Tips for Women Travelers…and some men can use as well!


It’s early January, which can only mean I’m getting ready for a business trip, and it’s one meeting  in which I overpack, every single year.  I mean, every single year.  And my arms suffer for days afterwards.  I am not kidding.  And while I do realize it is Not a fashion show, I tend to pack like it’s one…

every day is a fashion show


travel tips
27 things every woman business traveler should know

Travel Tips for Women… The original article, which I’m reprinting, had some items which I do not agree with, so I deleted them. Some, were raunchy.  I am not raunchy.   Nor is my family-friendly blog.   There are some, that may not be for Me, however may work for others, so I left those in, as I’m trying to be all things to all people.  This blog is lengthy (or Meredith seems to think so), so consider yourself, forewarned! Yet, at the end of the day this blog is called DressedtoaT…and the T is for me. 🙂  My comments are in Italics.  

1. Get a carry-on-sized rolling bag that you can attach another bag to.


This would come in very handy, especially when schlepping your luggage, long distances…like at O’Hare via American Airlines on our monthly flight to CA, our second home,  which is Always at the last gate.  Always.

2. If you need a bag big enough to check, get a lightweight yet sturdy rolling bag.

Most airlines’ heavy baggage fees kick in at 50 pounds, and you don’t want too many of those pounds to be taken up by your suitcase. Try to find a suitcase that weighs around 10 pounds, and remember: Most airlines will refuse altogether to check a bag that is over 70 pounds.  Unless you are flying first class, then you can pack a 70-pounder…but you still have to carry it, so not a good idea.

3. Though in general, you should try to not check a bag. But if you have to, make sure to pack some clothes in your carry-on.

carry on packing
Carry on packing

I suggest a couple pairs of underwear, a T-shirt, and a pair of socks. Other good items to bring in your carry-on: makeup wipes (I prefer the Neutrogena kind) and/or blotting wipes, dry shampoo, a toothbrush, some basic makeup (lip gloss, concealer, and mascara are my go-tos), and a travel-sized tube of toothpaste.

4. If you bring a garment bag on the plane, the flight attendants will usually let you store it in the closet.

Even if you’re in coach. (Just ask nicely.) If I’m going to a fancy event, I like to bring my dress in a garment bag instead of trusting myself to iron it successfully in the hotel, but YMMV on this one.  I have Never done this, nor have I seen anyone pull this off.

5. Put your travel-size stuff in a quart-sized Ziploc bag (even though they might not force you to take it out).

shampoo packing

And bring extras. And don’t bring anything over 3.4 ounces, or you will get busted, and DEFINITELY put your shampoo/conditioner/anything potentially leaky in bags and make sure they are tightly sealed.  I think this idea rocks!

6. If you think your bag is overweight, your best bet is to try to check it curbside.


They are often more sympathetic to pleading, especially with a nice tip included. (You should tip anyway, though.) But be aware: Most airlines will only let you do curbside check-in up to an hour before your flight, so don’t be late.  I love the self-serve check in inside the terminal.  

7. Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane.


But also, don’t over-pack shoes; you probably need fewer pairs than you think. I usually pack (comfortable) heels, flats, running shoes, and a pair of Toms, and I wear ankle boots on the plane.  I like to wear high, flat heeled boots, when I travel in the winter.  I have a pair of fast flat (ballet flats) in my carry on, in case I need to take them off during flight.  I will never be on a flight barefoot, or with socks on…and certainly hope my seat mate has the same good manners. 

8. Get TSA Pre and Global Entry.

Get TSA Pre and Global Entry.

I got TSA Pre and Global Entry a few months ago and they are the BEST THINGS EVER. Anyone can apply for Global Entry (which allows you to skip the huge passport control lines when you come back to the U.S.) and if you’re accepted you also get TSA Pre, which means you don’t have to take off your shoes or take your laptop out of your bag when you go through security, AND you get to go in the special super-fast security line, AND you don’t have to go through the scary scanner where the TSA agents can see you naked.  First of all, the list of people who see me naked, is quite small…But this is motivation to fast for a few days before I fly.  I have tried doing this application, and it’s laborious, and  I got distracted, numerous times, so still have to saunter through without shoes, a jacket or a belt.  

