The Ultimate List of Packing Tips for Business Trips

Business travelers face a unique set of challenges and considerations when packing for a trip. From dress codes to presentation materials to strict time constraints, anyone traveling for business faces a lot of demands without the grace of much flexibility.

Luckily, smart packing strategies can help ease the potential stresses of business travel. Improve your business travel experience with these effective packing tips.

These packing tips will make your next business trip easier.

Get clear on your itinerary.

When you’re traveling for business, time is of the essence. So it’s critical that you have a clear understanding of your itinerary and are prepared in the event of delays or emergencies.

To that end, save your itinerary to your phone and print a hard copy. Make sure the itinerary includes information about your flights, transportation, accommodations, restaurant locations, weather, dress and etiquette codes, meeting times and locations, and so on. Also include contact information for your airline, transportation service, hotel, colleagues back home, and clients or partners at your destination.

Invest in a quality suitcase.

This might seem trivial, but it can actually make a huge difference. The right suitcase makes your travel easier by wheeling easily, being light enough to hoist into an overhead bin, having accessible compartments, and providing an organizational structure that boosts your efficiency every time you need to locate something inside it. Some modern smart luggage is even equipped with amenities in the form of built-in USB chargers and geo-locating apps. If you travel frequently for business, a quality suitcase will quickly become one of your most important companions.

Only take a carry-on.

Checking a bag is just too risky. Best case scenario, you lose precious time waiting around for your luggage at baggage claim. Worst case scenario, your suitcase (and your presentation materials) never shows up at all. Make it a priority to squeeze all your gear into a carry-on with these tips for packing light. If it comes down to having to check a bag or shipping a few items ahead, choose to ship ahead.

Maximize your wardrobe.

A critical element of packing light is packing minimal clothing. Maximize your wardrobe by packing only neutral colors (e.g. black or navy) that can be mixed and matched with each other. Pack items that won’t wrinkle easily, check the weather at your destination to make sure your attire is appropriate, and layer your clothing in the suitcase based on which pieces will need to be accessed first. And remember: There probably isn’t a hotel in America that doesn’t offer on-site laundry and/or dry cleaning, so you should be able to get by with just a handful of pieces so long as you’re willing to re-wear a few items of clothing.

Prioritize your electronics.

Business travelers today are hugely dependent on technology in the form of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and so on. So these items—and their care—should be at the top of any business traveler’s packing list. To that end, keep these packing tips in mind whenever you’re schlepping electronics for work:

  • Before leaving for your destination, make sure all of your electronics are secured according to your company’s policies. Even if said policies are lenient, it’s always a good idea to make sure all your devices are password-protected and include up-to-date antivirus software. You may also want to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Charge all your devices before leaving so you’re starting with full juice during your travels.
  • Be absolutely certain you’ve packed the correct charger for every device in your bag.
  • If you’re traveling overseas, bring along a universal adapter kit so you’re confident you’ll have power no matter what.
  • Remember that electronics can fail at any time. So if you’re traveling with digital documents that are critical to the purpose of your trip, make sure to also bring along hard copies in the event of a technological meltdown.

Whether traveling to New York City, Hong Kong, or anywhere in between, business travelers can save themselves a ton of hassle by prioritizing the packing elements that are most relevant to their needs. These include your itinerary, luggage, wardrobe, and electronics. Take care of these fundamentals via the packing tips above, and you’ll find business travel doesn’t have to be one giant headache.

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