Guest Post: How to Travel Internationally in Comfort and Style

Aeroplane, originally uploaded to Flickr by Vox Efx. Hot on the heels of our discussion about where to shop in Asia, today’s guest poster has some advice for how to travel internationally in comfort and style — and to keep your cool as a business traveler. Readers, welcome Courtney Gould Miller, a Los Angeles attorney and founder of the blog Chinaful, focusing on all things China, from law and business to culture, food, and travel. – Kat.  (Pictured: Aeroplane, originally uploaded to Flickr by Vox Efx.)

Before joining a law firm, I spent much of my time traveling Asia and Europe for study and leisure, learning new cultures and having a few mishaps along the way. As I’ve learned since joining the firm, international business travel is very different – you’ve got to be prepared and ready to work, regardless of the setting. Kat keeps us all up-to-date with the latest clothes, supplies, and technology we need as busy professional women, and I’m excited to share with Corporette readers a few of my must-haves to travel internationally for work in comfort and style.

  • For too long, I struggled with heavy luggage with two wheels only to arrive at my destination with wrinkled clothes and spilled toiletries. I’ve converted to hardside luggage with four wheels, and I’m never going back. It’s light, so you can pack more and stay under the fly limit. Best part? You look calm, cool and collected as you roll your luggage easily through the airport and your hotel.   (Pictured: Heys Luggage Reflex 3pc Hardside Luggage Set, $449.50 at Brookstone.)
  • If your firm or client springs for business class, you’ll be set up with nice blankets and an eye mask to help you sleep on the flight. If you’re in coach, you deserve the same – but you’ll need to bring it yourself.  (Pictured: Travel set, (similar).
  • Most passport holders just have space for your passport – don’t buy them. Get a travel wallet like this one to hold your tickets, foreign money, and your IDs. It’s so much easier and then you only have one case to worry about when you’re abroad. I have this one from Lodis that I use only when I’m traveling abroad – it helps me keep my foreign money and IDs separate from my US life. (Pictured: Audrey Passport Wallet with Ticket Flap, $58 at Endless.)
  • The most important tip for international flights is to stay hydrated. You must drink water, and tons of it. It’s easier to do when you’re in first or business class, but you’ve got to do it in coach just the same. When I fly coach to China, I always buy the biggest water bottle I can find in the terminal, and drink it throughout the flight. (Pictured: Move Collective® “Bobble” Water Bottle, 32 oz., $12 at Bloomingdale’s.)
  • I’ve never tried the natural supplement Melatonin myself for jet lag, but I’ve heard it works wonders for putting you to sleep and regulating your body clock. Of course, talk to your doctor before trying this jet lag remedy. I also find working out when I first get in helps me adjust to the new time zone. This is key when you need to be fresh off the plane and into your work. (Pictured: Natrol Melatonin 5mg 90 Fast Dissolve Tablets, $5.99 at Amazon.)
  • I tend to only carry-on for business trips, but international travel can extend several weeks and make packing light impossible. If I’m checking luggage, I like my carry-on to be a bag appropriate to use for work during the trip – as a lawyer, that tends to be a black bag wide enough to fit files, small enough to carry by hand but also with convenient wheels. (Pictured: Mcklein Women’s Rolling Leather Laptop Tote, Glen Ellyn Laptop Friendly Convertible 2-In-1, $438 at Macy’s.)
  • I tend to plan for simple jewelry when I am traveling for business and wear it all on the plane, if possible. If I need to pack it, I put it in a small cosmetic case and keep it in my carry-on for safekeeping.  A girlfriend of mine had all of her jewelry stolen out of her checked baggage by a luggage handler while she was delayed and waiting on the plane. (Pictured: Vera Bradley Medium Cosmetic, $25 at Zappos.)
  • I thought the e-readers were pretty unnecessary – until I got one. I’m able to load my firm e-mail, document management system, and VPN and work on the go – with the minimal monthly cost of cell service, I can be working online on my schedule and not just when I have WiFi. (Pictured: iPad 2,
  • When I’m flying internationally, I always have a tissue pack in my purse.  It’s helpful for sniffles, but more importantly – bathrooms outside of the US don’t always provide toilet paper. I’ve traveled to many a city in China, Turkey and Italy where you need to bring your own, and the most convenient means is a small tissue pack. Depending on your destination, toss one in your carry-on — you may thank me later. (Pictured: Emergency Supplies – Tissue Pack,  $.45 at QuakeKare.)
  • Experiencing the cuisine on international business trips is one of the perks, but the new-to-you foods may soon have you hankering for a piece of home. This is all the more true if you happen to come down with a case of food poisoning and you need to keep working on the matter that brought you abroad. As a result, I pack protein bars – easy to grab on the go, and they keep as long as I need them. Choose something comforting to you (I tend to gravitate toward peanut butter).  (Pictured: Quaker Chewy with Protein Granola Bars, Nutty Peanut Butter, available soon at Amazon.)
  • Dress on the plane for travel and work. I’d recommend against wearing your suit for an international flight – after all, you’ll need to sleep in your clothes. But if you are flying with colleagues, or in case you lose your luggage, you’ll want to look presentable in your flight clothes. I recommend black from head to toe – my travel uniform is black ponte pants or thick leggings, a black v-neck, black or neutral wrap sweater, and black comfortable flats. (Pictured: Maison Scotch Oversize Cashmere Blend Cardigan Sweater Wrap, (similar); Diane Von Furstenburg Stephanie Leggings, $265 at Saks; TOMS Camila Black Leather Ballet Flats, $83.95 at Nordstrom.)