9. You must be loyal to one airline.

If you travel a lot, you probably don’t need me to tell you that you should try to be loyal to one airline, but it bears repeating because it is JUST SO IMPORTANT. Not just because you are more likely to get upgrades if you get “status” on an airline, but because status often also comes with loads of other perks that make frequent travel slightly more bearable. I can’t tell you which airline to choose but I would advise you to think about 1. where you’ll be flying to and from most often, and which airline flies that route nonstop, and 2. where else that airline flies nonstop from your home airport, because you’ll want to use those frequent flier miles to go somewhere fun at SOME point.  I was loyal to American Airlines, and was 1200 miles short from Platinum, and they booted me.  So unfair.  

10. Wear a scarf on the plane.

Wear a scarf on the plane.

It can double as a wrap/blanket if things get chilly (and they usually do).  I feel so strongly about this, I’ve blogged about it.

11. Remove your rings and bracelets when you get on board.

Remove your rings and bracelets when you get on board.

And most important, take that hair elastic off your wrist! Your fingers will swell thanks to cabin pressure, and you don’t want to be wearing anything constricting.  Meredith disagrees with this.  This blog is not called DressedtoaM. 🙂

12. Wear leggings.

Wear leggings.

I feel that if you’re on a long flight (3+ hours) and you don’t have to go straight to a meeting or the office, leggings and a hoodie or long cardigan on the plane is the way to go. There are definitely some ladies who disagree with this — partly because most of the men on business trips are always in suits — but for long flights, I just don’t want to be constricted. I do draw the line, however, at tracksuits. No tracksuits, unless you are Snooki.  Or how about Never a tracksuit, ever!

13. Pack layers and clothes that all coordinate.

Pack layers and clothes that all coordinate.
Packing light
That is, don’t pack six completely different outfits. My profession is relatively casual, so I usually pack a couple pairs of skinny jeans (one blue, one black) and maybe one other pair of pants or a skirt, plus a few silk shirts, camisoles, and a cardigan. But I can wear almost any of the shirts with any of the bottoms, etc. If you have to wear suits, just switch up the shirts/accessories.

14. Get a gel or no-chip manicure before you leave.


That way you don’t have to worry about your nails while you’re away. Gels do kind of ruin your nails, though, so if you travel a ton, switch it up occasionally with nude polish or something light like Essie Ballet Slippers.  Ballet Slippers (or any other light pink color) is the only color I ever wear on my hands (fingernails, actually).  Why?  Worlds worst hands!  And nails that do not grow!

15. Bring an eye mask and earplugs.

Bring an eye mask and earplugs.

You never know how loud or how bright the hotel will be, and particularly if you’re changing time zones it’s really important to get a good night’s sleep.

16. Don’t drink on the plane.

*** I would like the record to reflect, that I really don’t agree with this, even though it can be sound advice.  I know, it’s so tempting (especially if you’re in business class!), but 1. it dehydrates you and 2. you will be groggy when you land. And if you’re drinking to try to fall asleep, just know that drunk sleep is never ever good sleep.

17. Bring your own snacks.

Bring your own snacks.

They’re healthier and cheaper than anything you’ll get at the airport. I prefer fruit, Kind bars, and baby carrots. Also, bring an empty water bottle that you can fill up at a water fountain once you get past security.  I like to travel with almonds, an apple, and a Kind bar.

18. Invest in a lightweight but sturdy mini-umbrella.

Invest in a lightweight but sturdy mini-umbrella.

Weather! It’s unpredictable.

19. Invest in a high-quality travel hair dryer.

Invest in a high-quality travel hair dryer.

*** Another one I do not necessarily agree with, especially since I am in the hotel business.  I do recommend checking out your blow dryer when you arrive, to ensure it works.  It would not be good to find it out at 725AM before your 8AM breakfast meeting.  Make sure to get one that runs on dual voltage so you can bring it abroad. Hotel hair dryers are notoriously inconsistent and there’s nothing worse than having to give a presentation or go to a big meeting with horrible looking hair.

20. Invest in a travel clothes steamer.

Invest in a travel clothes steamer.

