Business trips are an indispensable segment of a CEO’s job scope. Having to travel for approximately two to three weeks out of each month, many managing directors are trapped in a constant cycle of packing and unpacking. For Kei Shibata, CEO of Venture Republic - LINE TRAVEL jp, the largest travel media in Japan, and fast-growing Asia-based online travel media Trip101, his preparations for business trips can be summed up with two simple rules: pack light and prepare for any circumstances. Scroll down to pick up a few useful travel hacks which CEO Shibata has concluded from his extensive travel experience.
1. Thin jacket
Most travellers check the weather multiple times before the trip, yet it is still difficult to predict how exactly it feels like when you arrive. As such, when travelling from colder countries to hotter ones or facing a fluctuation in temperature through the course of the day, the best way to stay prepared is by packing a thin outwear. Take your pick from our CEO’s favourite outwear: cardigans, hoodies, fleece jackets and leather jackets.
2. Lightweight poncho
Prepare a lightweight poncho in your backpack in the case of any inclement weather or precipitation forecast.
3. Work-out outfit and running shoes
Despite CEO Shibata’s exhausting work schedule, he makes an effort to commit to a workout routine, saying it is key to creating a healthy work-life balance. When packing your travel workout apparel, remember to select items made of dry-fit or wicking materials. Alternatively, you could check out Puma’s lastest athleisure wear. Besides serving as your workout outfit, athleisure wear could double as a fashion piece for streetwear or an outwear for casual occasions such as lounging around and when travelling back home. For short trips, he often pairs his trusty running shoes with his work outfit as a streetwear fashion statement.
4. Travelling with a backpack
When asked about his preference between suitcases and travel backpacks, CEO Shibata opts for the versatility of backpacks as opposed to its bulky alternative, especially when his trips only last for one or two nights. Meanwhile, he would bring along an additional carry-on suitcase, along with his backpack during his longer trips. Selecting the right travel backpack is also a crucial part in planning your trips, especially when you intend to travel to numerous destinations, in one or multiple countries, within a given time frame. This waterproof Sandqvist backpack has been road tested by our CEO so do not hesitate to make your purchase.
5. Clip-on sunglasses
Owning a pair of clip-on sunglasses means travellers with prescribed glasses can go without purchasing yet another prescription sunglasses. A range of colours, sizes and styles clip-on are also made available for fashion-conscious people who cannot afford multiple prescription sunglasses, so do not forget to shop for clip-on sunglasses before embarking on your next trip. Additionally, you save the hassle of packing two eyewear casings.
6. Coffee drip bag & grinder set
A perfect cup of coffee is the lifeblood of CEOs everywhere. As an avid coffee drinker, CEO Shibata gets his daily caffeine fix with the help of Nozy’s coffee-drip bags. The greatest advantage of these tiny pour-over contraptions is that they provide coffee drinkers with control over the thickness of their brew: pour in more water for a lighter brew and conversely, less for a stronger coffee. The subsequent indispensable coffee apparatus is an all-in-one tumbler which comprises of a grinder, filter basket and drip kettle. Cafflano allows you to grind the beans to your preferred coarseness and brew your coffee directly. Furthermore, the sheer convenience of carrying the coffee tumbler as well as such lightweight, teabag-like coffee-drip bags makes them a popular alternative to other coffee accessories.
Tech gadgets and accessories
7. Sports Earbuds / Earphones
Double check your in-flight bag for your earbuds or earphones. They will definitely come in handy as you are likely to need them to drown out the noise from random conversations and wailing kids on the plane.
8. iPad and Apple watch
Do not forget to pack the necessary electronic devices such as your iPad and make sure the devices are fully charged. Or else, bring along a non-electric item like a novel or a puzzle book as a backup item. Another essential gadget which CEO Shibata cannot travel without would be his Apple watch as he loves the convenience of paying using ApplePay, simply by touching the screen of his digital watch, particularly when taking the subway ride in Tokyo.
9. USB-C to USB adapter
This next section would be particularly useful to Apple product users. Instead of packing separate chargers for his different electronic devices, CEO Shibata uses a USB-C to USB adapter to charge his iPhone and iPad with his Macbook. With this generic adapter, there is no need to invest in multiple electronic cables for each device as well as duplicate chargers, which could help maximise the space in your suitcase.
10. APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)
Lastly, apply and check for your APEC business travel card before leaving for the airport. It helps to facilitate business travel within the APEC region by shortening the time spent waiting in long queues at the respective APEC customs clearances. For frequent business travellers, visa-free entries and time saved at the immigration lanes are two major benefits.
A chat with CEO Kei Shibata
Trip101: How often do you have to travel for work, and where do you most often travel to?
Kei: I travel for work multiple times a month, as I’m hopping between Singapore and Tokyo. I also generally travel roughly once a month to a variety of different destinations around the world.
Trip101: Being a coffee-lover, which city offers the best coffee options for you?
Kei: I’m a big fan of pour-over coffee, so any place that specializes in that is perfect for me. Melbourne is probably one of the top destinations for coffee lovers. I’d recommend checking out St. Ali, Industry Beans, and Patricia. I also really enjoy Intelligentsia in Los Angeles and Nozy in Tokyo.
Trip101: Which is your favorite travel destination and why?
Kei: For me, there are two types of destinations: places you want to go to constantly, and places you want to visit every 10 years or so. I try to go to Niseko, Hokkaido every year for skiing and snowboarding, as it has the best powder in the world. I would very happily go back to both New Zealand and Slovenia, as well. Both are gorgeous countries with beautiful nature.
Trip101: Name three destinations / activities on your travel bucket list.
Kei: Africa, Norway, Naadam in Mongolia.
Trip101: Besides travelling for work, what do you travel for?
Kei: Food, for sure. Nature is high up on the list, as well. Fun, unique events and festivals. Meeting up with old friends and making new friends. Sports!
About Kei Shibata
Kei Shibata co-founded Venture Republic and has been serving as a CEO since 2011. The company juggles multiple online travel websites and services worldwide consisting LINE TRAVEL jp, Japan’s largest online travel media with over 20 million monthly visits, as well as Trip101, a Singapore based “influencer generated” global online travel media and Allstay, leading mobile accommodation search services in Korea. As an avid entrepreneur in the travel industry, Kei also acquired and invested in a number of world-class travel-based start-up firms. For example, Kei is an angel investor in TravelTech. At the same time, he serves as a board of director for various startups including BeMyGuest (Singapore) and TravelMassive. Additionally, he is co-founder and organizer of WIT (Web In Travel) Japan & North Asia, largest international business conference in North Asia focusing on tech & travel, Chairman of Keio University’s alumni association for startup founders/CEOs, Executive Committee Member of Harvard Business School Club of Japan and co-chapter leader of Travel Massive in Singapore and Tokyo.
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