Traveling for a business meeting? You’ll want to look presentable when you’re meeting clients. You also need to pack efficiently with your suitcase (since you’ll be traveling for a few days at the most). Feeling organized, efficient and on time is important for your success.
To help you ease the process, we’ve curated a no fuss business trip packing list below! Time to impress your clients, not just with your presentation, but also with the way you look. Remember, first impressions last! Stay tuned until the end for some packing tips and recommended bags for business travelers.
Business Travel Essentials Checklist
If you’re traveling for work, you might have your presentation or agenda all checked. But you can’t forget about your suitcase! Here’s what should be inside your business trip bag:
Carry On: For a short (3 to 4 days) trip, most business travelers opt to bring just a carry on. It makes sense! You can save a lot of time in the airport (you don't need to check your luggage or wait for it at the conveyor belt). Below is a list of essential items that you need to pack in your carry on:
☑ Passport or ID - Bring a proof of identification and your passport if you're traveling abroad.
COVID-19 Update: Due to the current pandemic, the DHS extended the Real ID Enforcement Deadline. The new deadline is October 1, 2021.
☑ Visas (If required) - If your work travel is abroad, make sure you get the necessary visas prior to your departure date!
☑ Flight ticket / boarding pass - Have a copy of your flight ticket (whether physical or on your phone). You can also print your boarding pass at home so you can go through airport security more quickly.
☑ Hotel reservation/s - Don’t forget the copy of your hotel reservation, either printed or saved on your smartphone.
☑ Toiletries - The basics like toothpaste, toothbrush, facial wash and wipes so you can stay fresh - especially when you’re going from the airport to a meeting.
☑ First aid kit - Pack your prescription meds and regular meds (like headache and pain relief) in an Extra Small Cube.
☑ Change of clothes - In case the airline loses your checked luggage, you'll have a fresh set of clothes in your carry on. If you have a planned business meeting after your flight, then pack your new outfit into a Small Cube for easy access.
☑ Electronics - Pack your laptop, tablet, smartphone, chargers and other gadgets inside your carry on too.
☑ Valuables - If you’re bringing jewelry or other valuables, pack them in your carry-on bag (wouldn’t want to lose them in your checked luggage).
Checked Luggage: Packing light is the way to go for a business trip. You’re bringing delicate (and bulky) clothing items so you’ll need all the space you can save. Stick to a neutral palette (especially for the bottoms) which just makes it easier to mix and match your outfits. We’ve divided the packing list below into categories.
Clothes for Women:
☑ Pant suit / tailored trousers (2 pairs) - Pack at least 2 pairs of dressy pants, an extra pair if you’re staying for a week or more. Go for a classic, straight cut which is flattering for any body shape (also super comfy and not too constricting)!
☑ Classic / statement skirts (1 to 2) - If you’re more into skirts...you can always switch a pair of pants with a skirt. It all depends on your preference! Just remember to pick skirts appropriate for the workplace (knee or just above knee length).
☑ Dressy tops (4 to 5) - Pack more plain dressy tops and a few printed ones. Be wary of white as it shows stains easy! Button down shirts are good too. Just make sure to pack tops that are wrinkle resistant!
☑ Casual Dress for time off (1 to 2) - For those days when you just can’t be bothered to plan your outfits, a dress is the way to go!
☑ Blazer / coat (1 to 2) - Also pack a blazer or coat, pick a color that can go with any of your outfits or dresses.
☑ Light cardigan / sweater (1) - Something to keep you warm during the flight or in the air conditioned meeting room.
☑ Casual wear (2 to 3) - Have time to sneak in leisure activities on your trip? Pack a few casual clothes like shirts and jeans. Make sure they’re decent enough to be worn on night outs with clients or colleagues.
☑ Loungewear (1 to 2) - Pack the comfiest pajama set you own for after a busy day of meetings! Always bring options (hot and cold)...sometimes you can’t adjust the room temperature.
☑ Undershirts / tights (2 to 4) - To wear under your blouse or button up shirts or skirts.
☑ Underwear / socks (1 per day) - Pack 1 pair of underwear and 1 pair of socks for each day. Add an extra for the just in case moments!
☑ Workout / Activewear (1 to 2) - Pack activewear if you’re planning on working out during your business trip! Keep it minimal though (just wash them as you’ll need them).
Clothes for Men:
☑ Plain suit to mix and match (1 to 2) - Opt for plain suits as opposed to printed ones (makes it easier to match the pants to other tops).
☑ Dress shirts (4 to 5) - Pack a few dress shirts to match with your suits!
☑ Trousers / chinos (1 to 2) - Good for conferences or meetings where you need to blend in. Opt for colors different from your suit (khaki and charcoal gray are good ones).
☑ Light sweater / jacket (1) - Go for something light but can keep you warm in cold business meetings. Bring 1 sweater to throw over your collared shirt and 1 jacket for night time outings.
