6 Essential Business Travel Packing Tips

businesspeople dressed in black and white with the world map as the background

Business travelers usually spend 4 to 8 months of the year traveling, and every trip involves a great deal of thoughtful consideration. The businessperson should strive to be polished, organized, and mindful of all their items – while keeping their luggage light. In fact, packing efficiently and effectively is an essential skill for them. If you’ve been on the road enough, you probably already know the risk of checked luggage and how vital it is to fit everything in a carry-on bag. As shown in George Clooney’s critically-acclaimed Up In The Air, the difference between checking luggage and fitting everything into a carry-on is a week of waiting in line. Whether you’re traveling for work soon or not, we’ve outlined many packing tips for your next business trip.

Pack Everything In A Carry-On

As previously mentioned, we strongly advise against checking in suitcases. Some situations (flight delays, lost luggage, cancelled connections) are beyond your control and can heavily inconvenience your trip. Hence, not checking bags leaves leaves little room for danger. You’ll also get through customs much faster. We recommend choosing a rolling duffel bag to relieve your back and shoulders while walking around in the airport. In addition, it will fit into any available overhead space. A bag that is 22″ x 13″ x 9″ currently meets all major airlines’ carry-on maximum limits, but always look up your airline’s standards before buying new luggage.

Bring The Right Clothes

Unlike what the hit Netflix series implies, orange (and other bright colors) are not the new black for business trips; just pick basic items with neutral colors (black, white, grey, and beige). Remember that you have to effortlessly create a variety of different outfits with a narrow selection of clothes. Fashion experts concur that 9 to 10 pieces of clothing will last for 2 weeks. In specific, this means 3 pants (2 dressy, 1 casual), 4 shirts, 1 jacket, and a blouse. Mix and match sweaters and shirts with your suit to constantly look sharp and stylish. Gentlemen, wear your suit on the plane to make more room and prevent it from getting crumpled in your bag. As for you ladies, both a dress and suit will come in handy. When it comes to shoes, just bring 1 dressy and 1 casual. Wear comfortable sneakers on the plane; dress shoes can wait till your conference meeting. Finally, several hotels will clean your clothes to keep them fresh, or you can use travel-size packets of laundry detergent in your hotel sink when needed.

Roll Or Fold?

There are two great ways for packing a suitcase: The rolling technique, and the flat technique. Regarding the rolling technique, stuff some socks in your shoes, pack the shoes in bags to keep them clean, and then place the bags on the bottom of your suitcase. The aim is to create a level surface. Next, roll your clothes to maximize space. Use a wet bag to pack your dirty laundry and roll it too. As for the flat technique, place small items such as underwear on the bottom, thus creating a level surface. After that, pack your longest garment followed by your other clothes on one end of the suitcase. Leave everything else hanging on the edge of your suitcase. Tuck curved items (e.g. bras) into corners and shoe bags along the sides and in the middle. Lastly, flip the hanging clothing neatly over and onto itself. Fathom demonstrated both methods in the following videos.

Always Reduce

When packing light, less is better! Take everything out of your bag every three months, try to recall when you last used each item in there, and ask yourself if you will use it on the coming trip. Rely on your hotel for bathroom supplies like toothpaste, shampoo, and soap. Another option is to buy them in travel-size at a nearby pharmacy or in your airport for a week’s supply. Be 100% sure before you pack any liquid that is highly noticeable in the X-Ray. According to TSA’s Liquids rule, you can carry 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item in a quart-sized bag. Make sure to separate that bag from your carry-on luggage for a smooth screening process. Stores sell travel size empty bottles that meet TSA standards (including spray bottles for perfumes and cologne), so fill those bottles at home and leave the larger ones behind. Moreover, don’t go overboard with accessories. Men, buy a cheap travel watch instead of packing your expensive watch and take a couple of ties that match all your clothes (small dots or classic stripes should do the trick). Ladies who love jewelry should leave behind their expensive pieces and wear a bright-colored scarf for some flair.

Charge Your Electronics

Check if the batteries in your technology items (shavers, camera, iPod, phone, laptop, tablet) are fully charged before you take off. Not to forget, take precaution by buying a universal adapter kit and avoid the headache due to bringing the wrong plug converter. Almost every airline allows 2 carry-on bags: 1 “regular” piece of luggage, and a smaller piece such as a briefcase, purse, laptop case, etc. Storing all of your chargers in the latter bag will make them more accessible when you need to pull one out in the airport, and save space in the regular carry-on. Note that the smaller bag, if not packed full, provides extra space for small items like scarfs, ties, undershirts, toiletries, etc. thus leaving more space in the main bag.

Don’t Print Beforehand

Printing all your required documents is ill-advised, as it’ll force you to check in luggage and might allow for lost or damaged materials. An encrypted USB drive will secure and store the information without increasing your luggage. Check if there are any printing centers near your hotel, and ask your boss if you can print the paperwork upon arrival. Alternatively, you can mail the documents to your destination ahead of time via FedEx.

Got more packing tips? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. Safe travels!

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