But also bring along some travel-sized Downey wrinkle releaser.  Or, you can steam the clothes in the bathroom shower, and leave the travel steamer at home!

21. Invest in good noise-canceling headphones.


They are flight life-changers. I bit the bullet and bought the (expensive) Bose ones and I love them.  I also have these exact ones, and love them as well!  Comes in a lovely little travel case.

22. Tide To Go pen.

Tide To Go pen.

Lifesaver.  Because I tend to spill morning, noon and night, I have to agree…this is totally necessary.  I have it in my carry-on, then pop it in my clutch.

23. Bring a small bag (that closes) for dirty clothes.

Bring a small bag (that closes) for dirty clothes.

My mom got me one that has a drawstring. (Hotels usually have plastic ones in the closet if you forget yours — don’t worry, you don’t have to actually use the super-expensive hotel laundry service.)  We just stayed at the Conrad in downtown Chicago, and their laundry bags, were seriously, top of the line.  I should have taken one, but I didn’t.  I have a cute one, pink of course, since we all like to put our dirty clothes in separate bags.  

24. Know which hotel toiletries you like.

Know which hotel toiletries you like.

And which you don’t. I usually hate hotel shampoo, so I bring my own, but I am almost always fine with hotel body wash.  Unless I’m at a limited service hotel, I love hotel toiletries.  However, if you have more than one person in your room, call housekeeping and have extra amenities brought up to the room.  

25. Give your house a quick cleanup before you leave.

Give your house a quick cleanup before you leave.

There’s no better feeling than coming home to a nice clean house after an exhausting, sometimes lonely business trip. It doesn’t have to be a DEEP clean, but: Wash and put away dishes, take out the trash, make your bed, put away laundry, throw out any food that will go bad (or take it with you), and water your plants. For maximum coziness, wash your sheets right before you leave.

Some Extra Tips

1. Transport wine in your shoes or boots (in luggage, obviously).

2.  Use contact containers for storing cosmetics


3.  Store emergency cash in empty lip balm


4.  To keep your clothes smelling fresh, pop a dryer sheet in your suitcase.

5.  Pack your dirty shoes in a shower cap.


6.  Put your phone in a cup for instant speakers.


7.  How to pack your Jewelry


8.  Pack your delicates in a clear zip lock bag, in case TSA goes through your things.


9.  Use a Tic Tac case to store bobby pins


10.  Use a pot holder, folded in half to transport a hair straightener or curling iron


11.  I love this tip, best of All!!


Essentials for a long flight…or any flight


It’s funny how you can have one of your Worst Days Ever…and one of your Best Days Ever…all in the same week!  Many thanks to Tracy and Leslie, for hours of laughs on Thursday.  Literally, Crying!!  And to top off my Best Day Ever, Meredith and I did a Wine and Canvas painting class, her idea, btw, since she’s artistic, and I’m anything but…Meredith, also knows the TOB motto, making friends and influencing people…It is crazy when you see your children acting just like you!  Love that girl!



Happy and safe travels…and Happy, Happy New Year!  And, as I was mentioning last night, while making friends and influencing people at our painting class, this is the last week I will say Happy New Year…by the 3rd and 4th week in January, I’m tired of it (and probably tired and crabby from doing the 70-Day Biggest Loser Challenge), so I’ll think of different sign-offs…Like Go Bears (oh yeah, we’re not in the play-offs).

Happy New Year! 🙂

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  1. OMG what a blog post. Perfect combination of information and witty banter. Love the travel blowdryer ad, and so much more of this. Whoah, that painting class and time with Meridith is so special and have to say (sorry Mer, this is DressedtoaT, not DressedtoaM) the words you added to yours makes it my favorite. Love and laugh while you’re enjoying your 70 day biggest loser routine. You can do it!!

  2. Terri your blog is fabulous.,,traveling at the end of the month for a business meeting. You have some fantastic the comment from LAP..I do pack vodka(gotta save $$$ when ya can)..and your Listerine idea is awesome!!.

  3. I’ll be traveling to Italy in March 2015. I love your ideas and wittiness! I’m a bit concerned about dressing warm enough yet not overpacking. I’ll be there for 9 days. Can’t wait!!

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