Courtney Gould Miller is a Los Angeles attorney with a practice in Securities Litigation, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and internal investigations. She is the founder of Chinaful, a blog where she shares her experiences and opinions regarding China law and business as well as Chinese culture, food and travel.  



  1. I do leggings and a sweater dress. I find a wedge heel helpful in keeping my feet a bit more elevated.

    • Also, drink your water and take an aspirin (says the girl who spent 2 weeks in the hospital with a dvt)

  2. 1. Dress + black opaque leggings for the flight. It’s still professional, but comfortable enough that you can sleep.

    2. It’s worth spending time in your office thinking about (and preparing) work that you’ll need to do on the flight. Save everything you’ll need to a USB, think about what cases or deposition transcripts you’ll need to read, etc. 20 min in the office sets you up to work effectively for 5-6 hours on the plane.

    3. I’ll second the protein bars thing. Not just because you want food from home – for me, it’s ecause while traveling you might not be able to eat/take a break for a meal when hungry, so good to have snacks to tide you over.

  3. transition :

    Also, anything more than a 3mg dose is known to cause vivid nightmares… certainly not what you want, especially not on a plane.

    • Personally, I found melatonin to be ineffective against jetlag because it helped me fall asleep, but it didn’t actually keep me asleep. Going to sleep never seems to be the problem when suffering from jetlag but sleeping through the night (when you’re going west) or sleeping through the afternoon and the night (when you are going east) seem to be the culprit. My best advice for jetlag is to try to get a nap in on the plane, even if you are someone who has a hard time falling asleep. Just try for an hour or two and don’t berate yourself when it doesn’t work. Dozing, closing your eyes and clearing your mind with some relaxing music can be just as restful. Then when you’ve arrived at your destination try to stick to the regular day schedule there as much as you can even if that means upon getting there staying awake for another 6 hours when you’ve already been awake for more than 24.

    • OMG, that IS a thing!?!? I kept trying melatonin, cuz my friends recommended it, but felt like everytime i took it i had crazy nightmares… but I totally thought it was just me!

      • Nope, me too. Not so much nightmares, but just really weird surreal dreams that it was hard to wake up from.

      • I would always have ex-boyfriend flashback dreams. Shuddddder.

    • I think I heard on Dr. Oz that the most Melatonin you need is 1 mg. I know Whole Foods or other health food stores sell them as sub-lingual tablets. I use them when I know I have to be up in the morning- works like a charm and zero side effects for me. When I was in college I took a way larger dose and had really vivid dreams.

      • Anonymous :

        As a doctor reading this blog who routinely takes melatonin to help transition between days and nights here’s my two cents… 3 mg tabs. We give kids up to 5mg and it’s been shown to be very safe

  4. hellskitchen :

    Moisturizer! Esp for international flights, my skin gets parched no matter how much water I drink. I carry a heavy duty night moisturizer and use it frequently. I also carry powder or cream moisturizing and calming masks with me to apply in the hotel the first chance I get.

