Why the world weary traveler should shed her guilt over this type of baggage.
Of the Numerous Frustrations of the Travelling (Female) Exec, This One Chafes Me the Most.
You know, despite the current worldwide debate swirling around gender inequality in the workplace, no matter how much progress we make in this regard, and no matter how much of a feminist professional you are, there is one playing field in business which is not, nor ever will be, even.
I’m talking about business travel. Regardless of how much a woman aspires to being the ultimate professional ‘dude-ette’, she is disadvantaged in this arena. Business travel for women is just more cumbersome, more complicated and less glamorous , especially when it comes to packing.
The Devil Hates Packing
Admit it, sisters, how many of you have reached the point of sobbing frustration during the machinations of getting everything you need for five days of serious business into a carry-on bag? Even the most seasoned biz-trav woman, after years of honing her “mix and match, day to night, flats to heels” packing regimen, has been known to throw herself on the bedroom floor. I know that I have kicked up a screaming tantrum out of sheer aggravation at the fact that it takes me three outfits a day to just slide by, not including the de rigeur few kilos of make-up, hair products, jewelry and accessories that go with said fifteen costumes.
It’s so unfair, it really is! I hate to sound like a whiny old witch, but I’ve never met a man in my thirty-year career that complained about the struggle of trying to fit all his shoes into his expandable Samsonite, or being so overloaded that he couldn’t even fit a swimsuit in case there’s pool-time on the schedule.
Never! But I have known regional corporate directors who wore the same shirt two days running, thinking the red wine stains from last night’s expensed dinner weren’t too obvious. Even the assiduously clean and well-turned-out among my male colleagues only need one pair of dress shoes and one pair of designer flip-flops, as long as their five shirts and three pants were well selected.
As in so many other facets of human existence, the plight of the biz-trav female is substantially harder than that of the male, simply because expectations are so much higher. We need to be ‘sharply-dressed cougar-executive’ at the conference, ‘flirtatious one-of-the-boys’ at dinner and ready for anything in between, because, as we all know, business travel often has a way of veering into zones unknown and unplanned. I still fondly remember the time I ended up in a strip club in Kingston, Jamaica, with a gaggle of mortified, mainly Christian fundamentalist corporate executives from a company that cannot be named . . . but I digress.
For Sisters of the Travelling Business-Casual, More is More
If a sister wants to look her best (for the right reasons, of course – like self-confidence and brand image – rather than for the wrong ones, like male-gaze validation), it simply takes more of everything. More clothes, more shoes, more bottles and sprays, more STUFF! Not because we are vain. Well, some of us are, but I’m talking about the clever airport warrior sisters who have made “packing for a trip” into a cross between fine art and a precise military campaign. Even those of us who can achieve the “five shirt, three pant” formula are going to need additional footwear, makeup and bijoux, while those baggage restrictions aren’t getting any less restrictive.
And if the constraints of the laws of physics dictate that you simply have to upgrade to a check-in sized suitcase, it’s another long story. If you’re travelling alone you’ll probably be just fine, but bring along a male sidekick and you won’t have wait long for the inevitable sighing, foot-shuffling and eye-rolling as they check their iWatch to see how many minutes of the itinerary you’re costing the group for the crime of checking in a bag.
It’s Time to Break Free!
You know what? I say go for it, travelling gals! Life’s way too short to worry about how long it takes to get your extra six “just-in-case” outfits from plane to carousel. So, upsize that suitcase and go wild – throw in a few more shoes, maybe a handbag or two. The male biz-travelers may snort their disapproval, but with all that extra room to maneuver your travelling wardrobe, you’ll leave them in your dust at the company ball!