How to Pack for Business Travel
Whether you’re going to an industry conference or a client meeting overseas, packing for a business trip is never easy. From finding a way to keep your suit neat and crease-free to remembering to pack all of your essential toiletries and charging cables, there is a lot to remember and not always a huge amount of time to do it in.
Indeed, with everything from printing your boarding passes to organising transport to the airport and booking short-stay airport parking to worry about, leaving your packing to the last minute can be all too easy. To help you out, here at LJLA we have put together this all-in-one guide to packing for business travel, including:
- Tips for packing light on business trips
- Step-by-step guides to folding clothes effectively
- Our business travel packing checklist
How to pack light for a business trip
Packing light for a business trip doesn’t mean having to sacrifice on style or comfort. However, it does mean really thinking about the items you definitely need prior to travel and sticking to these items. As a rule, these basic items can be broken down into three categories. These are:
This will usually take up the most space in your suitcase or travel bag. However, by packing in an efficient way, you can still ensure plenty of room is kept free for other items.
For men, depending on how formal your business trip is, we recommend packing only one suit for trips lasting five days or fewer. You can then simply refresh your outfit by packing a new shirt for each day, a number of ties and maybe a few different pocket squares. Other than this you simply need to remember to pack the correct number of clean pairs of underwear and socks for your trip, as well as a pair of shoes that matches the suit. You may also want to pack a pair of pyjamas. Remember, you can save space by travelling in the suit and shoes you are planning to wear during the business trip.
For women, for a three of four day trip, we suggest packing four tops, two pairs of dark trousers or skirts, and one basic dress. Depending on the climate, two layering items, such as cardigans or jackets, should also be considered. Accessories such as a scarf, a small handbag and a few versalite items of jewellery may also be packed to ensure outfits can be styled differently each day. When it comes to shoes, we recommend always packing a pair of comfortable flats, alongside a pair of heels if your trip is a more formal affair. Once again, remembering to pack nightwear is also essential.
Toiletries, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, make-up and any medications you need are all essentials. However, when packing light, it may be worth checking with your hotel or accomodation to check if other items such as soap, shower gel, razors and shaving foam will be provided on-site. If they are, this could save you valuable space. For any items you do need to pack yourself, remember to buy travel size toiletries and always ensure any liquids meet airline safety requirements. These should be listed on the website of your chosen airline.
Business essentials and personal items
When going on a business trip, you need to ensure you pack all the technical equipment, files and other documents required to carry out your work. However, there are still ways to pack everything you need without overpacking. For example, try to convert any files or documents you need into a digital format. This way you only need to pack your work laptop or tablet. Space may also need to be saved for essentials such as charging cables and plug socket adapters.
When it comes to personal items, these should be kept to a minimum when packing light for a business trip. However, it’s important to save room for your passport, travel documents and car park booking confirmation. These should be stored in an easily accessible area of your luggage. Finally, small items such as a pair of sunglasses, a watch and a small jewellery box could be packed if you have remaining space in your suitcase.
How to fold business clothes for travel
Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to folding clothes for travel. Some items - such as dress shirts, suits and dresses - may travel best when carefully folded and packed at the top of your case. Other items, such as t-shirts, underwear and socks, take up less space and don't crease when they are tightly rolled and placed at the bottom of your luggage.
That being said, in order to fold business clothes such as dress suits, pant suits, shirts, blouses and dresses, we would suggest following these steps.
- Button up the item and lay on a flat surface.
- Fold both sleeves diagonally across the back, allowing them to overlap at the cuffs. Then fold the sleeves up, so the cuffs meet the back of the collar.
- Fold both sides inwards across the back of the shirt, allowing them to overlap in the middle.
- From the bottom, fold the shirt into thirds and flip, so the buttons facing upwards. Then pack at the top of your suitcase.
- Lay the trousers on a flat surface and fold in half lengthways, so one leg sits on top of the other.
- Fold the trousers in half horizontally, ensuring the side seams still match up.
- Use your hand to smooth out any wrinkles from the fabric and then place at the top of your suitcase.
Business trip packing checklist
So, you’ve packed your case, got your travel documents at the ready, but still feel like you are forgetting something. To help put your mind at rest, below we have listed the essential items that will almost always be required when you go on a business trip. This can be used as a checklist to ensure you don’t forget something important.
- Enough pair of underwear and socks/tights for each day of your trip. It can be a good idea to also pack one extra pair of both, just in case.
- Your business suit (if you plan to wear one).
- A fresh shirt/blouse/dress for each day you are away.
- Accessories such as ties, scarves, pocket squares, belts, items of jewellery.
- A pair of dress shoes (women may want a pair of both flats and heels).
- One pair of pyjamas.
- Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, showergel, deodorant, perfume/aftershave, sanitary products, make-up).
- Chargers for all devices you are taking with you.
- Passport, boarding passes, car park booking confirmations.