  5. When going on a long-haul flight (7 + hours), I try to set my body in “bedtime” mode before getting on the plane, which basically means doing as much of my normal bedtime routine as possible right before boarding, including brushing teeth, washing my face, putting on moisturizer, etc. That increases my chances of being able to sleep well for at least part of the trip so I can jump right into the local time zone immediately on arrival.

    • lawsuited :

      GREAT idea. I would never have thought of this!

    • I do that, too. I also try to change into a “pyjama” of sorts in the bathroom. Meaning: take off the blazer and shoes, put on a pair of warm socks, pin my hair out of the way and keep on only comfortable items (my go-to is leggings and an oversized long v-neck or a soft dress).

  6. I own those Toms and they are the most uncomfortable shoes I own. More uncomfortable than any of my towering heels. Wear black flats, yes. Those Toms? NO!

  7. I would add face wipes (my faves are Say Yes to Cucumbers), eyedrops, and nasal spray. Nasal spray is especially important for keeping your sinuses moisturized and helping to prevent you from catching a cold or other germs on the plane.

    Also, if you take liquid or aerosol medication, this does NOT count toward your one-quart-baggy limit. You should still take it out so the TSA agents can see that it’s medication, but the limit applies to non-medical liquids/gels/aerosols only.

    Also, for those considering wearing a dress on the plane, on my two of my last three flights I wore a skirt and I was groped by the TSA despite having gone through the body scanner. (Actually, the second time there was no female TSA agent, and the male agent asked me to, like, move my legs in certain ways while he watched intently. I found it really creepy.) Apparently they’re concerned you could have something hidden between your legs, or something like that, that the body scanner wouldn’t pick up on. On the third flight I changed to yoga pants and did not get patted down. These were domestic flights and I almost never fly domestically, so maybe this is the norm or it’s something unique to domestic flights, I don’t know.

    • I was told by my regional airport TSA person that if you’re wearing a dress they have to do the pat downs if they do not have the full body scanners and at the larger airport’s it’s not an issue. But maybe they were just being extra careful in your case? Not sure.

    • I’ve flown a couple of times now wearing a long black maxi skirt and t-shirt, and I haven’t had a problem with security yet. I have to say, it’s my new favorite traveling outfit. I also bring along a sarong to use as a blanket and fleece socks to wear on the flight. People who sti by me are often jealous when I slip off my sandals and put on my socks right after boarding. Soooo comfy.

    • I haven’t had this problem wearing a skirt or dress. I got a pat down while wearing a knee-length khaki skirt when I had opted out of the scanner, and I think it was much less invasive than the pat down my husband, who was wearing shorts, experienced. When I’ve agreed to do the scanner, I have been able to walk through, regardless of what I’m wearing.

      Also, Bluejay, I thought you were entitled to a female TSA agent. How did that happen? Sounds like a terrible experience and not what is supposed to happen.

      • I think you’re entitled to a female agent for a patdown, but there wasn’t one around and so they did the check-out-my-legs thing as an alternative. Otherwise I may have had to wait a while for a female agent. I actually offered to just lift the dress up to my knees and he said he wasn’t allowed to have me do that.

        • And to clarify – I don’t think this guy was doing anything outside of TSA policy. He was not creepy about it at all and I did not get a vibe that he was actually checking out my legs. It was just… odd.

    • This seems really wrong to me. I wear a dress when flying, both in airports with and without full body scanners, and have never encountered this. Even if they did need to do a secondary screening, it isn’t a visual look at you moving your legs. The screenings are done with the hands and you would have been well within your rights to request a female screener.

      • I have experienced this. Every time I go through the body scanner (I wear skirts exclusively), I have been patted down also.

        It hasn’t just been a once or twice thing, it’s consistent. I didn’t have the same problem in Europe when flying there, so it’s possible that it’s a domestic thing.

        • Sorry this was in response to Bluejay’s original post!

        • Yeah, I was thinking this might be a domestic thing. I normally wear black yoga pants on the plane and am probably going to stick with that in the future. But weird that so many others have not had this experience.

