Even seasoned travelers could make their packing habits a bit more efficient. Even in the rush of packing for last-minute business trips, a few packing hacks for business travelers can make life easier.
Whether it’s about the clothes and items they bring in or their travel habits, here are some much-needed tips to make their trips a breeze.
1.) Pack a Capsule Wardrobe
One of the most important packing tips is figuring out how to get the maximum outfit combinations with a few pieces only. The key is choosing interchangeable clothes that you can mix and match as much as you’d like.
Follow these packing hacks for business travelers to make it happen.
Know Your Essentials
No matter what kind of trip you’re taking, you’re likely to need the same kind of essentials. Here’s a list to keep in mind.
- 1 blazer: A blazer can add more class to almost any outfit. Pair it with casual pants and you’re good to go.
- 1 coat or light sweater: Choose which is more appropriate for the season you’re traveling in, and wear the item you choose while you travel to make more room in your suitcase.
- 1 pair of slacks: You can wear them to a laid-back party, on a touristic tour in the city you’re visiting, and to a bar with your new contacts.
- 1 pajama: Choose something comfortable to sleep in.
- 2 pant suits or skirt suits: You can wear the same suit and change your shirt, and no one will bat an eye. You only need to bring one or two suits for the trip, no matter how long it is.
- 2 ties: Choose ties that match your shirts and suits.
- 3 shirts: Pack up to five if you are staying more than a week. Mix and match between dress and casual shirts.
- Underwear and socks: Take as many as you need for the days you’re staying unless the hotel has a laundry service you plan to use. We recommend one pair of underwear and socks per day.
- Workout gear: If your gym has a hotel or if you like early morning runs, bring a workout shirt and a pair of yoga pants or shorts.
Shoes and Accessories:
- 2 pairs of shoes: A pair of Oxford shoes—that match your belt, and a pair of sneakers should do the trick. The sneakers will be your official touristy shoes, choose some that are black or navy blue, to match your pants. Wear those when you’re on the road.
- Jewelry: Choose gold or silver jewelry to bring a pop to your outfit. Avoid anything too big and choose something tactful and chic, like a pendant necklace with stud earrings and a chain bracelet.
- Small towel: You should normally be able to use the towels in your hotel, but it is always better to have one with you, just in case.
- Sunglasses: Buy cheap ones for travel. If you lose or break them, you won’t feel bad about the loss.
Ditch the Colors
Don’t pack clothes with bright colors. Choose neutral ones instead.
Black is generally the business traveler’s best friend. It can go with anything and is easy to find flattering options. Navy blue, gray, brown or Bordeaux are also excellent color choices for suits, blazers, slacks, or shoes. For shirts, go with white or pastel colors.
Also, either forget about patterns or chose discreet ones. You don’t want your clothes to clash.
Pack Clothes With Wrinkle-Resistant Fabric
A dreadful moment in the life of any business traveler is getting to their hotel and discovering that their room doesn’t have an iron. This realization is especially difficult right before an important meeting.
One of the most overlooked tips for business travelers is choosing clothes with fabric that will not give you a hard time when you unpack.
Lyocell, polyester, poly-blend, cashmere, and spandex-blend fabrics are wrinkle-free. Linen and cotton wrinkle the most, so beware of those.
2.) Learn How to Pack Your Clothes Correctly
We all know the drill: you wake up in the morning to get ready for a business meeting, and the last thing you want to deal with is wrinkly or damaged clothes.
The solution? Learn to fold and roll your clothes properly. It will prevent creases and save you time ironing and steaming.
Wonder how you can fit all your belongings in a carry-on or small checked bag? Here are a few packing hacks for business travelers to turn your clothes them into compact pieces and save yourself some much-needed space.
Roll Your Shirts, Pants, and Skirts
Some items can be rolled to save space and prevent wrinkles:
- Shirts: Lay your shirt on a flat surface with the front facing you. Fold both sides inwards by grabbing the tip of the sleeve and the end of the shirt and bringing them toward the center of your shirt. Your shirt has now the shape of a square. Finally, roll your shirt from the bottom all the way up to the top.
- Pants. Lay your ironed pants on a flat surface, and make sure there are no creases. Bring one leg over the other to fold them in half. Start rolling them from the top, at waist level, all while flattening the fabric as you go down.
- Skirts. Lay your ironed skirt on a flat surface. Slightly bring the two sides of your skirts towards the center until you have a square or rectangle. Start rolling from the top while flattening the fabric as you go down.
Fold Your Suit
You can fold suits in two ways:
- The easy way: Go to your dry cleaner and ask for a dry cleaning bag. Put your blazer in one of them. Fold it in half, and lay it flat inside your suitcase. Ta-da!
- The compact folding technique: Grab your suit jacket and turn the left shoulder inside out. You have now a pocket forming by the left shoulder. Take the right shoulder and put it inside the left pocket. The collar should be neatly folded together too. Finally, fold your jacket in half.
