Business travel...some people embrace it; a new city every week, people to meet and restaurants to try, not to mention having someone to make your bed every day. Other people prefer to put their kids to bed and eat home cooked meals. Most of the clients we work with have some amount travel that’s required as part of their job. Whichever camp you fall into, simplifying your packing list should make for a more enjoyable experience!
The number one thing that every seasoned business traveler will tell you is to only pack a carry on - never check a bag. The reasons for this are twofold, first retrieving your checked luggage takes valuable time, which could leave you rushing to make it to that important meeting. Secondly, any time you check a bag, there’s a chance it may not make it to it's intended destination. We’ve all been there. There’s nothing worse than having your power suit and heels end up in LA when you’re in London. Sticking to a carry on is the way to go.
When packing give some thought to each piece you choose; think about versatility (can I wear it more than once? Does it fill different roles?), bulk (how much space will it take up?) and feel (how does it make you feel?).
- Versatility: Try to avoid bringing too many items that only serve one purpose. For example, a black wrap dress in jersey, not only travels well but can work well during the day when worn with a cami underneath and opaque tights. Wear that same dress at night without a cami, bare legs and a statement necklace.
Similarly, for men, a suit jacket can do double duty as a sport coat with denim for a more casual meeting.
A fashion sneaker that you may wear to commute could also serve you in the hotel gym (assuming you’re going for a lighter workout, not 20 miles on the treadmill!).
- Bulk: If you need to bring some bulkier, hard to pack items like a winter coat or a tall boot, incorporate those pieces into the outfit you wear on the plane, so you don’t have to struggle to stuff them into your carry on. If you need a blazer or a suit jacket for your meeting, wear it on the plane and have the flight attendants hang it for you. That way you avoid packing it and it stays fresh and wrinkle free!
Feel: Business travel is not the time to experiment and try out new pieces. We recommend choosing appropriate, modern outfits that you know make you feel comfortable and confident. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worn that outfit 3 times this season already, chances are people you’re traveling to meet with haven’t seen you in it yet!
Also think about comfort. Make sure you do have a comfortable pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and off at security. A cozy cashmere wrap is also a great piece to have handy in your carry on.
These tips should make traveling for business a bit easier! So, pack up, get out there and kill it at your meetings. Oh, one other tip...definitely reward yourself with a post meeting/pre-flight drink in the airport bar, you’ve earned it!
What are some of your favorite tips for business travel?