Day 89: Andrew’s Last business trip to Africa, and How I Helped Him Pack

Today I kissed my love goodbye at Venice Marco Polo Airport and sent him on his way to Gabon.  While this normally makes me feel blue, it was 5am (we left our house at 4:15am!) and I was too tired to dwell on it.  The sunny side of the situation is that he’s only going to be there for 3 full days, meaning that I’ll see him again on Thursday!

After a long-distance dating relationship and engagement (between Italy and Ukraine), we were glad to finally be in the same place after our 6 July 2013 wedding.  What we were less glad about was the 25-30% of travel that’s involved in Drew’s work.  Before we were married, Drew loved traveling for work and he definitely beats me in the countries-visited-count by at least 15 countries, partly thanks to his work.  After our marriage, however, it became a bummer to have him gone at least once monthly or bi-monthly.

One of Drew’s less-favorable luggage stories comes from one of his trips to Senegal in November 2013.  He had a very tight connection in order to make it back to Italy so that we could then turn around and celebrate Thanksgiving with his family in the States.  What exactly happened to his luggage was never fully understood, but what we ended up experiencing was that his luggage randomly showed up at his parent’s house 6 days after his Senegal trip ended.  We give the airlines kudos for this, but what we didn’t appreciate was the fact that his luggage reeked of nastiness and had to be confined to the Maul parent’s garage, and then we had an extra suitcase to tug around in the States until we left.

That experience changed Drew forever.  He vowed that African continent business travel would now be done with only carry-on.  I am witness to his success, and also Drew’s packing coordinator, so I’ve helped him manage this aspect of our life as expats.  I will tell you that he’s only able to take a tiny wheeled suitcase and his briefcase for this travel experience, so unfortunately his cool backpacker’s guitar has never made an airline travel debut.

Here’s how we pack for a Gentleman’s carry-on-only business travel to the African Continent and a packing list you can use as inspiration if you find yourself in the same predicament:

  • 1 gray suit (worn first and last day)
  • 1 pair of khaki dress pants (worn with the gray suit coat on the second day)
  • 3 undershirts
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 4 pairs of boxers
  • 3 dress shirts
  • 2 ties
  • 1 polo shirt
  • 1 small non-liquid toiletry bag
  • 1 small liquid toiletry bag, in a clear plastic bag, placed in the front compartment of the bag for easy access at security checkpoints.
  • 2 things added later and missing from these pictures: 1 pair of nike running shorts, 1 lightweight casual shirt, both for hanging out in the hotel room
  • What Drew wore on his travel day: jeans, button-down casual collared shirt, zippy sweatshirt, brown Clark’s shoes.  Remember our mantra: 1 pair of shoes that goes with everything, 1 belt for the entire week/end/3 days!
  • About the briefcase: Drew packed that, so other than his computer and documents, I have no idea what he actually puts in there.
Looks like a mess, but it’s an organized chaotic pile of all the items that Drew will need for 4 days.
As I mentioned before, I’m a fan of rolling to save space, but there are some things that don’t roll easily. You can see that Drew’s blazer is neatly folded.
Here’s how the almost-packed bag looks.
Everything he needs is in this tiny little suitcase!
Drew’s ready with his Tumi briefcase attached, his gold status airline affiliation obnoxiously displayed, and his mobile boarding pass saved in the photo app on his phone.

One thought on “Day 89: Andrew’s Last business trip to Africa, and How I Helped Him Pack

  1. Excellent ! I love to travel light !! Grandpa finds it difficult !!(He’s what was known as a belts and braces person !!) I guess knows what that means these days !!!!

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