Pack Your Heaviest Items at the Bottom
If you are choosing a carry-on or a checked bag (although we always advise business travelers to choose the former), make sure the heaviest items are at the bottom of your bag.
This will keep it balanced and help you move it around more easily.
3.) Be Smart About Your Other Items: Electronics, Toiletries, Cosmetics
Clothes aren’t the only thing you will be bringing on your business trip. Here are some other items you need to pack too. Use these packing hacks for business travelers for everything else you need.
You likely travel with several electronics. Here are some tips to make it easier to travel with them:
- Bring a power bank. You never know when your electronic items can suddenly die. Fully charge your power bank at night and have it on you at all times of your trip.
- Keep track of your cords. Electronic cords are a hassle. They take too much space, get tangled, and knot. Don’t leave them hanging around. Instead, wrap them tightly in a packing cube, but make sure the cord heads aren’t bent to avoid damage.
- Invest in an e-reader. A book can take a lot of space in your suitcase. Get an e-reader or a tablet to solve this dilemma if you like to read while you travel.
If you’re packing everything in a carry-on, you need to be extra careful. Having the TSA agent take away your favorite Channel perfume or brand-new shampoo because it exceeds the size limit is not ideal.
First, familiarize yourself with the carry-on rules and the size limits of toiletries of the country you’re visiting. The TSA determines liquid size limits as follows:
- Carry-on: 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or smaller sized-containers that fit in a quart-sized resealable bag.
- Checked bag: Containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) regardless of amount inside must be in checked baggage.
Bring sample-sized and smaller toiletries, including shampoo, conditioners, body washes, soap, loofah, feminine wash, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, sunblock, deodorant, dry shampoo, makeup remover, brush, and comb.
Makeup can be considered a must-have travel product by many. The news is that it is subject to the same liquid and gel rules as any other substance. Liquid lipsticks, liquid mascaras, or lip gels, for example, should all follow the size limits mentioned above.
The TSA has also set a new restriction on powders. Powdered cosmetics should weigh well under 12 ounces.
Get travel-sized makeup products to make sure you’re on the safe side.
4.) Choose the Right Travel Gear
No one wants to spend an ungodly amount of time waiting for their luggage at the conveyor belt only to find their items all messed up upon arrival.
Here are our top packing hacks for business travelers to avoid this situation.
Travel With a Carry-On Instead of Checked Baggage
Here is the thing: business travel is all about optimizing time to the smallest detail. This optimization starts at the airport. If you can fit all your belongings in a carry-on, you’ll save yourself the headache of waiting for your checked luggage at the conveyor belt.
It will also save you from the looming risk of losing your suitcase (oh, the nightmare!). Instead, you have nothing to fear when you have your bag right above you in your overhead bin.
Choose a soft-sided carry-on though, so that it can squeeze through the bin and move more freely in the plane aisle. We also recommend wheeled carry-ons because a duffel bag can tire you quickly.
Invest in Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are the real MVPs of business travel. Even if you are carrying a small carry-on, packing cubes come in hand. Use them to organize your bag by items: clothes, socks, sleepwear, workout clothes, clothes that need to be cleaned, and so on.
Organizing your bag in packing cubes is the best to avoid shuffling through your stuff every time you need to look for an item.
Invest in a Toiletry Bag
Toiletry bags come in all sizes and shapes. Multiple options exist, including bags with soft-shelled or transparent exteriors, hanging bags, multi-compartment bags, and more. Whichever kind you pick can help keep your toiletries from leaking on your important business clothing or papers.
5.) Adopt the Right Habits
Making your business trip an utter success can only be possible when following some good practices, before and after your trip. These are some of them.
Plan to Do Laundry
Ask your hotel beforehand if they have a cleaning service or if there is a cleaner nearby. This will cut down on the clothes you bring with you.
You can also quickly wash your smaller clothes (shirts, socks, underwear) under the sink and hanging them in the room if you find yourself needing clean clothes.
Don’t Unpack Everything
Don’t unpack your suitcase if you’re only staying for a few days. Seasoned business travelers recommend unpacking only if you are staying a week or more.
You can use resealable bags to help organize your clothes by day. Put the clothes of each day of your travel into a bag to make it easier for you to keep everything in order.
Keep It Minimal
As the days go on during a trip, our bags start filling up with junk like receipts, guides, maps, tickets, wrappings, and newspapers. Clean your suitcases and purses to get rid of these items. They can take up considerate space when there is a lot of them.
Bring Back-Up Documents
Bring scans of your most important documents to be ready in case a mishap happens. You can also take pictures of them and keep them on your phone and computer:
- Credit card
- Hotel reservation
- ID and driver’s license
Don’t forget that even if you’re taking all your precautions, an unfortunate event can happen pretty quickly. Travel insurance can protect both you and your belongings.
For more packing tips to avoid checking your bag while flying, click next to read the next article.