Creating a Business Travel Go Bag

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With college back in session, busy season for Operation Beautiful events is officially in full swing!


I travel around the country giving motivational presentations to middle and high schools, colleges, church groups, and businesses about Operation Beautiful.  I’ve got eight events on the calendar for the next three months, so I’ll be doing a lot of traveling!


Hello, airplanes and hotels and rental cars.  I missed you over the summer!


I love to do presentations but I do find the whole traveling process to be a bit stressful.  The worst part is packing and unpacking.  I always feel like I’m forgetting something and it takes at least an hour.  Considering that I have several back-to-back events this season, this simply won’t work.  So, I asked on Facebook what other people put in their Business Travel Go Bag.


A quick trip to Target later, I had everything I need for stress-free business travel!


Plastic bag #1 contains all of my non-liquid toiletries and other miscellaneous items, such as:






Hair fubbies + bobby pins

Contact case + extra contacts


Clif bar and gum

Lint roller







Plastic bag #2 contains all my liquid items (under 3 ounces), including:


Shampoo and conditioner

Body wash

Face wash


Contact solution


Antibacterial gel

Hair spray


Normally, I try to use all-natural beauty products.  I used little plastic bottles so I can bring my normal shampoo and conditioner, but it was just easier to buy travel sizes of other conventional products to use in my go bag.


I also bought extras of my basic makeup items so I don’t have to worry about transferring stuff out of my make-up bag every time.


And last, but not least, I made a list of all the other stuff I need to pack at the last minute, like clothes and my cell phone charger.  I plan to stash this list in the front pocket of my suitcase so I can just check it every time I need to pack.


There you have it – stress-free (okay, reduced stress) business travel.  All because of an awesome Go Bag!


What are your travel tips?  Here’s how I eat healthy in an airport.



  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 28, 2011, 8:03 am

    You forgot socks for the sock bun!! 🙂
    I don’t travel nearly as much as you, but I think a good piece of luggage is key. Wheels make things so much easier!

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:08 am

      Sock is usually already in my hair 🙂

  • Sarah @ w30 September 28, 2011, 8:03 am

    Awesome! I keep toiletries and other essentials packed, too. It makes it so much easier.

    My other travel must-haves… face mask and wax ear plugs. If I can block out the light and sound, I can sleep anywhere! 😉

  • katie @ KatieDid September 28, 2011, 8:06 am

    That’s a really awesome idea, I never thought of doing such a thing. Although I don’t travel much these days, its something I’ll keep in mind if my job or life ever leads me to traveling the globe (which I think I would love!).
    I always bring a reusable water bottle… no way I’m paying $4 every time I need water!
    And I try to wear some of the bulkier clothing and shoes (weather permitting) that I had planned to pack, so I have more room in my bags for…. more clothes and shoes ha.

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:08 am

      Oh yes – water bottle! Good one.

  • Alexa @ SimpleEats September 28, 2011, 8:09 am

    I always have snacks on hand! And I always pack layers…who knows when it will be cold or warm wherever you are!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) September 28, 2011, 8:11 am

    Just buy extra chargers and keep them in your suitcase; that way, you never forget them. I also have a set of workout clothes and swim gear that are dedicated to travel that stay in my suitcase. Because I will always swim.

    And because I am always traveling for work. I often forget what the inside of my place looks like.

    • Christine @ BookishlyB September 28, 2011, 10:15 am

      The charger thing is a really good idea. I don’t normally forget them, but I’m always worried that I did (and am sitting in the airport going through my bags to double check).

    • Angela September 28, 2011, 11:13 am

      If you do forget a charger, you can always ask to see the super secret box of chargers that nearly every hotel has. (left behind by other guests)

      • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:31 pm

        I love that box.

  • Suzanne September 28, 2011, 8:12 am

    I have a reusable water bottle with a filter on it that I always bring on airplanes with me. I fill it up when I get past security so I don’t have to trade my first born for a bottle of water. I also pack a seperate bag that I keep tucked under the seat in front of me on planes with gum (for ear popping), nausea meds, eye drops, earplugs, eye mask, and entertainment stuff (magazines, books, iPod). You never know what you’ll start feeling on a long flight, so it helps to be prepared for the worst.

