From meeting with new clients to preparing pitches, business trips often come with a lot of pressure and expectations. Flying across the country to conduct business is a stress in and of itself already, and you don’t need the burden of packing and preparing too. That’s why we’re here to help. To save you the stress and hassle, here are ten travel tips to make your next business trip smooth sailing.
1. Never, ever check a bag.
It might be an obvious one, but unless you’re going on a month-long vacation, prepare to pack all of your belongings in a carry-on bag. Not only will this save you time not having to wait for your bag at the claim carousel after your flight, but the limited space will also encourage you to pack only the most important items. If your trip is longer than a week, contact the hotels you’ll be staying at and ask about the laundry services they offer.
2. Invest in a solid carry-on.
If you’re still lugging around an old, testy roller bag, it might be time to invest in something more efficient — especially if you’re constantly finding yourself on the road. And don’t worry — that doesn’t mean spending hundreds of dollars on designer luggage. Luckily, today, there are a number of companies that offer well-priced smart bags. These smart bags don’t only carry your clothes, but they feature a number of TSA-approved add-ons like a USB port, a compression system (so you can fit even more), hidden laundry bags and 360-degree wheels so they’re easy to move around when you’re on-the-go.
When shopping for a new carry-on, look for a roller that has hooks on its handles so you can throw your briefcase or purse on top. Don’t forget: carry-on dimensions vary by airline, but the typical dimensions are 22 inches tall and 14 inches wide.
3. Check the weather.
While it seems like a no-brainer, it’s an easy step to forget: Always remember to check the weather forecast of your destination so you know exactly what to pack, and what to expect. In addition to the weather of your destination city, make sure to also check out the conditions of your departing city’s airport so you can avoid any travel delays.
4. Focus on neutral colors.
When it comes to clothes, pack mostly neutrals and basics like white, greys and black. These colors match pretty much anything, so it’s easy to reuse and recycle. According to a Business Insider article, “One pair of black jeans, two black t-shirts and business attire will get you through a long trip.
5. Ditch all of the shoes.
Like clothes, keep it neutral with shoes too. Shoes can get heavy and take up space in your carry-on. As a rule of thumb, pack one formal pair and one everyday pair. That way you can travel comfortably but dress it up when it comes to client dinners and events.
6. Lose the Ziploc bags.
Forget throwing your toiletries in Ziploc bags, and instead, invest in containers or reusable bags. These containers can be your go-tos when packing for a trip, so you don’t have to bother wasting time finding and stuffing your toothpaste and face wash into disheveled plastic bags. Not only that, but these containers will help you to create a good habit every time you pack, so you won’t have think twice about how or where to pack your shampoo. (Another plus: you won’t have to worry about any shampoo bottle explosions spoiling your packed clothes when in-flight.)
7. Follow the “one coat rule.”
Unless you’re headed to the tropics for your next business trip (which doesn’t seem too likely…), don’t forget the “one coat rule.” And it’s as straightforward as it sounds: remember to pack one coat and one coat only in your carry-on. Typically, this should be something versatile so you can throw it on when you’re headed out to a client dinner or when you’re simply hopping into a cab to the airport. Another great thing about the “one coat rule” is if you’re running low on space in your carry-on, just wear your coat on the plane instead.
8. Invest in a travel adapter.
Cords associated with your electronics can weigh you down — they can take up space and often become messy and tangled. To avoid this, make sure to only pack the necessities (usually some headphones, a phone charger and your laptop charger). If you’re traveling internationally, one great investment is a travel adapters, which offers a compact, all-in-one adapter for hundreds of different countries. This will help you save space and also money when you get to avoid paying for an overpriced adapter from the airport gift shop.
9. Be resourceful.
When it comes to traveling, it’s important to be smart and resourceful. If you’re packing a clutch, double it as a purse so you can wear it during formal events and on casual occasions like when you’re out getting coffee. If you’re bringing a briefcase, add in a few of the smaller items you would typically put in your carry-on like your laptop charger or travel adapter.
10. Reduce papers.
Thanks to technology today, there’s no reason you should be lugging books, newspapers and magazines around while you travel. All of these can be easily accessed on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Nowadays, it’s likely you’ll have a flight that offers wi-fi, but remember to be prepared for any scenario. That means downloading any books, podcasts, songs or movies you want before you get on the plane.
Entertainment aside, this also applies to your boarding pass: check-in online 24 hours before your flight, and download your ticket on your smartphone. This way, you’ll fly through security and won’t spend a second in the check-in line.
Extra tip: Carry the important stuff.
If you have a formal event to go to, and have to pack dress clothes, don’t bother trying to squish everything in your carry-on. Put your formal garments in a garment bag and carry them on-board separately. When you get on your flight, politely ask the attendant to help you store them — they’ll typically put them in the coat closet that’s on-board.