It isn’t golf clubs, family pictures or the latest gadgets: What as many as one in four men admit to grabbing when heading out the door on a business trip is their teddy bear.
Recently, we ran a story examining business-travel packing, looking for the stranger items people cart around the world to remind them of home.
What popped from the findings – which included storied childhood pillows, stiff bottles of booze and those requisite gadgets – was hotel chain Travelodge’s survey of 6,000 British business travellers.
The study found 25 per cent of male respondents said they pack teddy bears.
And that, after all, was the percentage of men who conceded their habits to the study.
Surely, we pondered aloud in the story, these numbers must be inflated by sentimental children, or partners, sneaking bears into the suitcases of these macho men?
Our readers thought differently.
“Heck, no!” responded Alexander Inglis, in the comments section on the Globe’s website. “I pack my own bear! He's been an essential part of my travel kit since he arrived on the scene 25 years ago.”
The bear, Mr. Inglis writes, has accompanied him to Moscow, Mexico, Paris, Glasgow, the Shetland Islands, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, St. John's, Moncton, Fredericton, Montreal and Ottawa.
“He missed a single trip,” Mr. Inglis writes, “an overnighter to Winnipeg … my worst night ever spent in a hotel room.”
Much like our original story, Globe readers told us their must-have items during business travel. Results ranged from expected to eccentric.
For men, it seems, bears are common.
In addition to a specific brand of orange pekoe tea and a favourite shirt to sleep in, one airline pilot says he brings along his bear – dressed in a pilot’s uniform.
“Even when you're only gone for a few days, having something that reminds you of home is huge,” he writes in the comments section of the website.
Women, however, seem to eschew teddy bears for traditional comforts of home.
Many bring their own pillows. “Otherwise, I don’t sleep,” writes one woman on the Globe’s Facebook page.
Another brings her own pillow case. “Started as a kid’s thing on our holidays,” she notes.
Smell, that most nostalgic of senses, can pull one to another place. Fittingly, it made the list of must-haves. One woman packs her favourite perfume. “A few well place[d]touches and the room smells like home,” she writes.
Another, who travels every week, brings along a lavender sachet that she slips into her pillow case. “This way, no matter where the hotel, I have a similar scent to help me drift off to sleep at night.”
Men, on the other hand, seem to prefer stuffed items. “I bring a sock monkey that my honey made for me a Christmasses ago,” noted one respondent on the Facebook page.
Other Globe reader must-haves in their business travel suitcase:
- The iPhone 4: It “contains pictures of those I love, music I enjoy, news and weather updates, and for those boring waits – games!” writes one reader on the Facebook page.
- Family momentoes, including framed pictures and necklaces with birth stones.
- Favourite books.
- “Mott’s Clamato.”