  • Rachel September 28, 2011, 8:16 am

    Hey! That’s awesome! I’m curious about the razor though… will they allow that as a carry on since it’s ‘sharp’??

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:18 am

      Box cutters, utility knives, and safety razor blades are no-nos, but disposable razors and their cartridges are permitted.

      • Rachel September 28, 2011, 12:55 pm

        Whoa I had no idea! So glad I know now because I’ll SURELY be bringing disposable next time 🙂

  • Hillary September 28, 2011, 8:18 am

    I love the idea of keeping a permanent list of things you need on every trip (chargers, etc). I always make a NEW list every time I travel, which seems like a waste of time in and of itself!

    I always have my toiletry bag stocked and ready to go. After each trip, I take about 2-3 minutes to make sure my travel-size containers are restocked (I just refill them with product from my larger, every day containers). That way, I know that when I need to travel again, I can just grab the bag and go!

  • tina September 28, 2011, 8:19 am

    The having a second set of make-up is ESSENTIAL for those who travel a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I had to run out to the store while traveling because I forgot my mascara.

    I’m a fan of lists. I typically start a packing list a week in advance and edit it throughout the week.

  • Carolina John September 28, 2011, 8:35 am

    as much as I love travel I don’t do it often enough to have any good regular tips. Wish I had some!

  • Sara, Food Blogger on a Diet / Ms. Adventures in Italy September 28, 2011, 8:36 am

    I have a complete duplicate set of toiletries already packed in a bag (including toothbrush/toothpaste and comb!) so I can just grab that while packing. I refill any containers when I come back from the trip so I know they’re all filled up.

    I also pack food while I travel because it helps me stick to good eating (I wrote about that here:

    I also use an iPhone app called “Simply Pack+” (there’s a free version, the + version I have is $0.99) which has a master list you can set up with the essentials and use it as a base list and add any specifics for that trip. I then use it as a quick checklist!

  • Kris September 28, 2011, 8:42 am

    Love the list. I keep a list of what’s at my Mom’s house since I’m there frequently in my suitcase. It’s the first thing I see when I open my suitcase to pack. I’d buy an extra charger for the suitcase; better than forgetting. I also make sure I carry a big scarf/shawl to use as a blanket, pillow, whatever. Lots of cute ones on eBay. And a really cushy pair of socks for the plane or hote or sleeping (if you have cold feet). My snacks are almonds, apple (or dried apple slices), individual packets of PB, rice cakes. And a reusable water bottle from Walgreens that has a clip on it. I clip it to the outside of my purse, then fill from a water fountain once I’m past security. Happy travels!

  • Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl September 28, 2011, 8:43 am

    Ever since I moved to Amsterdam I’ve travelled more than I have in my entire life… the easy and affordability of travel makes it doable for my partner and I.

    I suggest investing in a quality piece of luggage (it makes all the difference being tossed around in airplanes/cars/bag carousels/etc) and also HAND SANITIZER!! Blegh, so many germs out there.

    Happy Travels!

  • Kath September 28, 2011, 8:49 am

    Love this!!! Yay for organization. I did this too with my gym shower sessions all summer.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife September 28, 2011, 8:58 am

    Okay this is an AMAZING idea. If I traveled tons too, I would totally use this idea. Maybe if that ever happens I will! ROck on:)

  • Ali @ Ali Runs September 28, 2011, 9:00 am

    Hope you were stopped when you took that picture in the car!

    I love the idea of organizing different baggies that you can always leave in your suitcase. It sounds like you’ll be way less stressed when it comes to going on trips now.

  • CJ @ September 28, 2011, 9:07 am

    what a great post! When we travel I always have a bag of emergency snacks, advil, q tips, etc. i actually bought reusable 3 oz bottles to keep refilling with shampoo, conditioner, etc. since i feel its so darn expensive to buy mini sizes of everything any time we travel!

    • Jamie @ Food in Real Life September 28, 2011, 10:12 am

      I agree with the 3 ounce bottle idea! I use those too and it saves a lot of money because you can just refill them.