        • karenpadi :

          This is good to know. I usually fly in maxi dresses and always opt-out of the scanner. (The TSA female officers at my “home” terminal recognize me now. The SJC TSA is really professional–they deserve big kudos.)

          The last time I was flying home, the TSA agent at a less-well-run airport was all trying to talk me into the scanner by repeating what I consider to be conspiracy-lies. Now I have yet another reason to avoid the scanner: they will just pat me down anyway!

          • I was flying home from JFK and there was an older gentleman in front of me who opted out of the scanner. That resulted in the TSA agent clucking like a chicken at him trying (I guess) to shame him into it. It was ridiculous.

          • Ugh. They’re not allowed to try to talk you into the scanner!

        • Lady Harriet :

          Yeah, maxi skirts used to be my go-to travel uniform (comfy, good for hot or cold environments, saves space in the bag) until I started getting patted down. Now I (unfortunately) wear pants every time I travel.

      • I almost always fly in leggings and some sort of dress or long tunic- and I and back and forth to Europe about 2-3 times a month. Never have a problem. However I fly business and first class. I have found that flying domestically in coach I get patted down a lot more often – no matter what I’m wearing.

        I also totally second the idea of the “nightime routine.” I many times will wear jeans or regular clothes onto to plane and then chnage into my leggings or yoga pants to sleep, as well as then brush my teeth, wash my face and take of my contacts on the plane. I then reset my watch to the new time zone and go to sleep. I find it helps so much. Also, eye masks and noise canceling headphones are a must.

      • Every airport I’m using lately has the full body scanner. Something always shows up on the back of my left leg, just above the knee. (I have not had any surgery, pins, etc there. I honestly think it’s my Spanx!)

        So I have to have that area patted every time, but I don’t find it invasive. I always wear a skirt or dress when traveling.

  8. Thanks everyone for the comments – I am taking notes on these tips! Definitely need to get my hands on a calming mask….

  9. – Melatonin gives me horrible nightmares, so I would recommend trying it out at home first. Don’t try any supplements the first time while on a business trip. Trust me on this one.

    What has worked well for me instead is FlyRight’s Jet Lag Formula. It is a supplement to help minimize jet lag without the Melatonin issues (at least for me).

    – I bring cleansing face wipes and a small travel deodorant on the plane. On very long haul flights, or trips with multiple legs (I’ve been in transit over 26 hours before), I’ve had times where I’ve felt just icky. Some nice cleansing wipes can help with cleaning your face before sleep, but can also double to wipe down a few key spots on your body so you feel fresher in transit and/or on arrival. A touch up of deodorant can also help here. My favorites right now are the Yes to Cucumbers brand. They smell nice and feel very cooling.

    – Second for the moisturizer as well. I bring a heavy cream (CeraVe which is nice and thick, and is also unscented so it does not bother other passengers).

    – For snacks I’ll also bring little packs of peanut or almond butter (Justin’s has nice flavors and is natural). That way I can get a burst of protein, or dress up a few plain crackers in a food emergency.

    • Anonforthis :

      feeling icky on flights–I always bring a change of underwear for long flights. And I agree with the face/baby wipes.

    • I’ve used No Jet Lag, a homeopathic remedy, when commuting to/from Europe: . I’m not usually a huge believer in homeopathy, but these really seem to work, along with lots of water.

  10. Totally off topic, but this is on my mind, I have a minute, and I think that it could potentially be helpful for the right person.

    I’m a junior partner in a large law firm, on hiring committee, and this time of year I wind up doing a lot of interviewing and sitting through a lot of meetings. If I sound cranky… well, I guess I sort of am. But here’s what I want you to know:

    1) After I interview someone, I first have to fill out a form that has open-ended questions about things like whether the candidate is intellectually capable, hard-working, and a problem solver. The topic and format of these obviously would vary from firm to firm, but I’m betting that this isn’t unusual, and that those topics come up a lot across firms. Then, sometime over the next week, I have to go into a meeting where I first read everyone else’s forms about the candidates, and then debate the merits of the various candidates prior to a voting process that essentially ranks the candidates so that we can sort them into buckets. (Offer, maybe, and no offer).