☑ Casual wear (2 to 3) - In case you’ll have some errands to run during your business trip, a few casual shirts and a pair of jeans will suffice.
☑ Loungewear (1 to 2) - Pack loungewear that you can wear around your hotel room like sweatpants and a t-shirt.
☑ Undershirts (2 to 4) - Great for keeping your suits or dress shirts clean (or at least free from sweat). Pack merino undershirts for their moisture-wicking ability.
☑ Underwear / socks (1 per day) - Pack 1 underwear and 1 pair of socks per day. Add in an extra pair for the plane ride!
☑ Workout / Activewear (1 to 2) - Pack some workout clothes (if you’re planning on going to the gym) or swimwear (if your hotel has a pool).
Accessories (Men & Women):
☑ Belt - Rule of thumb: Your belt should match the shoes you’re bringing!
☑ Extra glasses - If you wear prescription glasses, pack a back-up pair in case your main glasses get broken or lost!
☑ Tote bag - This one’s for the ladies! Pick a neutral colored bag that can go with your outfits, and easily go from day time to night time.
☑ Watch - It's a must to keep track of time so you won't be late for your meetings! Opt for a dainty rose gold watch for the ladies and a classic leather watch for the gentlemen.
☑ Chic and complementing jewelry - Pack a few pieces of jewelry, they can help spice up your outfit! Store them in a travel size jewelry roll for easy packing.
☑ Ties - We love silk knit ties because they’re on the vintage side and don’t require ironing.
☑ Scarf - You can spice up a neutral outfit with a printed or boldly colored scarf. Also, it’s a great accessory to keep warm on a cold flight or chilly meeting room.
☑ Match your dress socks - For the gentlemen, socks should match your trousers! It’s the hidden rule of dressing up for business.
☑ Pocket squares / handkerchiefs - Good for spicing up your dressy suits! And unlike with the neutral dress hue, you can go more boldly with pocket squares.
☑ Loafers / oxfords (for men) - A pair of shoes that are easy to slip off will save you time during TSA inspection.
☑ Comfy heels (for women) - Go for pumps with wider heels...they’re more comfortable and you will be able to last a little longer. Going with nude or black heels is always a classic and they match with everything!
☑ Flats (for women) - Flats are good for casual night outs or even a short flight. Opt for pointed flats as they’re dressier compared to rounded flats.
☑ Sneakers / running shoes - Optional! Bring these only if you’re planning on hitting the gym or going for a run.
☑ Shampoo / conditioner - Optional, the hotel provides them!
☑ Soap / body wash - Also optional, the hotel provides them!
☑ Toothbrush / toothpaste - Good to have cause you’ll want squeaky clean teeth before meetings.
☑ Lotion / moisturizer - Also good to have especially if you’re going to a humid or dry place.
☑ Makeup - Don’t pack the full arsenal! Pack your go-to foundation, eyebrow pencil, mascara, neutral eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush and lipstick. All of these items can fit in our clear makeup bag.
☑ Your go to scent - Use a travel size atomizer to take your fave perfume with you on your business trip! Pick scents that are fresh and not too overpowering.
☑ Hand sanitizer - Business meetings means lots of hand shaking...hand sanitizer should become your best friend. Just be discreet when using it during meetings (wait a few minutes after you’ve shaken the hands of someone).
☑ Comb / brush - Go for travel size always! No need for large hair brushes that take up too much space.
☑ Razor - Must have for men, for the polished look is still ideal for business meetings. And don’t forget to shave those legs, ladies!
☑ Deodorant - You’ll be wearing layers so sweating is inevitable. Bring a travel size one in your purse / bag for a touch up mid day.
☑ Contact lens / solution - Good alternative for glasses when you want to go for an overall polished vibe.
☑ Facial wash - Can’t sleep with your makeup on, ladies!
☑ Manicure set - You’ll be shaking hands a lot, better get those nails clean and ready to go.
First Aid Kit:
☑ Prescription medicines - Pack your supply of prescription medicines (in their original bottles) in your first aid kit. You can’t be sure if they’re available in the place you’re visiting (especially abroad).
☑ Headache relief - A few packets of Advil can go a long way in relieving headaches or migraines.
☑ Digestive relief - Pepto bismol is the go-to medicine for stomach upsets. Fennel seeds are a great natural alternative for relief!
☑ Anti-allergy medicines - Go for non-drowsy or you’ll end up dozing off in the middle of an important business meeting!
☑ Laptop & charger - Make sure your desktop is neat and tidy, especially when you accidentally need to exit out of your presentation.
☑ Tablet instead of a laptop - Good enough for checking daily emails or being updated about loved ones. You can attach a keyboard to transform it into a portable laptop. Another good thing about a tablet is you don’t need to take it out during TSA inspection (unlike a laptop).