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb September 28, 2011, 9:16 am

    very efficient! i am traveling A LOT this fall (little weekend trips), and will definitely appreciate these tips. a few weeks ago i had to travel with medicine over the 3-1-1 limit… talk about a pain in the butt! you need a doctor’s note, then you go through a special line, then they screen you EXTRA close… ay yay yay!

  • Devon September 28, 2011, 9:18 am

    Good luck with all your travels! With my old job, I lived out of my suitcase for weeks on end. Literally,I would dump clothes into the washer, pull them out of the dryer, and back into the suitcase they would go 🙁 2 things that saved me space/energy- Contact solution is a medical item, so you can bring a full sized without penalty or at least keep the travel size out of your “liquid bag”. For some cosmetics, I got free samples from Sephora when I bought the full size. So much easier than finding tiny bottles for lotion, primer, etc!

  • Khushboo September 28, 2011, 9:27 am

    Great tips! Packing and travelling stress me out as well so I’ve also made a list which I keep in my suitcase to refer back to every time I need to pack!

  • Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate September 28, 2011, 9:31 am

    I love this! Having a few high-fiber snacks packed in my carry on is essential for me when I travel! There is nothing worse than back to back flights and nothing to eat. 🙁

  • Vanessa September 28, 2011, 9:38 am

    I HIGHLY recommend you visit your cell phone provider and ask for an extra phone charger. Most will give you one for free if you ask nicely. 🙂 I ALWAYS forget mine and it is so nice to have an extra that you don’t have to pack last minute.

  • Kristina September 28, 2011, 9:51 am

    This isn’t about what to pack but what to wear. I always make sure that I’m dressed so that I can get through security with minimal hassle. I also hate the thought of being barefoot while going through security, so I forgo flipflops and sandals.

  • Amanda @ The Beauty Notebooks September 28, 2011, 10:02 am

    What a great idea! Maybe also a pack of band aids and tissues?

    Btw, I took a look at your list of Upcoming/Past Events and noticed this under past events:

    North Country Community College at Ticonderoga, New York – November 11, 2011

    Villanova University at Villanova, Pennsylvania – November 17, 2011

    Should they be put under Upcoming Events, or did you go there last year? (Because if you went last year, I would have been sad that I missed since Villanova is five mins down the road from Bryn Mawr! And well, if you are going this year I would be sad, too, since I’m in Scotland and wouldn’t be able to see you this time around either!)

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:32 pm

      Whoops, dates were wrong. Thanks for catching that! Sorry 🙁

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life September 28, 2011, 10:09 am

    Great idea! Just be warned that the pack of orbit might make your clif bar taste like mint (and not in a good way). That stuff is powerful even when it’s wrapped up.

  • Mel @ Mel a la Via Paradiso September 28, 2011, 10:50 am

    AHH…you’re coming to Washington! And not only that, but my best friend from high school goes to St. Martins and it’s about a half hour south of where I live! How exciting…I hope you will love the great Pacific Northwest! Do you know if the event is open to the public? I would LOVE to go!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats September 28, 2011, 11:19 am

    I’m lucky because when I travel, it’s usually to visit my family. I got to the point where I just had one set of toiletries wherever I’m living and one set at home! For other travel I ALWAYS make a list and I’m sure to have snacks like granola bars or apples just in case I’m stuck somewhere with only fast food. I also wear my biggest pair of shoes since I usually carry-on.

  • Sandy September 28, 2011, 11:21 am

    I just have to ask, as a pastor’s daughter, what’s with the hymnal?

    • Caitlin September 28, 2011, 11:25 am

      It was a presentation at a church 🙂

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 28, 2011, 11:25 am

    I don’t know diddly about packing for travel because I don’t do it enough, but are the “extra contacts” considered non-liquid, because there’s liquid in them? I used to get paranoid about my makeup, too, until I switched to mostly non-liquid stuff.

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:32 pm

      Hmm I’ve never had a problem with it!

  • Sarah September 28, 2011, 11:28 am

    Don’t forget some mini packets of Kleenex! I HATE being stuck somewhere with a runny/stuffy nose and no Kleenex, especially when going in and out of the recycled air on a plane. And, I always keep a small container of floss with me, you never know when it will come in handy!

