8 Easy Packing Hacks for Business Travelers
Preparing for a business trip can be tricky even for the most experienced of travelers. There’s the length to consider, the weather, the dress code, your mode of transport and, of course, the infamous weight limits.
But what about your luggage? Should you check a case or just stick to carry on?
Some people will go all out and try to pack their entire summer/winter collection into one suitcase, unable to decide what they’ll need. Others will go minimal, stuffing just a clean set of underwear into their briefcase.
We generally find that, as with anything, what you want to try and aim for is a happy medium ground between these two approaches, planning ahead carefully to make sure you’ll send the right message with your wardrobe whilst on your business trip.
While no trip is identical, there are a few easy packing hacks that every business traveler should know and apply every time they get that suitcase out.
Pick the right case
Ideally, you’ll want to avoid checking your suitcase. Even though you’re unlikely to lose your luggage in transit, checking luggage is still a pain in the neck.
Instead of breezing through security to your departure gate, you’ll first have to make a stop at the bag drop area, hope and pray that your case makes it on the plane with you, then wait for it to appear at the luggage “carousel”—a fun word at the carnival, but not so much at the airport. If you’re short on time, you’ll regret making that decision.
Investing in a business carry on (from brands like Travelpro or Briggs & Riley) or an underseater might cost you a lot initially, but it will save you time and money in the long run.
If you opt for a larger suitcase, look for one that’s airline approved, lightweight, spacious, and comes with a suiter and other premium features, like a warranty that covers airline damage. Don’t let an inferior suitcase take up your valuable time.
Have a checklist
Haphazardly emptying the contents of your wardrobe into a suitcase may, admittedly, be the quickest way to pack, so if you’re running late for a flight, full steam ahead. This method does, however, have some flaws.
You’ll probably find that you sacrificed your toothbrush for an abundance of socks in your packing frenzy, or that your old work clothes found their way into your case instead of your best work shirt. Sound familiar?
There’s a simple solution. Write yourself a checklist. Make a couple if you’re a frequent traveler. Prepare one list for overnight trips, one for weekends, and one for longer trips.
Edit until the list is perfect and you’ll never have to frantic pack again, but just throw a few things in your suitcase and head out of the door.
Keep your travel outfit simple
It may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people miss this trick. Bright colors and patterns are fun, but unfortunately, they don’t go with everything, so you’ll end up having to pack entire seperate outfits rather than recycling items of clothing.
On the other hand, a pair of fitted black pants or dark jeans will match almost any outfit and can be dressed up with a blouse or shirt or dressed down with a T-shirt. Take a jacket instead of a hoodie and you’ll be appropriately dressed for most situations.
Pack light and pack well
You’ll need to develop a ‘carry on only’ mentality. Generally speaking, two suits are enough for any business trip, given that you’re unlikely to be going somewhere that doesn’t have a laundry service.
The same goes for shoes—one pair on your feet, the other in your case, and this should be plenty. When it comes to space, don’t miss an opportunity. Stuff your shoes with socks, roll your clothes, and use packing cubes to organize your luggage efficiently.
Prepare your toiletries
Frequent travelers will already know exactly what they need for their business trips, so why not get them ready in advance?
If you’re staying at a hotel, you might even be able to leave shampoo and shower gel off your list, and if not, you can purchase most toiletries in travel sizes.
Alternatively, get a TSA-approved toiletry bag with re-usable 100 ml bottles. Refill your kit after each trip and leave it ready and waiting for you and that’s one less job to do before your next journey.
Check your weight
If you’re checking your luggage, it’s worth investing in a portable luggage scale or a suitcase with a built-in scale so you can make sure that you’re not over the weight limit before rolling your suitcase to the bag drop.
The 30 seconds it takes to weigh your bag at home will save you a lot of time in the airport, not to mention the embarrassment of having to repack your things in front of a line of impatient passengers.
Reduce your electronics
These days it seems like electronic devices and chunky chargers take up half our luggage allowance. Most of the time you’ll only need a laptop or a tablet, not both. Likewise, a smartphone can replace an iPod or a camera.
Cables often double up too, so just take one of each, and with charging sockets in every airport and coffee shop, you can probably leave the power bank at home too.
I’ve left this till last, but really, the first thing you should do before even looking at your packing list is empty out all the leftover odds and ends from your last trip. This applies to your briefcase or handbag as much as it does your suitcase.
Old train tickets, boarding passes, receipts, and that half-eaten sandwich can all go (because let’s face it, even the dog won’t eat that now). Start each trip with a fresh, clean, and clutter-free bag.