Packing for a business trip means including everything you might need for your agenda, plus the extras that could come in handy.
Will you need warm or cool professional outfits? What might you do in your spare time that you’ll have to dress for? Do you need every device you own, or just your smartphone and laptop?
The possibilities for forgetting something important seem endless, but if you’re flying and only taking a short trip, justifying the cost of a checked bag is hard to do. So, you try to limit everything to a carry-on and a personal item, which requires serious packing skills.
Not to worry, though. We have the business trip essentials on this checklist to help you remember to pack all your must-haves. If there’s any room left, you can add the extras!
1. Your Documents
There are very few things that are of vital importance when you are on a trip, but those are the items that you must make sure you always have near you. These include:
Your government-issued ID or passport
Your credit/debit card and cash (some places take one or the other, so you want to be prepared)
Your travel documents
Essential documents for your meeting
These items are near and dear and should be as close to you as possible. Keep them together to make it easier to ensure you have them with you in an emergency. An ideal place is your purse or small tote.
As long as you have these crucial items, you can always replace anything else you forgot. Still, you have a carry-on bag to fill, so we’ll keep going with the rest of your business essentials.
2. Your Outfits
Planning what to wear is usually the most difficult part of packing. You’ll need your business attire, of course, but that can change based on the kind of weather at your destination.
Before you start packing, check the forecast. If the weather will be extreme, be sure to plan your clothing accordingly. Cold weather clothes take a lot of room in the suitcase. Even if you’re going from a hot climate to a chilly place, consider wearing layers and a coat.
At a minimum, plan for one dress shirt for every day that you have meetings, and pack two to three pairs of pants (or skirts) that match. These can be swapped out while they’re being cleaned by the hotel’s laundry service if necessary.
You’ll also need undergarments for each day, a few pairs of socks, a pair of shoes plus the ones you’ll wear, and a dress jacket.
If you intend on making the most of your business trip with some leisure activities, include an outfit or two to wear after work hours. Bonus points if it matches the shoes you’re already bringing so you don’t have to squeeze another pair in your carry-on.
3. Your Electronics
With your clothing squarely in place, you know how much room you have for your electronics.
It’s better to pack your laptop after your clothes in case you have to take it out to get through security. Then, fold up your chargers and adapters and slide them into an inside pocket.
If you plan on doing a lot of walking, don’t forget a pocket-sized portable charger for your phone.
Don’t stress if you forget an important charger. Many business hotels have extras they can lend you during your stay.
4. Your Toiletries
If toiletries aren’t a big deal to you, you can always use the hotel shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Pack your deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste, and skip the rest of this part.
But if you have your favorite cosmetics and cleaners, it’s time to decide what you can and can’t live without. If you’re flying, whatever liquids and gels you bring must be in 3.4-ounce containers or smaller. Those containers must fit in a quart-sized clear bag, which limits your choices.
After your liquids and gels are ready, the last of the space in your carry-on can fit any other cosmetics you want to bring. Keep in mind that only disposable razors and extra blades are allowed in carry-on luggage.
With these essentials, you’ll have everything you need in your carry-on for a business trip with a side of leisure fun. Anything you forget beyond these essentials is probably something you can easily grab from the hotel or a nearby shop for less than the cost of an extra checked bag.