Traveling for business: suitcase and apps edition

Folla alla stazione

I have decided to try and write in English. I know, I know, I am Italian, my readers (hi!) are Italians and yet, English is the language that I use the most, professionally and personally.

I made very few New Year’s resolutions, one of them is writing more.
Will you stick with me? I promise I will write useful content 🙂

A few days ago the Freelancecamp folks started publishing interviews with their attendees, sponsors and speakers. One of the questions is “When you travel for work, what is the one item that you can’t miss?” I had an idea for a post about this for a while, so here I am.

In my suitcase

The suitcase itself

I try to travel as light as possible, I almost never have a checked bag. I have a Samsonite trolley, a very light one, that fits also in low cost airlines head compartment. My model, Short-Lite, is not available anymore, but it’s similar to the Uplite Spinner, in the S size.

Inside the suitcase

I am a firm believer that every suitcase needs loads of small pouches to keep everything in place. I have quite a few:

  • Makeup, I keep it super minimal because I am not big on makeup, I hate removing it so most of the time I avoid using it 🙂 Marc Jacobs foundation, Benefit Hoola and They’re Real!, Sephora blush and Kiko lipstick. I use a Funky Mama pouch, limited edition gold craquelé, a generous present from Justine. I have been taking it with me around the world for the past two years, it also doubles as a clutch at parties 😍.
  • Clean undies and socks, they go in a Muji small garment case.
  • Dirty laundry, they go in a Flying Tiger pouch, a pretty big one, that I move in the pocket out of the suitcase as soon as I start filling it up. Basic hygiene 🙂
  • Then it’s basically Muji all the things: slippers, comb, toiletries bag (not in the ugly Grey portrayed, but a nice blue Navy), bottles
  • I try to keep it fairly simple in the toiletries department. If I am staying in a hotel, I’ll just bring toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, conditioner (it’s incredible the number of hotels that don’t provide conditioner), make up remover, face wash, deodorant, face cream, body cream. If I am staying in an Airbnb I’ll add shower gel and shampoo. I have a vast collection of hotel samples (yes, I take them away if I like them) so most of the time I’ll use those. If I am out of something, I’ll fill a small Muji bottle with the products I am using at home. I keep this simple also because they all need to fit in the dread plastic bag they hand you before Security Checks, so I use really small bottles, basically never more than 50ml. Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering, the UK have the best plastic bags, while some Italian airports will make you pay one euro for horrible ones. Next time you pass through Gatwick, stock up 🙂


The first time I went to WordCamp US I brought a full suitcase with me, with different outfits. I clearly didn’t have a clue about how people dress at tech conferences 😂

I put all the clothes I am planning to take on my bed and then pack only half of them: since I have yet to find myself without clothes in a trip I think it’s a pretty good strategy.

I’ll wear the heaviest clothes while I travel because I always get cold on planes.

Need some guidance and inspiration? Look no further than my friend Andrea’s blog, “The Capsule Suitcase“.

My hand luggage

I am lucky enough to work for a company that has its employees comfiness and happiness at heart, so the event team made two things for us that I love using:

  • SiteGround rucksack. It’s amazing! Sturdy, lots of room, ventilated back. It’s a really great rucksack and I get compliments on it every time I travel around (even on planes from complete strangers!).
  • SiteGround neck pillow. I bought a couple in the past and they were rubbish. The one the event team carefully researched and lovingly ordered for us is great. It’s easy to inflate and deflate and it’s covered in smooth, washable cotton with one of our slogans: “Good Vibes Only“.

Other important items that always travel with me:

  • Mac Book Pro, 13″. I’d love me an Air, but the old Mac Book Pro (not the b*s with the touch bar) is a really good computer.
  • Cable with different plugs: EU, UK, US. I have the World Travel Adapter Kit, hopefully I’ll get to use Japan, China, Corea, Australia, Hong Kong and Brasil as well 🙂
  • Universal Adapter, just in case.
  • iPhone X. I caved and got one after a bit of insistence from my son (it took him approximately 12 minutes to convince me 😇).
  • Life changing noise cancelling Bose earphones. This is a must if you travel a lot. Say goodbye to those petulant kids and chatty ladies sitting across you. Immerse yourself in a serene bubble and never look back.
  • A notebook and a pen. I only use two types of notebooks: Muji’s or the ones kindly provided by my friends over at Digital Update for teachers and attendees. Pens are either Muji’s or a multicoloured Bic (I love using different colours!).
  • A pair of socks and panties, only if I check my bag. You don’t want to be stranded somewhere without clean underwear, right?
  • Drugs pouch: a small selection of drugs to help me with headache, heart burn (that yummy hot chicken might get back to haunt me!), messed up sleep.
  • Business Cards, always. Take them on the plane, you never know where your next deal will come from.
  • Gum or mints.
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, although I barely use it. I try to sleep as much as I can, especially on transatlantic flights.
  • Knitting project. Take your wooden or plastic needles instead of aluminum. I always take my Knit Kit with me.
  • Passport, credit card (I use Apple Pay as much as possible so I don’t have to deal with taking my wallet out, getting receipts, etc…), some cash.

My Apps

I have a bunch of apps on my phone, maybe I’ll write about them on another post, but the ones that I feel are indispensable for traveling are:

  • TripIt. This is what I use to store all my flight information, social events, hotel reservations, etc…
  • Spotify. Magical combo with the Bose earphones.
  • Expensify. To keep track of expensed and get rid of receipts as soon as you have entered them in the app.
  • Lyft in the US, MyTaxi in Europe.
  • Airline apps, I mostly use KLM, British Airways, Ryan Air. It’s much easier to handle travels from apps. I also use Wallet for boarding passes, train tickets, etc…

Packing, seat booking, jet lag

I am gonna write about those stuff in the next post, because now I have to go pack for my next trip 🙂

Safe travels!


  1. Love this list! I always learn a thing or two about my friends by how they pack. I like your gear recommendations…maybe this is the year I get good headphones?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.