  • mi-an d. September 28, 2011, 11:30 am

    i’m a versatility kinda girl. for example, i like to wear scarf when i travel so i can use it as blanket as well in case planes don’t give out blankets (plus you can use it as an accesory for any of your outfits), i like to get shampoos that can also be used as body wash (2 in 1 baby) i think philosophy makes a good one, i like to bring dresses/tops/tanks i can wear at more than one occasion, for example, i love lulu’s cool racer back tanks, i love them for working out and when i was in ny last year, i was freezing that i wore it under my sweater (it kept me so warm!), i love make up i can wear for my cheeks and lips so i don’t have to bring a blush (i.e. benefit’s chachatint it’s a cheek and lip stain). I’ve traveled so much and i feel that versatility is the key!

    • Jen @ Light Enough to Travel September 28, 2011, 1:27 pm

      Agreed re: Scarf. I never go anywhere without a pashmina. It’s wide enough and warm enough to be a blanket but light enough to use as sleeves in the hot sun.

  • Chelsea September 28, 2011, 11:55 am

    Great organization right there! I can imagine how stressful traveling that often can get, but I bet it’s a great feeling at all of your events 🙂

  • Katy September 28, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Do you have an iPhone? There’s an app called Paperless that allows you to make lists that you can “check off” as you complete. I have a couple master pack lists for toiletries & electronics, all those things I always forget at the last minute. (It’s great for food shopping and to do lists too!) I can even email my lists to you if you want!

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:33 pm

      Oh fun app! Thanks!

  • Moni'sMeals September 28, 2011, 12:07 pm

    wow lady, so much traveling… you go girl!
    I just need to make sure I have snacks and water at all times when I travel. Dont forget battery chargers!

  • lauren September 28, 2011, 12:08 pm

    I actually have it together when I travel for business, although I left my charger at the hotel last year 🙁 Traveling for vacation is another thing entirely! I plan packing, start packing, yet always end up finishing up at the last minute. I need to make a master list and keep it, that is a great idea. If this were a few years ago, I’d say it should be a laminated list – but I guess I’ll just use my note app.

  • Mary September 28, 2011, 12:09 pm

    That’s an awesome Idea. Less stress for you in the long run. If I traveled as much as you do I’d definitely do the same thing 🙂

  • Jill September 28, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Looks like you have it all down pat. Being prepared makes traveling so much easier. Safe travels!

  • HTPMom September 28, 2011, 12:58 pm

    I have found that not only does it decrease the time involved in packing for trips, but it decreases my stress to have a “Must take with me List” along with the pre-packaged toiletries, meds, & misc items is helpful. I have a friend who took a picture of what she always wants each time and leaves it in her travel bag instead of a list. Before my list, I would forget my phone charger or extra camera batteries.

  • Deva @ Deva by Definition September 28, 2011, 12:59 pm

    If you have an iPod, and multiple iPhones, you may be able to stick an iPhone/pod charger block into your go-bag without issues. Something I forgot to mention in my comment on your status, heh.

  • Amy H. September 28, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Great post! I have a master list but really like the two-bag system you describe.

    I also recommend “Road Warriorette” — a blog about work travel for women. Really good suggestions on there to make travel as efficient and stress-free as possible. . . .

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:33 pm

      Fun book suggestion!! Thanks!

  • kathleen September 28, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I second having seconds of everything to take the stress out of packing. I also have a “tri” system and keep my tri bucket fully stocked with all the essentials and extras so I don’t have to worry come practice or race day. I did a little post about my bucket list a few weeks ago which included the Yes To Blueberry wipes and it’s nice to see others using the Yes To products. It’s the little things that you forget that can drive you nuts, like deodorant. And who wants to use whatever complimentary brand the hotel gives you. Safe travels.

  • Jen @ Light Enough to Travel September 28, 2011, 1:32 pm

    I got in on this late! I second much of what’s been said above.

    A spare pair of headphones might be a good idea as well; unless you’re traveling up front, needing to pay $3 for a set on the flight is kind of annoying.

