The Graphic Recorder’s Travel Guide: Essential Items for Bleisure Travel

a woman business traveler on a plane drawn by imagethink graphic recording

Travel tips from our globe-trotting graphic recorders.

From the millennial going from business meeting to off-the-beaten track, to the manager Skyping the office from her yoga retreat, “bleisure” travel is on the rise, as the lines blur between our professional and personal lives. At ImageThink, we travel often to client engagements and are just as likely to blend a business trip with leisure time—adding a quick weekend to the tail end of a graphic recording workshop, or arriving early to sight-see. But finding fun things to do is the easy part. When it comes to bleisure travel—what to pack is the big question. Today we’ll take the stress out of planning, so you can move easily from work-time to down-time, worry-free. Here are the essential items you’ll want to bring on your next trip (and a few pro tips on what to do when you get there).

Travel backpack

For shorter journeys, save yourself time, checked baggage fees and sore shoulders, and choose a professional travel backpack that can take you from business meetings to casual day trips. This will help you prioritize items you’ll need over those “nice-to-have” so you’re not stuck lugging a heavy suitcase, and move straight from plane to cab so your tightly packed schedule stays on-track. When choosing a travel backpack, think about your must-have travel items–for us, it’s our trust graphic recording markers and inks–and whether they will fit comfortably in the main compartment.

We recommend Nomatic or the Laptop Backpack.

Mobile office

With work on the agenda, you’ll want access to a mobile office. A laptop, phone, chargers and external battery are the obvious items to include—however we’ve found that rounding this out with a few extra gadgets can help sidestep any unexpected issues and ease the journey.

Consider a foldable travel keyboard like the Kanex MultiSync Keyboard. Devices like these are typically lightweight and suit any tablet or smartphone, which means you can keep your laptop tucked away and work just as effectively without it, whether you’re in the air or a café.

And forget rummaging in your bag for pen and paper. Instead, take and share digital sketchnotes on the move, using just your phone and a drawing app like Procreate.

Traveling internationally? Pack adaptors so you can charge electronics easily, overseas.

Capsule wardrobe

Wrinkle-free fabrics and neutral tones are the key to clothes that span career to casual. ImageThink favorites include brands such as Par en Par, thanks to their smart fashion that’s designed to take you from client presentation to city walking tour.

Pack a “capsule” wardrobe with a small selection—ten items will cover five-to-ten travel days—of items to mix and match. Stick to basic shades like black, white, navy and beige that go well together for best results (though we’re privy to a pop of color here and there!) A few small accessories will lift an outfit or dress it down.

Packing cubes

Whether you’re carrying graphic recording supplies, or just a few changes of clothes, these small, zippered fabric containers will revolutionize the way you pack. They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can choose the right fit for your carry-on, backpack or suitcase, and by keeping clothes compact and organized, these cubes maximize space, minimize wrinkles and make things easier to find. They even double as a pillow if the hotel one isn’t to your liking!

Try Rukzak or IKEA.

Flexible tickets

Part of the appeal of bleisure travel is the freedom to change your mind at a moment’s notice so you can take advantage of a new experience or explore an unknown place. Much less attractive is being penalized for taking a detour or extending your stay. To avoid this, be sure to book flexible tickets that give you options without hefty fees for changing or cancelling flights—or “fixed” flights that are so low-cost you don’t mind foregoing what you have paid upfront.

Brands such as Cheapoair and Expedia compare various airlines so you can see which best suit your plans.

More pro traveling tips

Airbnb not only offers bleisure travel-friendly rentals but experiences as well, so if the mood strikes you can book a local cooking class, bike tour or other local activity.

Apps are a bleisure traveler’s best friend. Download TravelBank to book and expense your business travel in a single step. Detour offers neighborhood walking tours guided by local celebrities and uses augmented reality to show how a place has evolved over time, while LuggageHero tells you where to safely stash your luggage when you’re off exploring.

As our ImageThink graphic recorders move from drawing conferences, interactive murals and graphic animations around the world to enjoying down-time in new cities and cultures, these items are our go-to essentials. Take them on your next trip and see how easy mixing business and leisure can be.

Want interactive conference ideas for your business? We’ll help you redraw all the rules. Engage our ImageThink team to build anticipation, capture speakers’ stories—and captivate every attendee from the moment they step inside until after your event ends.

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