How To Pack For a Business Trip

03.21.23 by Travelex Insurance
Image credit: Getty Images

Business travel isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. According to Statista, U.S. travelers took ​250 million domestic business trips in 2021​, with the figure expected to rise ​to 487 million by 2026.​

Knowing how to pack is an essential skill for frequent business travelers. You want to avoid over-packing, yet not forget important items because you may not have time during your trip to run to the store. Many seasoned business travelers skip checking a bag but opt for one carry-on bag (and one “personal” item) only. Other business travelers feel like checking their bag minimizes stress and eliminates worry as to whether there will be room in the overhead compartments.

Whether it’s your first trip or a road warrior refresher, read on for our tips on how effectively pack for a business trip.

Twelve pro tips for business travel

  1. Check the weather and your schedule to plan outfits accordingly.
  2. Make a list of essentials and cross them off the list as you pack — don’t forget a technology list.
  3. Pack interchangeable outfits, always including versatile clothes to mix and match.
  4. Choose fabrics that resist wrinkles.
  5. Keep a toiletry kit packed with travel-sized items so you don’t have to re-pack each trip.
  6. Keep an extra set of chargers packed and leave your everyday chargers at home.
  7. Pack anything that could leak in a Ziploc bag or use tiny containers in a waterproof kit.
  8. Find out how business locals dress and consider this information while packing.
  9. Black and other darker clothing colors are your friends.
  10. Go through your regular business packing list regularly and see if you can eliminate unnecessary items for your next trip.
  11. Use packing cubes to compress clothes or roll them to reduce wrinkles.
  12. Save your back and get luggage with spinning wheels.

Packing for a business trip lasting several days

Longer business trips are often quite busy. In these cases, it's a good idea to mix and match one outfit for each day and travel with a carry-on.

For three- or four-day trips, plan to pack three tops, two dark bottoms, one basic dress, and two layering pieces (like a cardigan and jacket). Throw in two pairs of shoes — one with heels and one flat. Add versatile jewelry and/or scarf with a stylish purse that goes with everything. Pack toiletries (keep in mind the 3-1-1 rule), travel documents, and tech gear in your personal bag and you’re good to go. Wear something comfortable for travel days with a versatile jacket to and from your destination.

Packing for a multi-week business trip

The key to traveling for weeks at a time is versatility. Choose clothes to mix and match to go from business casual to dinner out without packing an entirely different outfit. Think about the variety of venues you may encounter — from meetings to cocktails — then pack clothes that can be dressed up or down depending on the event.

Business trip suggested packing list

  1. Basic bottoms: Pick one or two dark bottom colors and stick with them to eliminate the need for numerous shoes and the worry of lighter colors looking dirty faster.
  2. Basic tops: Coordinate to mix and match with your basic bottom colors in prints and solids.
  3. Layers: Consider a basic jacket, sweater, or blazer that can be worn over a variety of tops or a dress. For men, this means one suit and a blazer with several dark pants that can be mixed with a variety of shirts.
  4. Shoes: Plan to pack one or two pairs of shoes that match your color scheme. If you plan to do a lot of walking, opt for comfortable, low-heel shoes.
  5. Undergarments: Plan to pack enough for each day, plus a few extra.
  6. Travel and workout outfit: If your flight or drive is a long haul, wear something comfortable for traveling to and from your destination. Planning to work out? Opt for lightweight, quick-dry clothing that you can wash in the sink and hang to dry.
  7. Toiletries: Remember the 3-1-1 rule if you're using a carry-on only, and keep toiletries in an outer pocket for easy access at security. Stock up on travel sizes and store them in a travel-ready kit so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.
  8. Tech and documents: Pack your chargers, laptop, and any other digital device you may need for business. Don’t forget minimal office supplies (if needed) and keep all your travel documents in one place (with digital backups) for quick access. Remember business cards and an envelope for business expense receipts.
  9. Other: If you’re traveling in the rainy season or a rainy location, slip a compact umbrella in a side pocket for easy access once you land or in transit. Carry an empty water bottle for quick and cheap hydration on the go.

It’s also important to consider the importance of travel insurance for business travelers. With benefits including protection for baggage and personal effects, cancellation, trip delay and interruption, rental cars and more. 

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