I make a lot of lists. So many in fact, that my lists sometimes have their own lists. It’s not because I am extremely organized, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. I am a dreamer.

Lists are a way for me to manage the traffic noise in my head. With our client workload, new client pitching, keeping up with social media, learning new things to use for business, and just generally being a human being, I have a lot going on in my head.

That’s why I need to create lists. There are always several yellow legal pads filled up with to-do items on my desk and post-it notes everywhere. My dog might be wearing several post-it notes right now. Pretty sure this does not make me unique – just maybe more self-aware than some because if I stop creating lists I would be lost.

Manly, Australia - November 9, 2014: Hundreds of post-it are pinned on the notice-board near Manly beach, Sydney, Australia.

So, as I prepare to pack my suitcase full of essentials for a combo “semi-working” and a “real” vacation with loved ones and close friends it’s critical that I create at least one list (I’m sure this will morph into several lists) so I can seamlessly blend work and play for the next few days.

But for the sake of this blog I will concentrate on what I feel are the mandatory must-haves for an international business trip. Here are my top tips:

  1. Find the cords, cubes, plug-ins and charge everything. This is critical. With modern air and train travel you never know when you will incur a delay. So, it’s best to be ready.
  2. Make sure you are packing the right electronic adapters for the country you’ll be visiting. These can be purchased easily online or at a big box electronics store.
  3. Call the bank and your credit card companies and alert them that you’ll be traveling abroad. Nothing more embarrassing than getting your card declined whilst picking up the restaurant tab with a client.
  4. While you’re at it, make sure to call your cell phone provider too. You don’t want to rack up preventable charges. Better to safe than sorry.
  5. Wear dark clothes that are interchangeable. Options are key.
  6. Sign up for Global Entry then breeze through most U.S. Customs lines.
  7. Keep your itinerary, passport, airline mileage membership cards, and other important travel documents in a zipped clear envelope – nothing will be lost and you can easily get to them.
  8. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your terminal in case of long security lines or travel delays that way you have time to call an audible and find other options.
  9. Now settle in with a magazine, newspaper, or music and let the others stress over their trip!

Hopefully this list helps you and I both. Now I have to go pack that black belt and left dress shoe that I always seem to leave behind.