☑ USB flash drive - Pack not just 1 but 2 USB flash drives so you can backup important data.
☑ Phone & charger - Make sure to turn on airplane mode while in a meeting!
☑ Other chargers - Pack all your necessary chargers! Organize them in a clear pouch like this one.
☑ Portable charger - Must have especially if you have a lot of gadgets!
☑ Travel plug adaptor / converter - Not necessary for domestic trips but might come in handy for international business trips.
☑ Noise cancelling headphones / earphones - Noise-cancelling headphones are a must for the business traveler (especially for long-haul flights).
☑ Mobile Hotspot - Must have if you need reliable internet for your work.
☑ Multi USB charger - Very handy tool for charging devices simultaneously.
☑ Pen & notepad - Always a great option to have in meetings.
☑ Business cards - Pack your own business cards and also a few of your colleagues (in case you need to refer a client to someone else).
☑ Business documents - Pack all your business documents and place them in a binder or folder to keep them safe.
☑ Wireless internet card - Check with your data provider which options you have! Hotels provide basic internet usage (free when you booked a room) but they’re usually only for 1 device.
☑ Laser pointer - Handy tool when you’re presenting a PowerPoint.
☑ Screen privacy filter - Useful tool for blocking onlookers from catching what’s on your screen. Check your laptop’s screen size before purchasing though!
☑ Mints - When you don’t have enough time to brush your teeth before a meeting (like after a flight), breath mints are lifesavers. Go for chewables or strips instead of gum!
☑ Travel pillow - So you can stay comfortable even on an economy flight!
☑ Sewing kit for fashion emergencies - You’re dealing with a lot of buttons (in your suit, dress shirt and trousers). A travel-size sewing kit can help in the case of loose buttons or runs in your dress.
☑ Shoe shine sponge - You need to look presentable from head to toe!
☑ Water bottle - Must have when you’re presenting a lot during meetings!
☑ Cedar / poplar shoe tree - Not a must have but works well to retain the shape of your shoes.
☑ Shoe horn - Nifty tool for slipping into your shoes without damaging its form.
☑ Travel Lint Roller - Takes up very little space but super handy!
☑ Tide pens / cleaning wipes - When you don’t have time to wash your clothes, you can use a Tide pen for removing unsightly stains.
☑ Wrinkle release spray - Bring a wrinkle release spray to lessen wrinkles in your suits, dresses or dress shirts.
6 Packing Tips for a Business Trip
Here’s a few more tips to make your work trip convenient and hassle free:
1. Use a garment carrier for suits / dresses - A travel garment carrier can prevent wrinkles and damages to your suits or dresses. The EzPacking garment bag can hold up to 2 suits or dresses. It also has a see-through design so you can easily see what you’ve packed. With its hook feature, you can hang it on your hotel’s closet once you reach your destination.
2. Packing cubes are your best friend - Yes, they are! Packing cubes take the hassle out of packing. Pack all your toiletries in our TSA approved clear toiletry bag to ease through airport security. Underwear and socks can all go in a small packing cube. Casual tops and bottoms can be packed in a medium packing cube. All dresses, dress shirts and pants can go in our large packing cube.
Our Starter Set is the best packing cube set for carry on only business travelers. It includes one of each of our cube sizes: Extra Small, Small, Medium and Large. Perfectly fits in a standard size carry on suitcase, can be stacked horizontally or vertically to maximize suitcase space and available in lots of colors. Check it out here!
3. The right way to fold dress shirts - We know how much of a hassle it is to fold dress shirts! That’s why we’ve created these clothing and shirt folding boards. They even comes with visual instructions so you can fold your dress shirts on the go. With this folding method, you can avoid wrinkles in your most delicate clothing pieces.
4. Neutral is the way to go - Go for neutral colors especially for your suits, trousers and skirts. This way, you can mix and match them with your other clothing items.
5. Go bold with accessories - So you want to spice up your business trip outfits? You can go bold (but not too crazy) with accessories! Go for patterned pocket squares or even a pastel-hue dress shirt. Just make sure it blends with the rest of your outfit.
6. Choose the best business travel bag - For your carry on hand bag or checked luggage, a spinner suitcase is still the best choice! If you’ve got the budget for it, go for a Tumi luggage (here’s their carry-on and their checked luggage). Samsonite is also a good brand to check out for spinner luggage! Also opt for a TSA compliant laptop bag so you won’t have to keep taking your device out of the bag. Here’s a briefcase style one and a backpack style one.
Now you can focus on impressing your business clients! With our packing list, you’ve got all the essentials for your business trip. But don’t forget, you can tweak this list according to your destination! You might not need a sweater in a tropical destination. Or you might need a heavier one for a colder destination.
Good luck and enjoy your trip!