    Here’s what I want you to know: if, during the course of your interview, you give me examples or tell me stories from which I can extract anecdotes, you make it way, way easier for me to advocate for you. Obviously, I have to like you and think that you’re a good candidate in order to have me be your advocate, but if you have these types of examples and anecdotes, you can help me decide that you’re a good candidate. And if I do like you, there’s nothing more frustrating that trying to fill out the form or make an argument on your behalf and having absolutely no idea what to say or how to back up the “no really, she’s great” feeling. Of course, you could view it as my job to connect the dots or extract this information from you, but you know… some days I’m really busy. The forms are a hassle. If you can gift wrap a few arguments for me, you’ve just given yourself a significant edge.

    If I were trying to prep someone to do really well in interviews at my firm, I would tell them to have several stories or anecdotes that neatly demonstrate hard work and/or problem solving. You don’t have to actually say (and probably shouldn’t) “this demonstrates that I’m a problem solver,” but make it sufficiently obvious that when I go write up my review I don’t have to dig too deep to figure out how to make the case for you. I had a guy the other day tell me a story about how he got funding for his college organization of choice, and that was great — I used it in the review and at the meeting as evidence of his ability to bring people together, solve problems, and recognize resources available to him. Someone today used experience in the restraurant industry to build a case for learning to work hard. Bingo: there’s my answer.

    It doesn’t matter what it is that you want to talk to me about — I’ll talk about ballet dancing, craft beer brewing, hobby car racing, whatever you’re into. Just package it up in such a way that I can use it to draw the conclusion that you’re smart, or driven, or an effective leader. Go ahead and even draw the conclusion for me. I’m totally happy to have you put a bow on it. Because there’s nothing worse than staring at that form and trying to figure out how to sell someone who seems great, but I can’t translate into “smart, leader, client-focused, hard-working, problem solver.” Sure, that’s my failing, not necessarily yours, but make it easy for me.

    And then, the low hanging fruit. I apologize if this part is a little more ranty:

    2) I’m a transactional lawyer, in a fairly specialized area. It would be nice if you knew that in advance. Even if you don’t, or you knew it and then you forgot, I hate it when you ask questions or make statements that make it obvious that you think that my job involves depositions and/or going to court. If you have no idea what I do, that’s fine: ask me broad questions about my practice and go from there. But if your question for me relates to real-world courtroom experience, my answer is going to involve showing up at traffic court because I really did stop fully at that stop sign and I’m still mad about it.

    3) I’m in my mid-thirties, and look younger than that. I’m friendly, and people tell me that I’m easy to talk to. This does not mean, however, that I’m necessarily your friend. That sounds more unkind than I mean it to be, but seriously: keep in the back of your mind that I’m going to fill out an evaluation on you after you walk out the door, and then walk into a meeting where I talk about you behind your back. If you’re totally overwhelmed by law review and you passionately hate cite checks, you maybe shouldn’t tell me that. I get it. I even sympathize. But it’s not a great fact to have floating around my mind when I start writing a review. If you’re really conflicted about whether you can balance law firm life and family, I would be a great person to talk with about that in another setting — but not in an interview. If you feel the need to put on your game face for interviews, I think that’s great, but again: you probably shouldn’t verbalize it to me. (Really. Particularly at the very beginning of the interview.)

    Good luck. Go forth and interview well.

    • anon for now :

      (1) goes in the: shit I wish partners told me before asking me to interview OCI candidates file.

    • Regarding 1 – the interviewer can ask a behavioral question that makes it easy for the interviewee to cite examples of the behavior, e.g. problem-solving, conflict resolution, time management and the like.
      My experience on the hiring side, though not in law, has made me a big proponent of behavioral interviews.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      Thank you so much for this. As a student going through the callback process, it’s invaluable to hear what the people on the other side are thinking.

    • This is all great advice. As for #3, are you sure you don’t want to be a litigator? If people coming into interviews are telling you their woes, think what you could do to the other side’s witnesses!

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed, so helpful!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Thank you for this!

    • TX lawyer :

      I totally agree with everything you have said. I would just add that, while it is important to keep in mind that you’re in an interview, don’t be afraid to show some personality. So many candidates come across as boring, or even worse, bored. If you’re a little quirky or have personality, I’m more likely to remember you and advocate for you.

      Also, ALWAYS SEND A FOLLOW-UP THANK YOU OR E-MAIL! If I don’t get one, I assume you aren’t as interested as other candidates.

