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Business Travel - Best Ways To Pack

Updated on September 15, 2016

In choosing clothing to pack for business, remember that you will be taken more seriously and treated with more respect in the world of business if you have the proper professional appearance.

What Does One Need For Business Travel?

Do you tend to pack too much luggage for your business trips? Many people do. Before you pack, consider the possible events that you may need to attend, such as meetings, business lunches, a formal dinner, a presentation ceremony, a religious service, a funeral, or whatever else may be pertinent to your traveling purposes and locations. Remember that you will likely have some free time that will require more casual clothing as well.

If you forget to pack something and need to purchase it at your destination, or if you purchase a sizeable quality of clothing or gifts on your trip, really consider shipping it home instead of packing it. I have gone one step farther, and shipped my luggage ahead of me to certain business travel destinations, sparing me the hassles of carrying luggage, luggage fees, customs inspections, x-ray scanning, etc.

The only thing I have in my hand when I travel to those locations is a bag containing my laptop, important documents, and a few personal items.

Appearance and Professionalism

In choosing clothing to pack for business, remember that you will be taken more seriously and treated with more respect in the world of business if you have the proper professional appearance.

I recall one client telling me about a conference trip that she attended one year. It was explained to her that it was planned to be business casual and casual clothing all the way. However, the coworker that provided this information to her concealed the fact that there would be a formal dinner included in the weekend events. Not knowing this, she did not pack a more formal outfit for the occasion and as result, was not able to attend. There was nowhere to find more appropriate attire in that particular town and no one from whom to borrow more appropriate clothing.

This client's coworker had concealed the facts from her in order to gain more attention for himself. He had packed an expensive suit for the dinner; however, he made no firm business deals that night and gained nothing from undermining his colleague. He did develop a rather poor reputation and lack of trust from among other colleagues, however, when they found out what he had done.

(photos this page, public domain)
(photos this page, public domain)

For business trips, review the agenda beforehand and ask your supervisor what events will occur and what types of outfits are appropriate.

When there is a formal dinner during business events, a woman might need to wear a dress with matching shoes and accessories. Sometimes an elegant pantsuit is appropriate; but a dress will more likely be expected.

A man will likely pack at least one suit automatically for business trips. He might need one or two more shirts and ties to go with it for variety. Black tie dinners require a formal gown, floor length for women and formal clothing for men. Semi-formal dinners require a gown for women that falls at about knee length or so, but not micro-mini.


Attire For the Female Head Of State

One caveat to all of this is, if we elect a female President of the United States, will she be taken seriously in a formal gown at a State Dinner or during an international visit?

I think she would need a very good clothing advisor and a great designer to provide an effective balance between femininity and strength.

Rolling Clothes for Packing

When traveling, it is likely better to pack to little that too much, and ship home whatever necessities. and gifts you purchases, especially if large, heavy or bulky.

Thoroughly Consider the Basics

A business traveler needs the right outfit for each event on the docket. For meetings, bring clothing that is easy-care and comfortable enough for you to sit down without ruining. Pack a few pairs of trousers or skirts and add multiple shirts and a jacket to mix and match for a variety of events. Try to use clothing that is easy-care and hard to wrinkle, or made of wrinkle free materials. For example, don't pack clothing made of linen - it wrinkles as soon as you take it out of the closet. Cotton wrinkles, but you can roll a cotton blouse around something firmer, like a rolled skirt or sweater, and it will stay more smooth..

To prevent or treat wrinkles, pack a clothes steamer, or a bottle of a preparation made especially to make wrinkles fall out of clothing, especially cotton. Even a spray bottle of water can be used the night before on wrinkled clothing and most or all of the wrinkles will be gone by morning. Be sure the clothing is on a hanger in order for this to work. You can also fill the hotel bathtub with steaming hot water and hang clothing in the bathroom; the steam will erase wrinkles.

Shoes are important, but you do not want to pack too many shoes for a trip; they take up room and are often heavy. I usually wear one pair for traveling and pack a more formal pair of shoes, along with a pair of running shoes or sandals. Pack socks and other items inside your shoes to save room in your bags.

It will likely become increasingly important to have your laptop computer with you on business trips. If you fly or take a train or bus, do not check your laptop with any of your bags. Carry it with you or you may lose it forever. An alterative is to rent a laptop at your destination and carry your important files with you in a set of memory sticks (flash drives). You might be able to rent a laptop from your hotel or a local technology store or rental business.

Toiletries and Accessories

Toiletries are necessities that need to be packed, especially if you have allergies that require special toiletry products. If you forget anything in this line, your hotel will usually be able to provide it. Gift shops and convenience stores in or near your hotel will carry them as well.

Along this line, static cling can be an aggravation on a business trip, as can lint. Use fabric softener sheets to rub on the back of the affected skirt, dress, or blouses/shirts, or use a spray anti-static such as the product Static Stop and similar brands. Lint brushes are carried nearly everywhere these days, including at local dollar stores. Carry two lint brushes with you, in case you wear one out or lose it.

Most hotels supply clothing irons, hairdryers, even curing irons. Many of them have laundry services and shoe shine booths. They may even have a hair salon for man and women.

When traveling, it is likely better to pack to little that too much, and ship home whatever necessities. and gifts you purchases, especially if large, heavy or bulky.


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