I travel with a lot of gear. Not on my own vacations (that's more like a backpack and Chapstick) but for my client facilitation work. And I have honed my materials list in every way I can, so I'm here to share what I've learned over 10 years of facilitating client meetings!
First (following the rule of "nothing goes without saying") you will be customizing your agenda and processes to meet the clients needs and wants. So of course your tool kit you bring to the meetings will also be customized. However, I've found my plans NEVER go exactly as anticipated, and I've learned to bring backup.
Now that's out of the way, the second thing you should know is I have a complete list that you can download below or on our website at www.sbrandsolutions.com . A few things I don't mention on that list are:
1) I carry this in a hard sided wheelie suitcase
2) I carry the flip charts in a large portable soft sided carrier made for that purpose.
The list is sorted into two main areas - the absolute necessities and then the fun stuff. I carry both at all times. I've heard stories of facilitators who have an incredibly specific list of things the client will provide, and I do request that our clients provide some basics, especially if I'm travelling by plane. But, I've found that I can make their lives (and mine) easier if I bring my own materials.
The necessities: specific flip charts, flip chart markers, white board markers, my own preferred markers, extra paper, writing pens, sticky notes, 3 x 5 cards and dots. That's my bare minimum and you can facilitate ANYTHING with this short list. To add in order of importance, I also recommend blue painters tape, easels, name tents and a loud timer.
The fun stuff: I use stuffed animals when I facilitate to help with ground rules. I also give them away as gifts in friendly competitions. Other fun items that are important to my work include candy/breath mints, playing cards, games, and music.
The most important thing I've found is this: it's not about the toolkit and materials, it's about the preparation. So even if the airline loses my luggage, we make it happen and get it done.
As always, enjoy your facilitation and please reach out if you have any thoughts to share or questions to ask!