      Finally, a question: my firm seems to have much better luck with female candidates. For whatever reason, the guys just don’t seem as engaged during the interview process. Has anyone else found this?

    • karenpadi :

      Especially #3. In lateral interviews, I expect a little b*tch-and-moan about the profession and billing hourly or budgets or problem examiners when responding to questions like “how do you avoid issue x?”. It builds a sense of camaraderie that connects and show that the lateral knows the ropes, has reasonable expectations, etc.

      In a law student, no complaining. We all went through law school, we all knows it s*cks. But a clerk is starting from nothing and really, only has her attitude to distinguish her from dozens of other students interviewing for the same entry-level position. I want to see that person’s best attitude, best motivated self. Because that the only currency the law student has to trade. If the law student outs herself as a complainer, I figure she’s a complainer. I don’t want to have to train a complainer.

  11. Great tips. WRT to leggings, make sure you try them on and that they are comfortable around the waist and legs. I have a pair of Spanx footless leggings which are the devil. The are the right size, but of course are ridiculously tight, especially around the abdomen. I know that’s what Spanx are designed to do, but I stupidly thought they would be comfortable.

  12. Does anybody have a recommendation for nice ponte knit pants? They can be skinny, but I don’t want leggings.

    • Check Ann Taylor. The pants I have from there are skinny cropped, but I was looking on their website, and they look like they have a couple longer styles as well.

      • Anne Shirley :

        I have the ankle and full length versions and love them. Super comfy for travel, look nice, do not look at all like leggings. I’m size 12 and these are super flattering

    • Oh, second this request. I liked the old J.Crew Pixies, as the leg seams tipped them closer to pants than leggings, but the new ones are definitely leggings.

    • My absolute favorites are Vince ponte pants –

      I wear them weekly. They are amazing and worth the investment.

    • Michael Kors.{keyword}&mr:referralID=NA&mr:trackingCode=C9ACC034-3E6B-DF11-9DA0-002219319097&origin=pla

      Most flattering pants I own and more comfortable than PJs. I have read some reviews saying they pill, however, so I have only washed once, on delicate and air dried as of yet. Zappos also carries sometimes.

    • Anonnymizz :

      Lands End

    • These are pretty thick ponte and they’re really comfortable:

  13. Yes, to the face wipes and hand wipes!

    I’d also add:
    — emergen-c (it helps me adjust somehow + it ensures I drink more water; )
    — chamomile/green/whatever’s your favorite tea bags (very good for helping me relax, maybe go to sleep, plus airplane coffee is just awful)
    — slipper socks so you can take off your shoes (I have a woven wool pair from Turkmenistan that I love – so warm and cozy; etsy has some cute variations) or travel slippers; either way no one wants to see your bare feet and I hate wearing shoes for that long
    — earplugs and a good pair of headphones
    — travel size unscented moisturizer to counter plane dryness and a small spray bottle of facial water (I like Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray, if you can find it in a travel size, or eau thermale avene thermal spring water) — this is the only thing I’ve found that makes me look relatively rested after the plane
    — a clear bottle of nail polish because a) you never know when it will come in handy and b) for some reason my polish always becomes un-shiny after the plane.

    • I LOVE the teabag idea.

    • Teabags are also great for calming down puffy eyes. Wet them with cool water and apply for 5-10 minutes. I always have some for this reason alone. Plain old Lipton will do.

    • I drink decaf green tea constantly and always carry bags in my purse (and extras in my suitcase when I travel). But after reading about what grows in the water tanks on airplanes, I can’t drink their water, hot or cold, or eat their ice cubes. Bottled water all the way while flying.

    • Add hand sanitizer to the checklist.

  14. The starfish line from Land’s End makes for fantastic “travel wear” as I like to call it. More than yoga clothes, but still incredibly comfortable and can look great after a 12 hour flight.

  15. Blonde Lawyer :

    Another tip –

    If you are traveling w/ business people, plan ahead to anticipate security issues. I am almost always told in my local airport to take off any layers. When traveling for pleasure, this involves removing a hoodie or sweater. For business it would be removing my blazer. Have something professional on underneath.

