the 300 participants as they arrive to present due to a small change, or a VIP that forgot to print their itinerary or changes to the dinner seating plans which have changed whilst you've been in transit.  Relying on the venue to print for you is timely and costly! Just make sure more than one person has access to the printer and configure all settings with your IT team before you head off to avoid any offsite security access issues.
 
Best destination you’ve been to for work? Did you get time to enjoy it?
I was lucky enough to head to Sabah in Borneo last year for a work event. The lead up to the event was exhausting - working across international teams and a venue we'd never contracted with. However the local hospitality of the venue staff on the ground and opportunity to meet so many of my colleagues I'd spent hours exchanging emails with and on conference calls was absolutely brilliant. The slooooow WiFi and humidity weren't so much fun when you're pregnant and rushing around on your feet for a week, but I had my husband join me at the end for a few days of mocktails and orangutan sighting!



 

If you want some more specific suitcase packing/ space saver tips then check out this article from an ex-colleague who has recently started her own event management company in Adelaide. For anyone who travels (either for work or play) there are some very handy tips! Tips for packing a suitcase.

Do you have some great travelling and packing tips to share too - we'd love to hear from you below...

Bon voyage!