How to Pack Light on a Business Trip (For Men)

Travelling for business can be hugely disconcerting for those who have a tough time balancing two irksomely conflicting requirements – the need to travel light and the desire to wear sleek business outfits, most of which can get bulky.

So how do you ensure that you have everything you’re going to need on this trip, without carrying a bag that weighs you down at every step?

I may have a few answers for you…

1. Invest in a Suitable Carry-on Bag

You need not have a plethora of travel bags in different sizes in your closet. Just one sensible buy can enable you to travel like an expert.

Because you’re travelling for business, it is imperative that you will be carrying suits. And if you want to get all your stuff into one bag, you need to pick wisely, especially when it comes to your carry-on.

You will do well to go for a bag with dimensions that are large enough, but do not breach airline limits. The first step to be taken here would be to look up the current standards of major airlines so that you can make an informed decision.

Typically, most men tend to carry a small rectangular rolling suitcase. It’s convenient to carry and accommodates most of the stuff that is carried on business trips. However, you will need to be careful when packing a suit into it as it can crumple the jacket, if it is broader and/or longer than the suitcase itself.

You can also consider other bags such as duffel bags that open at the top, small-sized hanger bags, one-strap duffels or flat rectangular messenger bags with a shoulder strap.

Obviously each bag will come with its own upsides and flipsides. Hanger bags are perfect for carrying suits, but will not be very roomy. Duffel bags, on the other hand, can fit in almost everything but tend to scrunch everything, making your clothes look sloppy.

Remember, you need to pick a bag for business travel and not a leisure trip, so you need to be prudent in your choice. Imagine having to head straight to a business meeting after getting off the plane with a neon-colored nylon bag in tow. That would be cringe-worthy!

A proper business bag should be simple in design, muted in color and devoid of any adornments, except maybe a refined-looking monogram, which can serve as a status symbol.

Materials such as leather and canvas are most preferable than synthetic materials like felt and fur. Go for bags in dark shades such as black, navy blue, charcoal gray and deep brown. Leather handles and trims look way better than nylon ones. Shoulder straps may be more comfortable, but might not look professional.

At the end of the day, don’t let the purposes of the trip out of your mind. Instead of make a bold statement with your bag, focus on getting one that is practical, chic and minimal.

2. Carry Only What You Will Use

In order to pack light for business, you will need to ensure that your wardrobe comprises a few versatile pieces, rather than a different outfit for every occasion.

If you’re travelling over a weekend, you can pack a jacket, two pairs of trousers, two shirts and sundries. This ensures that you don’t repeat your outfits on your trip, plus keeps the space needs to a bare minimum. For a longer trip, an additional jacket would be a necessity, along with more shirts.

Avoid carrying linen suits when traveling as they will wrinkle en route. Go for woolen suits instead as they’re comfortable and trouble-free. Whether you plan to have ready-made or bespoke suit, make sure to pick a light/medium weight, dark-colored one in worsted wool. That will make you look erudite and hold you in good stead with most shirts. Plus, it won’t crease. When carrying two jackets, keep one dressy and the other sporty for variety.

Of course, you’ll be wearing the suit trousers with your suit jacket, but try to team them up with other pieces as well. A charcoal gray trouser (from your charcoal gray suit set) can be worn with a lighter sports jacket for a more business-casual look. If you’re aiming for an even more casual look, wearing a pair of khakis can do the trick.

As far as shirts are concerned, wrinkle-free cotton is the way to go! One plain crisp white and one light blue shirt should be enough for the lightest packing. If you need more, get a couple of shirts with a little color and subtle pattern to be worn more casually.

When it comes to shoes, the plain black leather oxford balmorals are staples and should be carried along. A pair of dark brown leather shoes would be a good choice, if you’re carrying more than one pair. If you’re going to be exercising, take along a pair of tennis shoes; if not, you can carry something casual instead like loafers.

3. Master These Packing Tips and Tricks

Packing is not just about stuffing things into a bag. It is more like an art of creating a balance between how much you can get into the bag and how conveniently you can carry it around. No one likes to find their clothes wrinkled up upon unpacking after reaching the destination. You always want to find them in ready-to-wear condition.

Here’s how you can make the most of the way you pack –

  • Always pack your shoes in a shoe bag first and then place them at the bottom of the bag. They won’t crumple, so using them as the base layer makes complete sense. Place your softer items on top of them. The shoe bag will ensure that your clothes remain clean and don’t come in contact with the dirt from the shoes.
  • Instead of folding your shirts and jackets horizontally, fold them vertically and roll them lightly. This will prevent deep creases in them and they will take up less space in the bag.
  • Keep your toiletries together in a small case/pouch so that they do not end up getting scattered or leaking on your clothes.
  • By wearing a sharp outfit on the plane (especially if the journey/flight is a short one), you will have an extra set of business-appropriate clothes on you without occupying any luggage space. Plus, it will lend you a clean-cut and suave look, in case you bump into an acquaintance at the airport.
  • Don’t forget to leave a little room in your suitcase for souvenirs.

Packing light for a business trip requires more of common sense than anything else. All you need to keep in mind is to cast aside what you don’t need, be sensible about what goes into your bag and you should be good to go. Remember, embarking on a business trip need not mean that you compromise style or comfort. You can have both. Keep the above pointers in mind for business travel that is sophisticated, stylish and hassle-free.

About the Author

Nicola Reynor is a passionate blogger who loves to blog about fashion, beauty, travel, health, fitness, wedding and lifestyle trends. When in leisure time, she prefers to spend time traveling with friends and family. You can find her at Nicola+.