    Remember you are going through barefoot. I don’t really care if the partner sees bright purple toe polish but other people might be embarrassed for their boss to see their chipped pedicure.

    Know the procedures. Have a laptop bag that can go through the machine or have your laptop out and in the bin, separate already. Don’t have security tell you the rules again.

    If you are flying with embarrassing medicine or have medical devices, call ahead about scheduling a private screening. I haven’t done this personally but I know someone who did. I believe when you show up you can say “I have a medical condition and would like me and my belongings screened privately.” If you call ahead, your wait time for this will be shorter.

    Make sure you don’t have an embarrassing liquid hidden in your bag you forgot about. I once had some feminine cream in a hidden pocket of my purse from months earlier that I had totally forgot about. Security found it, called me back, but the TSA agent was so polite. As soon as he realized what it was, he tossed it back in my purse and discretely said to me “you forgot to put something in your baggy. It is back in your purse. You are okay to pass through.” I had no idea what it was and when I looked I was horrified and thankful for his polite discretion. I could just see the wrong agent waiving it in the air saying “who forgot their yeast infection cream?”

    If you have a medical condition or need special meals call ahead and arrange them. If you need extra time, tell your travel partner so they can factor it in. My boss totally understands I need extra bathroom breaks and we allow extra time for those. He would only be mad if I didn’t tell him and we wound up late.

    • This reminds me of the time that I bought this new, big bottle of anti-cellulite cream. The TSA agent looked about 18, pulled it out and was like “huh, what IS this?” while looking at the helpful illustrations of women rubbing it in a circular motion on their behinds. Sigh.

  16. I never fly without compression socks. I bought them for post-running to help with shinsplints but now they are a traveling staple.

    Even the cheap drugstore kind will make you feel 200% better after a flight but if you are willing to spend more, Linsocks dot com also makes a good sport compression. Plus, who doesn’t look hot in knee-length black or white athletic socks?

    • What do they do for you?

      • They improve circulation. Flying at high altitudes reduces circulation, which can cause discomfort and some serious medical problems. However, if you don’t already have problems with circulation, just making sure you get up and walk around every couple of hours will be sufficient to prevent problems.

  17. anon in SF :

    My advice if you are traveling on a really long flight with a lay-over: bring a change of clothes in your carry on (for me, I bring a fresh shirt and undergarments, and wear the same pants). Its worth the expense to go to one of the pay-in lounges and take a quick shower and change (if you are flying business most airlines have lounges with showers). It is surprisingly refreshing, and helps make the second leg of the trip bearable.

    I recently flew from the west coast to South Africa via London (12 hours each leg), and showering and changing in between is the only thing that kept me from melting down on the long flights.

    Check the perks of your credit cards, some give you free access to certain lounges.

  18. I just got back from Ireland and Switzerland so I’m loving this post.
    My suggestion on the topic of traveling with jewelry, carry it in your handbag rather than wearing it. It takes so much time to remove it when you are going through security and it can safely go through the x-ray in your handbag.
    Also, NEVER pack jewelry in your checked baggage.

  19. Ever since I lost my wallet abroad I always keep my ID separate from my passport when I travel, so if one is lost or stolen I still have the other to prove who I am. Copies of tickets and hotel booking info and an emergency stash of cash is also hidden away somewhere less accessible.

  20. Sydney Bristow :

    Mine aren’t specific to business travel, or even long flights, but these are things I’ve experienced lately.

    Please don’t complain continuously while in the security line. Yes you need to take your shoes off. Yes the line is long. Yes you have to remove your coat. This is the way that it is now. We would all like it to be a faster, less intrusive process that keeps everyone safe. But for now, it is like this and listening to someone complain the entire length of the line is far more annoying to me than the typical hassles of the security line itself. I typically take off my belt and jewelry while in line and put it in my purse. I also try to take out my laptop if I have a free hand so that I’m ready to go. I don’t travel for business, but flip flops make it easy to take your shoes off. Slip on shoes would be similar and more professional.

