Comfort and convenience should be at the very heart of any business trip, with tighter schedules and higher stakes than virtually any holiday for pleasure can ever have. It goes without saying that acute organisational skills and a passion for forward-planning will serve you well on any work-focused journey abroad. But without a streamlined and strategic approach to packing your suitcase, your business trip could be doomed to fail.
Today, we’re taking a look inside the ultimate business traveler’s suitcase, breaking down the clothing, accessories, electronics, entertainment and other extras that will see you through any business trip, rain or shine. With provisions for plans A and B, you can guarantee you’re always prepared no matter how your itinerary changes (or what the weather throws your way).
Step 1. Clothing
The first step when packing for any business trip should be deciding what to wear, and when. When it comes to colors, less is always more. As your plain black or white tees, blue denim jeans and a casual shirt or blouse should see you through all of your time off the clock (whether you’re partaking in tourist activities or meeting a friend, colleague or client for a meal).
The same strict simplicity should be applied to your business attire – with heavy materials and rich patterns being ditched in favor of one or two simple, versatile ensembles that can be mixed and matched as needed to keep you looking and feeling sharp throughout your trip while remaining totally comfortable.
Depending on the climate and weather conditions in your destination, you may also need to save some room for sunglasses and sun cream or a winter jacket and umbrella . So do your research and make sure that you’ve got a compact collection of climate-friendly essentials stowed away in your luggage to prevent any nasty surprises.
Step 2. Electronics & Entertainment
Regardless of the sector you work in, devices will be utterly essential on any business trip – which will undoubtedly include your smartphone, but may also include a laptop or tablet, a USB flash drive or external hard drive, headphones and potentially an e-reader (and, of course, any power adapters and portable chargers needed to sustain your suite of travel-friendly tech).
While the devices and gadgets you need for any meetings and presentations will undoubtedly take priority, it’s also important to think about your recreational needs as a traveler and make sure entertainment options are varied and plentiful. That means ensuring you’ve got access to books, magazines, films, TV shows or whatever else you use to relax and indulge at home. Business trips aren’t without their fair share of stress, and anything you can do to bring a little piece of home with you is always recommended.
Step 3. Creature Comforts
As well as bringing your favorite home comforts with you on your trip, it’s also important to consider what travel-specific comforts you’ll need to make the journey itself as tranquil and stress-free as physically possible.
Options include everything from ergonomic neck pillows, ear plugs and eye masks to tasty edibles to eat on your way and protective, hydrating skincare products to keep your face ‘well fed’, too. If you’re committed to comfort, this may be a time-consuming phase in the packing process – but thankfully shouldn’t take up too much suitcase space.
Step 4. Professional Extras
Last but not least, depending on the nature of your business trip, there’ll no doubt be some specific documents and other materials that need to make the journey with you. This could include anything from hard copies of reports, presentations or meeting notes to any printed materials such as handouts, product brochures or business cards – but whatever it is you need, it pays to assume that printing at your destination is not an option.
Packing for any business trip is a lesson in preparedness and, frankly, pessimism – as an expertly packed suitcase includes contingency plans for all scenarios and solutions to all problems. The key is to keep your packing lightweight, practical, flexible and focused on the bare essentials – guaranteeing comfort and convenience, but leaving any dead weight behind.
Luke Conod is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation, providing competitively priced men’s jeans and other high-quality clothing from leading international labels.