If you frequently travel for business, packing might be one of your least favourite activities. Knowing what you’ll need and being be prepared for unpredictable weather and impromptu dinner plans, while trying to keep your bag light and compact, can be a real challenge. To make it a bit easier, we’ve compiled the top tips for packing for business travel to help you master the art.
1. Avoid checked luggage
Even if your company is covering the cost of checked baggage fees, only taking carry-on baggage is the number one tip for easy travel. Travelling with carry-on baggage only means you avoid standing in line to check your bag in and waiting for bags when you land. You’ll also be the first person through customs, saving valuable time and avoid the chance of lost baggage. The following tips will help you fit everything you need neatly into a carry-on bag.
2. Choosing clothes
So often we take ‘just in case’ outfits that never end up being worn and take up valuable space in our bags. So it’s best to make a plan and write lists of all the essentials you’ll need. Start with looking up the weather for your destination and plan outfits around this. You should also stick with a colour theme. Basic colours like black, white, navy, grey and neutrals can be mixed and matched with different coloured ties or accessories so you’ll be able to form several outfits from just a few items of clothing. You should also not pack more than two pairs of shoes; work shoes that can double as going out shoes, and casual shoes that could also be used for physical activity.
3. Use hotel laundry
Packing light means you’ll be wearing the same item of clothing more than once. This means you’ll need to take advantage of your hotel’s laundry. Bring individual packets of laundry detergent as they take up less room and will fit within liquid restrictions for carry-on baggage. Also make sure you have some plastic bags to separate your dirty clothing from clean items.
4. The art of packing clothes
Now that you have only the essential items of clothing, you need to pack them in a way that takes up the least room, while also preventing creasing. If you’re landing in the morning you may only have time to quickly change in the hotel before heading out to a meeting, so it's important that you’re clothes are wrinkle-free and presentable.
Investing in wrinkle free clothing is the easiest way to keep your clothes fresh-looking, otherwise we recommend the rolling technique. Instead of folding your clothes and laying them flat in your bag, tightly roll them. Roll up socks and stuff them inside shoes to save space and help the shoes keep their shape. You can also roll your belts around the collar of your shirts to keep them stiff.
It’s also a good idea to pack in order. If you’re landing in the morning, place your first outfit at the top of the pile, followed by your evening wear, then pyjamas. This avoids rummaging through your bag and messing up all your neat packing straight away. Make sure bulky items like shoes are at the bottom of the suitcase and the lighter things on top, and separate shoes from clothing with plastic to avoid them getting dirty.
5. Packing your suit
If you’re on a long business trip, try to stick with just two suits – wear one on the plane, and pack the other one in your bag. For many of you, the thought of packing a suit in your luggage is probably a daunting one. No matter how carefully you fold it, it always comes out a wrinkled mess. But there is an easy art to packing suits.
For roller bags, place the suit in a plastic dry cleaning bag on a coat hanger, fold it in half, and lay it flat your suitcase. It's as simple as that. And for smaller duffle bags, try poking both shoulders inside out. Fold the suit in half, so the lapels touch, then fold it again and place in the bag. When you arrive at your destination, pop the shoulders back out and your jacket will be good to go.
Most airlines will have restrictions on the size of liquid you can take through as carry-on, so try storing things like shampoo and conditioner in small bottles and make sure to double bag them to prevent any spills. Pharmacies and supermarkets have travel sized versions of everything from deodorant and toothpaste, to dry shampoo and hairspray. Even better still, consider using the toiletries provided by the hotel, or buying anything you need when you land, to avoid packing liquids all together. Another top tip is to place a binder clip over your razor blade to prevent scratches and to preserve it so you don’t need to pack extra heads.
7. Consolidate devices
Another space saving hack is to consolidate your devices. Start with removing any items that can be replaced with another. Rather than a bulky laptop, consider taking an ipad with attachable keypad. Instead of carrying a book to read on the plane, download ebooks to your tablet. You should also consider having copies of all your important travel documents on your device, including your passport, credit cards, ID, etc, in case you lose anything while away.
When it comes to chargers, try and take devices that use the same charger. For example, an iPhone and iPad will use the same charger, avoiding the need for dozens of cords tangled up in your bag. For overseas trips, make sure you have an adapter too. If it’s a short trip, if you ensure all your devices are charged before you go, you may be able to avoid bringing chargers all together.
Pack light on your next trip
It is possible to fit everything you need into a carry on bag if you know what you’re doing. Using the right packing techniques and only taking the essentials can get you through any work trip, from any overnight interstate trip, to 2 week long international travel.