Pre-pandemic, Americans took 1.3 million business trips every day. While the amount of business travel has reduced in recent years, a proper packing list is more important than ever before.
Border closures and business operation restrictions mean that you may not always be able to find what you need while traveling. Continue reading to find all of your work travel essentials, from your new laptop to your work travel attire.
Proper Business Travel Luggage
Packing for business travel starts with the right luggage. A business trip often requires different luggage than other types of travel. It’s often more important to keep your clothes easily accessible and looking neat, which the proper luggage can help with.
Depending on the length of your trip, you need to decide between packing carry-on only or adding checked luggage. Carry-on luggage is often the best option for work travel since it’s faster.
There’s also next to no risk of lost luggage when you don’t check a bag. However, you may want a checked bag to bring back certain souvenirs.
The choice is yours, but be sure to consider comfort, time, and the belongings you’re bringing before you decide.
Packing cubes are one of our top travel essentials when it comes to work travel, especially for long-term trips or for those who take business trips frequently. Living out of a suitcase can be messy and result in disorganization.
A lack of organization can not only make it difficult to find what you need, but it can also leave you looking disheveled. Packing cubes keep all of your belongings easily organized and in better condition.
Work Travel Garment Bag
If you need to pack business or evening attire, we recommend adding a travel garment bag to help prevent wrinkles. Some travel bags even have extra room for folded clothes and toiletries.
These kinds of bags can be great for those looking to pack a carry-on only for short trips. Consider a garment/carry-on duo if your trip is under three days in length.
Shoe bags are great for preventing your shoes from becoming scuffed or otherwise damaged in your luggage. They can also protect the rest of your luggage from your shoes, such as dirt or tears from high heels.
Business Travel Attire
For short business trips, we recommend packing only the necessities. Leave the “just in case” items at home to maximize space in your carry-on. This will leave you with luggage that’s much less cumbersome to carry.
Work attire should be your main priority since this will be the attire your business associates see. Pack formal business wear for important meetings and business casual outfits for less formal outings and day wear.
If you’ll be going out at night, consider simple methods for transforming a work outfit into an evening outfit. A change in accessories can be an effective way to accomplish this.
For women, changing jewelry and outerwear can easily make a day outfit into an evening outfit. For men, swap your dress pants and suit jacket for a pair of slacks or dark-wash jeans and a dress shirt.
If you plan to exercise while on your business trip, we recommend packing a set of activewear and a set of loungewear. The choice of what to bring should be based on whatever is most comfortable for you since your business associates are unlikely to see it.
Business Travel Equipment
Packing the right equipment is high on our list of business travel essentials. Lacking the right equipment can impact your ability to conduct good business. Since this is the reason for your trip, add these near the top of your packing list.
Whether you’ve invested in a new laptop with the Intel Evo platform or are packing your old-reliable computer, be sure you have the right computer for business travel. You can learn about Intel Evo and what it is on their website.
We recommend a smaller, lighter computer for an easier travel experience. Large laptops can be difficult to use on the plane and may not fit well in your carry-on bag.
Cell phones are an integral part of business these days and are important for your trip. Your phone often houses information regarding reservations, contact numbers, and more. Even though they tend to be glued to our hands, be sure not to forget them at home.
Headphones come in handy on a business trip if you need to make a hands-free call or want to relax with music or a movie on your flight. Packing a pair of high-quality earbuds or headphones can make your business trip more efficient.
Paper and Pen
In a digital world, pen and paper may seem obsolete in many business practices. However, you never know when you’ll need to jot down some notes or contact information. A small notebook and a pen can come in handy.
Even if you’ve packed your belongings in a garment bag, travel can wreak havoc on your clothes. In order to avoid looking frumpy and disheveled, we recommend packing a garment steamer.
We’ve seen tips recommending the use of shower steam, but this can take a lot of time to work. If you’re in a hurry or want a more reliable method, consider investing in a travel garment steamer to look your best.
Business travel can make it difficult to keep your devices charged since you’re never sure when you’re going to have access to an outlet. We recommend adding a portable battery pack to your business trip packing list.
Most models can charge your cellphone to 100% at least twice. This can help avoid panic when you’re in an unfamiliar city and need access to contacts or directions.
Hand Sanitizing Wipes and Liquid
After a global pandemic, cleanliness is more important than ever before. For this reason, we recommend adding hand sanitizing wipes and liquid to your business travel packing list. This can help keep you healthy during your travels.
Use them while in public places, such as around your seat on public transportation or once you check into your hotel. A little bit of extra precaution is important while traveling.
International Business Trip Considerations
The above work travel tips are important for any kind of business travel. However, you’ll need to factor in some important considerations on your packing list when it comes to international business.
Adapters and Converters
Packing adapters and converters are on the top of our international travel essentials list. Adapters allow you to plug your devices with American-style plug-ins into different outlets based on the country you’re visiting.
Converters are something that many newer travelers tend to overlook. These devices help adjust the voltage of your device to match the voltage of the outlet. Mismatches in voltage can result in your device shorting out and becoming unusable.
Some converters are also adapters, but not all adapters are also converters. We recommend investing in a higher-quality converter/adapter combo if you travel for business frequently. They tend to be bigger, but it’s easier to deal with one device instead of two.
On short domestic trips, we recommend leaving your travel pillow at home since they take up a significant amount of luggage space. They also tend to only be used during your flight.
However, they come in handy for international travel, especially on flights that are over a few hours in duration. Consider an inflatable travel pillow if you want to maximize luggage space.
International Phone Plan
Staying in contact with your work and family while traveling abroad is important for many world business travelers. Ensuring you have access to phone calls and texting while abroad can help keep communication open.
You have a few options for international communication. You can either invest in an international phone plan, which can often be activated for the duration of your travel, or you can buy a SIM card for the country you’re visiting.
There are also apps that allow international texting and calling over WiFi. Consider the type and frequency of communication you need for your trip to determine which option makes the most sense for your travels.
If you’re visiting a country that doesn’t have drinkable tap water, consider investing in a filtered water bottle. These can help keep you safe from contaminated water.
They can also contribute to bettering world health and minimizing pollution from plastic water bottles. Research the tap water situation for the country you’ll be visiting to decide whether you need a filtered water bottle.
Prepare for Business Travel
Use the above packing list guide to start preparing for your upcoming business travel. Remember to focus on the essentials for shorter trips to avoid dealing with heavy bags. Also, be sure to factor in your needs based on your destination.
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