The business trip is actually a pretty sweet deal. It may be work, but you’re allowed to get away from the physical confines of your office; at least for a few days. Think of it as a vacation away from yourself. You’ve still got things to do and commitments to meet, but for a short while those commitments are in a new city, in a new environment where the minutiae of the familiar is far, far away.
But this can also be a deeply stressful time. Instead of coming home to your relaxing home, you come back to an unfamiliar hotel room. Instead of being able to lay back and check out your TiVo, you have to struggle through an unfamiliar in-room Pay-Per-View system.
Take some of the edge by packing the perfect bag. Don’t stress about if you have enough clean shirts and socks, by letting EveryGuyed teach you ‘How to Pack for a Business Trip’.
You want to shove your entire morning routine into one toiletries bag if possible. Your toothbrush, your cleanser, your moisturizer, your razor, your shave essentials, and whatever deodorant and colognes you use. Though in the past hotels offered some complimentary toiletries, few do anymore; and even then, they’re pretty low quality.
Pack only items you plan on using everyday, and pack it into one manageable toiletries bag. Make sure to pay items that risk leaking in a Ziploc first, since there’s nothing worse than your $40 moisturizer all over your razor, and not on your face.
Though in the past hotels offered some complimentary toiletries, few do anymore; and even then, they’re pretty low quality
For trips lasting less than a week, bring underclothes equal to the number of days in your trip plus one, with a limit of seven. Any more and you start to cut into room for other items, and once you enter the realm of ‘trips-requiring-more-than-seven-pairs-of-underpants’, you should just have your clothes cleaned.
For trips lasting less than a week, it’s unlikely you’ll need more than two suits. Wearing one suit for the trip will help cut down on space. The second is ideally kept in a garment bag, but this is cumbersome and inconvenient for longer trips.
Turn the suit jacket inside out, and fold it into quarters and this should keep it fairly wrinkle free in your suitcase. Be sure to keep heavy items away so as to avoid pressing creases in. If you’re suit comes out of your bag wrinkled, crank up your shower and hang it in the bathroom for 15 minutes with the door shut: the steam will allow the fabric to relax and become wrinkle-free.
If you’re suit comes out of your bag wrinkled, crank up your shower and hang it in the bathroom for 15 minutes with the door shut: the steam will allow the fabric to relax and become wrinkle-free.
Four dress shirts is a good number for most trips, unless you’re planning a long stay.
Some people advocate putting tissue paper between dress shirts to avoid creasing. We’re not say that this doesn’t work, but in our experience taking trips, we’ve never been disappointed by simply folding the shirts carefully and ensuring they’re not over-packed.
Much of the creasing actually comes from weight and pressure from other items. Pack smartly and you should be all right. Don’t carry too many shirts, and don’t get too ambitious. White and blue are your workplace staples here, and packing two of each should see you through your trip.
If you still find your shirts or suits creased, there are a few things you can do about it. Light wrinkles can be handled yourself. Most hotels carry irons, and suits can be ‘pressed’ by hanging the wrinkled suit in the bathroom, and taking a very hot shower.
If the situation is truly bad, call down to the front desk and ask them to have your suit pressed; emergencies like that are what they’re there for.
Most hotels carry irons, and suits can be ‘pressed’ by hanging the wrinkled suit in the bathroom, and taking a very hot shower
You’re going to need something casual at some point. Even trips lasting a few days include things like drinks after work, and other impromptu outings.
Pack one pair of jeans or khakis, one t-shirt and one polo shit. Add a sweater for cold-weather destinations, and swap the jeans for lightweight pants or shorts if your business trip takes you to warmer climates. Bring some sandals too, if you’re lucky enough to be near a beach.
Shoes & Socks
If you’re going by air travel, consider wearing slip on loafers. While not the most fashion-forward choice, you’re going to need to slide your shoes off and on again when you go through the metal detector at the airport. Pack a pair of lace-ups as your second pair of shoes.
Stuff your second pair with rolled socks to keep their shape. Slip them inside of a shoe bag to prevent them from staining anything else in your suitcase. Pack enough socks for every day of your trip, plus one, not including the pair you’re wearing.
Neckties can be kept in an inexpensive zippered necktie case. Like a tie rack, this thing will pay for itself, keeping your neckties flat, clean, and protected.
Keep it minimal. This is a business trip, so you want to stay professional with jewelry and accessories kept at a minimum. If you’re going with a pocket square, go with a simple, plain white piece that goes with everything and comes off as more practical than flashy.
The Carry On
Keep it simple. This is a business trip, not a jaunt to Cabo San Lucas. Carry an attaché case with enough room for your laptop, a phrasebook (if necessary), your Blackberry, a newspaper, and your essential travel documents. Don’t clutter it up. It sucks being that one business traveler who can never find anything in his bag.
Keep it simple. This is a business trip, not a jaunt to Cabo San Lucas
Pack light, and pack efficiently. You don’t want to over pack but you don’t want to miss anything either.
- Toiletries: Take a small cosmetics bag with everything you need.
- Underclothes: Pack enough one for each day of for your trip plus one.
- Suits: Wear one, pack one. Pack a second if you’re planning on a trip of longer than a week.
- Shirts: Pack enough shirts to last
- Casual Wear: Bring two changes, so you’ll be prepared for any eventuality.
- Socks & Shoes: Bring a second pair of shoes, and bring as many pairs of socks as you have underwear.
- Accessories: Stay minimal & classy. Keep neckties in a zip-holder. Less is more, and when traveling, room comes at a premium.
Still stumped as to what you should bring? Need more practical packing help? Use the comments box if you’ve got more questions, or just want to contribute to the discussion!