    I also always have a pen with me, but then you probably always have a pen for Operation Beautiful notes. I travel internationally a lot (home to Canada) so I always have to fill out customs forms.

  • Taylor @ Crumbs Don't Count September 28, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Every morning before I leave my hotel room while travelling, I make sure to hide the little toiletries so they bring in new ones. That way you always have more than enough “spare” toiletries when travelling…or you can leave them in the guest bathroom for guests as a cute little display.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul September 28, 2011, 1:55 pm

    that’s a great idea, like everyone said! Never actually thought of a permanent list! hah–the funny lil things we can learn from one another 😉

  • Alison @ Hospitality Haven September 28, 2011, 2:11 pm

    That’s awesome! I don’t travel a ton for work, but some of these tips are great for when I do travel long distances on vacation.

  • Devonshire September 28, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Great post! While i don’t travel that often this def was helpful for the future! Hope you have a fun time traveling!!

  • Penny September 28, 2011, 3:19 pm

    I’m all obsessed with this post, even though I never travel for any reason whatsoever.
    I don’t know what that means about me. 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:34 pm

      You like organization!

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel September 28, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Hair fubbies–is that what you call hair ties? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that terminology before!

  • Sarah September 28, 2011, 4:14 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I just noticed from your link that you will be in Buffalo tomorrow night, where I live. Do you have any other details such as how to get tickets, etc.? I’d love to come hear you speak. Thanks!

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:35 pm

      yay fun! You can come, I asked the school.

      Montante Cultural Center. The exact address is
      2021 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14208. 7 PM!

      Come say hi!

  • Heather @ Bake, Run, Live September 28, 2011, 4:19 pm

    I have a saved word document for traveling to races. The top part are the things that never change (toiletries, contact stuff, food that I always take, cell phone/charger, etc). Then the next part I can customize due to number of days away, or the season.
    It comes in handy if I need to pack in a hurry!

  • Kim September 28, 2011, 5:03 pm

    I was looking at your schedule and the one school almost looked like BYOB. I guess it is BBYO, which could be, Beer, Bring Your Own! Have fun on your travels.

  • ashley September 28, 2011, 5:16 pm

    Getting a little low on info for the blog? Last week “guest posts” from you dogs, and today how to pack a bag. Really…who cant do that? Whats next, how to make green tea? Oh wait you already did that one too.

    • CaitlinHTP September 28, 2011, 8:36 pm

      Thanks so much for reading even though you find the content to be so boring!

  • kristina September 28, 2011, 5:24 pm

    Great idea!! While I am not traveling for work- Im traveling twice a month for love (long distance relationship) and this would certainly make things much easier PLUS I wouldnt waste half of my full sized lotions when the explode in the plastic bag. Thanks for the idea.

  • Lisa September 28, 2011, 5:50 pm

    what a great idea!!!

  • Molly @ RDexposed September 28, 2011, 6:18 pm

    The Dallas airport is such a food challenge for me while Minneapolis had so many good choices! Cheese and wine bar? Yes please!

  • Lesley September 28, 2011, 6:27 pm

    What a great idea. Don’t forget a travel toothbrush and sunscreen! 🙂

    I use those same makeup remover wipes. They work really well!

  • J @ Ess and Jae V2.0 September 28, 2011, 8:21 pm

    Do you have a book? You always need book.

  • Nicole September 29, 2011, 11:24 pm

    Take pic’s of yourself wearing your favorite business outfits, head to toe. Put them in a little pocket album…when you have to be somewhere you can just look at the pic’s and pull out exactly what you need instead of standing i nfront of your closet wondering what to wear.

  • Sophie @ threetimesf September 30, 2011, 2:53 am

    That is a great idea when you’re travelling as much as I do. I love to travel, but packing and unpacking are THE worst things in the world – blaaaaah!

  • Christie September 30, 2011, 9:59 am

    With how much my husband & I travel a running “Must Pack” list is essential. Now that we’ve got a baby it is CRUCIAL! It really helps, especially when an unplanned trip pops up.

    Love the colors in that eye makeup palette – pretty! Who is it by/ what’s it called?

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