    Be aware of the limits for carry on baggage. Both the size and number of pieces you are allowed. I’ve been behind someone multiple times while trying to board when the flight attendant stopped them to consolidate their bags before boarding. It often holds up everyone behind you and when it’s consolidated it is easier for more people to fit their carry on luggage in the overhead bins. My interview/laptop bag makes a great carry on because it fits under the seat, holds a lot of stuff, and has lots of pockets for organization. Since I typically check my bag (although I wouldn’t if I would be the only person on a business trip with colleagues doing so), this allows me to avoid the overhead bin space issue. Granted, I have short legs so it doesn’t interfere with my ability to stretch my legs out.

    • I hate the obvious complainers! Not related to international travel, but I really cannot stand I am sitting on an overheated Metro car, and someone walks on and starts cursing about the heat. Really? The a/c is broken? I hadn’t noticed.

  21. I rarely have problems with jetlag. I sleep on the plane as much as possible. Going East, I take a short (half hour or so) nap and then try to spend part of the afternoon outside. Going West, I stay up late and find I can sleep until morning. Most of my travel has been between EST and Europe.

    Socks are absolutely necessary for long flights. The softer the better.

    I love the look of those ponte pants at Nordy’s, but they are polyester. Does anybody have any favorite cotton ponte pants? (Yes, I know I’m being a priss)

  22. I loooooove the Maison Scotch Oversize Cashmere Blend Cardigan Sweater Wrap, but unfortunately, it is sold out at Piperlime. Is there another way I can purchase this ultra-comfy-looking sweater??

  23. I also highly recommend investing in the Bose noise canceling head phones.

  24. Pack carry-on luggage only if you can, otherwise have a spare change of clothes and your chargers in your carry-on.

    Eye drops, hand cream, heavy duty moisturizer, chewing gum or mints and noise canceling headphones. Take your make up off when you get on the plane and reapply just before landing.

    Absolutely agree about tissues. I also take antibacterial hand wipes and a small medicine & sewing kit.

    Program phone numbers and addresses into your phone and have a spare printed copy in case your phone runs out of juice and your plane is delayed and you need to ring ahead.

    Get to the airport early so you can check in ahead of your boss/colleagues and request not to sit next to them so they don’t see you/you don’t see them drooling in pjs.

    At the hotel, if there isn’t an iron in your room and you need one, contact reception straight away. I’ve stayed at big hotels that only have 4 irons and all the hotel guests are going to the same function and all want to press their clothes at the same time.

    I pack all black clothes and shoes and add colourful scarves. I take old undies and ditch them along the way, not keen on carting dirty one around.

    Take a moment to look out the window once and a while!

    Everyone has had great tips, I’ve enjoyed reading them.

  25. Actually, if I need a suit for a trip, I wear the jacket to the airport and get the stewardess to hang it up when I get on board. All biz class will do this and most Asian airlines will for economy as well. It lightens up carry-on luggage a lot if you can skip the padded hanger, plastic cover etc which a jacket usually needs to emerge nicely fr packing.

    Also, I always pack a change of clothing in my carry-on if I’m checking the rest of my stuff. There is always the possibility of bad luck with checked bags going missing, and a change of clothing allows me to carry on for a day until the bags turn up.

    If it is necessary to pack a second jacket, I like Issey Miyake jackets in the company’s signature pleated polyester. These look elegant and a bit edgy but are actually as comfy as cardigans, read as formal businesswear when paired with trousers from the first suit, are undamaged by being rolled up tight for packing and require minimal care (handwash and dry flat). They seem to be available every season in black and navy, and I imagine the sizing works for many body shapes since the pleats are stretchy. Good places to find them in Asia are the main store in Aoyama in Tokyo and the Singapore outlet at the Hilton hotel. Expect to pay similar to Kat’s more expensive picks but they do last for ages.

  26. Thanks for the tips Courtney! As someone who often travels to and from China for work (in economy, unfortunately), I would recommend getting a window seat and switching the Melatonin out for an Ambien. Works like a charm.

    I have always used Eagle Creek soft luggage but may have to give hard luggage a try. I do hate how wrinkled my clothes are when I arrive. Nothing worse than having to iron your clothes first thing upon arrival after a 14 hour flight.

  27. This post is right up my alley because I travel a lot! I love leggings, ballet flats and a large scarf that acts as a small blanket. Also, I cannot go without my iPad. Great post, Courtney!

  28. What a great article! I travel all the time for work and play and I just found this to be a really great post! I am desperately trying to improve my packing skills so this was useful!