On every trip, whether it’s for business or holiday, I am faced with the same question. Should I live out of a suitcase? After 9 consecutive years on the road (and almost 2,000 nights in hotels), I have basically concluded that for a short, 2-3 day business trip I will live out of my suitcase. If I have a business suit or something special that needs to hang, then I might only hang that one piece up. For longer trips, it’s a different story. Since the end of 2011, my shortest business trip has been 15 nights. So that begs the question, to unpack or not to unpack?
On a 15 or longer night trip, there could be several scenarios.
- One city, one hotel – this scenario lends itself nicely to unpacking. As long as there is plenty space and its clean!
- One city, multiple hotels – in the scenario, I may switch hotels due to availability, cost or location. I may also switch hotels to try new hotels or to take advantage of specific promotions being run. For example, while in Bangkok recently I stayed at 4 different hotels in a 3 week period. In this case, I used one hotel as my base and only took a weekend bag with me to the other hotels. I checked my large suitcase with the base hotel over the weekends. It worked out nicely, but did mean I had to repack several times.
- Multiple cities, multiple hotels – this is the most challenging scenario, especially on a long trip, as it requires a lot of packing and unpacking. I tend to only unpack work-wear and let my casual clothes, shoes and toiletries live in the suitcase.
What’s the right balance? How do you handle your packing and unpacking while traveling?