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HOME::Self-Help / Self-Improvement

Top 7 Easy Packing Tips for Business Travel

By Sue Brenner, PCC, PMP

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Frustrated with business travel? Unsure how much to pack? Use these top 7 tips to get ready for business trips and make travel as easy as possible.

  1. Make a list.

    Have you ever arrived at your destination only to discover you forgot your toothbrush? Make a list before you pack. Create your own, or find pre-made lists for your specific travels online. For example, Luggageonline has suggested packing lists for both men and women ( Jot down other important information on your list, such as the hotel’s name, address and phone number.

  2. Reserve time for packing.

    Carve out "pre-travel" time to get ready to go. Avoid throwing a week's worth of dirty laundry into your suitcase! In your pre-travel time, you can launder dirty clothes or pick up any extra needed items, such as a new business shirt or a gift for the client you're meeting. Schedule the time you need to get ready, at least one to two hours, to help keep last-minute travel stress to a minimum.

  3. Pack the essentials.

    What are the absolute necessities for travel? You'll need your business attire, of course. Plus make sure you have all your travel documents, such as your e-ticket, driver’s license and hotel information. Carry your passport for international travel. Make photocopies of these documents to keep in your suitcase. Be sure to bring credit cards and at least some cash. In some places, such as China, using credit cards is challenging. Investigate where you're going—you may need to convert money into foreign currency before you go. Remember to include a stack of business cards! Take your needed electronic items, such as your mobile phone, on the plane with you.

  4. Pack just enough.

    Once you've packed the essentials, don't over-stuff your suitcase. Pack enough clothing for each day of your trip, plus an extra shirt or two for variety. Strike a balance between packing too little and taking too much. With too little, you'll have to dash off to the nearest store to get deodorant or a pair of socks, and, if you buy these items at the airport or hotel store, expect them to be costly. But, if you over-pack, you’ll be lugging that extra weight from the airport onto public transportation to the hotel. Err on the side of packing light. Use your packing list to guide you. Include a backup set of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage gets delayed.

  5. Put suits in first.

    Cover suit jackets and shirts with a garment bag to prevent wrinkles. Place the center of the covered suit jacket in your suitcase. Let any excess parts of the suit drape over the sides. Fill in the remaining space with other clothing, covered shoes and your toiletry bag. Then cover these items with the rest of the suit. Your suit becomes the "wrapping" to keep the rest of your things in place.

  6. Know your liquid limits.

    The current scoop is that for everything from hair gel to water you can only bring containers no larger than 3.4 oz (100 ml) onto an airplane. All of the bottles must fit in a re-sealable one-quart bag, and you're only allowed to have one of these bags. Drink your water before you board the plane. Pack larger-sized items, such as a regular shampoo bottle, in the luggage you check. Be sure to place anything gooey or water-based, such as toothpaste or mouthwash, in a sealable plastic bag to prevent these items from oozing onto your clothes.

  7. Include mix-and-match clothes.

    Pick one or two basic colors as your clothing staples, such as black or brown. Build your business trip wardrobe from there. For example, pack black pants to go with a black suit. Then wear the pants again with a more casual shirt for an evening event. Check the weather at your destination online first so you can bring the right clothes. Include layers, especially if you’ll be spending time in chilly conference rooms.

Sue Brenner, Performance Coach and author, wants you to get the most out of life and work. That’s why she wrote "The Naked Desk: Everything you need to strip away clutter, save time and get things done" - While you’re there, get Sue’s free eZine, "Ignite Your Life!"


Article Submitted On: May 11, 2007