Going on a business trip with only a carry-on? You can do it. It may be a challenge, but it is definitely possible to get everything you need into your carry on bag.
In this article, we’ll give you some of the top tips on how to pack for a business trip.
Before you board your plane, make sure you’re well aware of any size or weight requirements. Some airlines have hidden fees. They may not be forthcoming with how much they can charge for excess baggage.
If you know the airline approved size and weight of the bag, start building your outfits.
1. How to Pack for a Business Trip: Only Take One Coat
Coats are big and bulky. Even if you’re going somewhere cold, you only need one outer coat. Wear that coat on the plane, and they won’t count it as part of your luggage. Plan your outfits for the week or weekend around that one coat.
You may be going somewhere where you’ll need extra bulky winter accessories. If that’s the case, wear those on the plane as well.
2. Don’t Use Your Purse or Laptop Bag as Your Personal Item
Unless you’re packing extra light, take a larger tote bag. This will count as your personal item, and you can fit more in it.
For women, you may want to consider a tote bag that can double as a purse. You can put in your laptop, wallet, and pack in a couple of outfits or small accessories. You can unpack the excess items at the hotel and use the tote for a purse or briefcase the rest of your trip.
You can buy very chic looking tote bags at almost any price range. Because it is a tote, doesn’t mean it has to be casual or look unprofessional.
3. Coordinate Your Outfits Ahead of Time
Figure out what you’ll wear each day. Don’t throw in clothing “in case.” Instead, only pack what you’ll need.
For women, polyester, nylon, rayon, and acrylic dresses or pants are a great staple. You can throw them in your carry on and they won’t wrinkle. Pack a few of them with a couple of blazers and tees and you’re ready to go.
For men, suits can be worn several times. Switch out the collared shirt and tie and you’ll look fresh each day.
Only pack work out gear or non-business clothing if you know you’ll need it. Otherwise, stick to your planned outfits and anything you’ll sleep in.
4. Limit Your Shoes
When you take only a carry-on, you can’t also take 5 pairs of shoes. Instead, you should whittle it down. If you can get by with only one pair, that’s fantastic.
For women, wearing a nice professional pair of boots, flats or heels on the plane works well. It also means you don’t have to clog up your suitcase with them.
For men, you can get away with one pair of dress shoes. As you might have guessed, you can also wear them on the plane.
If you’re planning to work out or walk a lot, pack a pair of tennis shoes in your carry on. If that makes the carry on too bulky, you can always tuck them into your tote.
If you have zero room for your tennis shoes, tie them together and then tie them onto one of your bags. Most airlines will consider them as part of your carry on. As long as they’re not in the way, it is unlikely they’ll force you to remove them.
5. Buy Travel Sized Accessories
Don’t depend on the hotel to have all the necessary toiletries you’ll need. Some hotels are well stocked, while others aren’t. If you expect them, you may find yourself running to the store at the last minute at your destination. Even worse, you may have to buy them at the hotel or airport where the markup is incredible.
Instead, buy travel-sized conditioner, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. If you have anything else you can’t live without, most stores sell airline approved empty bottles. You can siphon your favorite products into them.
Remember, if you’re only taking a carry-on, you can only pack one quart-sized bag of liquids. All liquids must be under 100 milliliters.
If you must have a full sized bottle of something, buy it at the airport. This way, you can carry it on, as you bought it after security.
6. Bring a Steamer
Invest in a travel-sized steamer. Most hotels will have steamers or irons, but you can’t expect it. Some hotels will not have them in the rooms, so you need to come prepared.
With a travel-sized steamer, you can make sure your clothes look crisp after their time in your carry on. A steamer is easy to pack and even easier to use.
Some hotels may offer dry cleaning services that involve steaming. Often times, this is also an unnecessary expense, unless your company pays for it. A steamer will save your money and your clothes.
7. Always Choose Basics
When reaching for your clothes, you’ll always want to pack the basics. This means not only outfits you can mix and match, but also colors that will mix and match. You want to create as many outfits as possible with the space you have available to you.
When answering the question of how to pack for a business trip, you should always think ahead. Always think of ways you can reduce, and don’t include things you don’t need. As you become more adept at traveling, you’ll get better at packing the necessities. You’ll also get better at tossing out what you don’t need.
Visit the section on our website devoted to expert packing hacks.