When we sat down with Touch of Modern CEO Jerry Hum to talk business travel, we weren’t surprised to learn that he has a simple but effective system in place when it comes to packing his bags. But really, how could he not? The guy is meticulous, purposeful, and exceedingly busy. What to pack in a suitcase is second nature at this point, and having a clear gameplan for successful packing should be expected for someone who travels as much as he does.
It wasn’t always this way.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Jerry did most of his traveling on the subway. In fact, the first time this lifelong New Yorker ever set foot on an airplane was to head to California to help launch Touch of Modern (“Actually, that was the first time I got on a plane that I didn’t jump out of,” he is quick to clarify, referring to a skydiving adventure in college). The learning curve that accompanied the transition from subways to 737s was swift and steep, but Jerry rolled with it. And in that time, he developed some packing and travel tactics that we’ll share below.
Get the right bag
No matter where Jerry is headed, he is rarely without his Weekend Duffel bag from Gold Rush Leather. “I’ve had that bag for four years,” Jerry says, remembering the day he bought it off Touch of Modern’s site. It’s a roomy carry-all, and the soft structure has an added benefit that he didn’t immediately expect. “It’s nice because it’s never been tagged for checked baggage if the overhead bins are full,” he explains. “With something on rollers, there’s always a chance that it will get pulled,” Jerry says, regaling a story of a near-miss when he was the last person to board a plane by a considerable margin. “They kept it and just fit it in somewhere because it has a collapsable shape.”
“Every time I travel, I always try to pack less than I did before,” Jerry says, acknowledging that with the higher number of things packed, so goes the higher likelihood of accidentally leaving something behind. “If I have too many things to bring, I end up forgetting at least one of them anyway.”
Decision fatigue can plague even the most dedicated, organized professionals. To combat it, some wear the same thing every day (like black turtlenecks or hoodies) or eat the same thing for breakfast. Jerry has developed a packing strategy that controls the chaos of his ever-evolving to-do list. In fact, it doesn’t involve a list at all.
“I actually don’t have a packing list,” Jerry says, instead preferring to always keep his travel items in their designated containers. “I keep all the things I need in two dopp kits.” One of these little bags is for toiletries, and the other bag houses all his tech peripherals. “Those two smaller bags are always ready, and I just drop them into any piece of luggage, and I’m ready to go. Everything else is just clothing and a laptop, and that’s it.”
Get there early
Jerry prefers to get to the airport 90 minutes before a domestic flight is scheduled to take off. Although he has TSA Pre-Check (which he also recommends) Jerry has found that the speediness in different airports can vary greatly, even with the convenience of being on the TSA Pre-Check list.
Keep it fun
All this talk of spartan accessories and embracing minimalism could almost make us forget that Jerry works at Touch of Modern - almost. “Sometimes I’ll also bring a hover drone,” Jerry says. “It’s perfect for packing because it’s so small. It’s about the size of a VHS tape, and it’s made for traveling. It folds up nice and is very lightweight. So if I’m going somewhere and I know that I’m going to be outside, it’s a fun thing to bring.”
When we perform a task over and over again, we can sometimes fall into a rut without even realizing it, and it helps to have a new perspective from time to time. When it comes to packing and traveling, everyone has to eventually work out a system that’s right for them. Get a bag that works, pay attention to your needs, cut out what isn’t serving you, and eventually, the details take care of themselves.
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