The Ultimate Packing List for Business Travelers

The Ultimate Packing List for Business Travelers

Business travel is bouncing back to its pre-pandemic levels. The rise of bleisure travel means most corporate workers can expect to find themselves packing for a business trip in the next calendar year. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or it’s your first time traveling for work, packing is one of the most overlooked aspects of business travel.

Leaving your packing to the last-minute means you’re likely to forget the business essentials you carry every day. Imagine if you’re at a conference, but you’ve forgotten your business cards. What if you focus too much on your business essentials that you forget your personal hygiene products?

Having an itemized packing list, broken down by category, is the best way to pack for business travel. It’ll save you time, money, and stress, with just a little preparation.

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Why should business travelers use a packing list for business trips?

It’s easy to forget something when you’re packing for a business trip, especially if you’re turning into a bleisure trip. Having separate packing lists makes it easier to keep track of your belongings and ensures you don’t leave anything behind.

Business travel is rapidly returning, driven in part by the desire of Gen Z and Millennials to explore the world through corporate travel. When you’re packing for business travel, you’ll need both personal and professional items. 

It’s a good idea to put your most important items into your carry-on, including some basic toiletries and one business-appropriate outfit, in case your luggage gets lost in transit.

Your electronics should always stay with you. Lost luggage is on the rise and was over 30% above its pre-pandemic levels in 2022. 

Creating a packing list will help you pack faster and make it less likely that you’ll forget something. No one wants to pay double to replace an item at an airport. 

Business essentials packing list

You’ll need all the things you usually have day-to-day for work, along with a few added extras. Consider the purpose of your business travel. If you’re going to a conference, you might need more business cards than if you were visiting the international office of your company.

Here’s your cheat sheet of business essentials to add to your packing list:

Laptop, including a case to use while traveling and on-the-go

Taking your laptop with you means you’ll be able to work remotely and access any documents, software, or applications you might need. If you don’t have a workbag with a dedicated laptop sleeve, it’s a good idea to invest in a carry-on bag or a separate sleeve to keep it protected.

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Charger for all your electronics, including a portable charger

No one wants to run out of charge when traveling. Make sure you have a charger for every device, including your work phone. Don’t forget to pack a wall plug, even if you usually charge your phone through your laptop or a USB charger. A portable charger can help you stay connected on-the-go, especially if you’ll be away from your office or accommodation for most of the day.

Business cards, ensuring your contact information is up to date

You never know who you’ll meet during a business trip, from the airport lounge to your scheduled meetings. If you’re attending a conference, you may need more business cards than usual.

Bring your current business cards, and always keep a few on hand.

Wi-Fi Hotspot if traveling internationally

Most hotels offer free wi-fi, but these can be slow with a weak connection, especially if there’s a convention center. If you’re not able to hotspot off your phone data, it’s worth considering a wi-fi hotspot to allow you to work remotely without dealing with slower connection speeds.

Headphones or noise-canceling earplugs

Most of the business essentials on this packing list are multi-purpose, including headphones. Bringing headphones or noise-canceling earplugs can make your travels more comfortable and allow you to work remotely without distractions by improving your focus

Travel adapter, ensuring it’s correct for the country you’re traveling to

If your business trip is taking you to another country, you’ll want to check if you need a travel adaptor.

The UK, USA, and EU all use different wall plugs.

Consider the number of devices you have when buying a travel adapter. The best choice is a universal travel adapter that works internationally. Avoid paying an inflated fee at the airport by buying your travel adapter ahead of time.

Clothing essentials packing list

Knowing what clothes to pack can be one of the most confusing parts of business travel. You’ll want to always look professional, while still being comfortable when traveling. 

Here are the clothing essentials you should have on your packing list:

Business attire

A business trip requires you to pack professional attire, usually the clothes you would wear to the office. You’ll want to consider your schedule and itinerary, as well as your company’s dress code. Bring pieces you can mix and match to maximize your luggage space.

Casual clothing

You’ll always have some downtime during a business trip. Whether you’re recharging your social battery or exploring the area, you want clothing that’s a little more casual. Bring an evening outfit to wear after business events and a comfortable but professional outfit for traveling home. If you’re heading somewhere hot or to a hotel with a pool, you might want to pack a bathing suit. Don’t forget your pajamas! 

Formal wear

Check your itinerary when writing your packing list for a business trip. If you have a formal event on the schedule, you’ll need to pack an appropriate outfit. Don’t forget to check if there’s a specific dress code, as there’s a difference between “black tie” and “cocktail attire.” 

Jacket or light sweater 

Layers are key when packing for business travel. Even if you’re heading somewhere warm, it might get colder in the evenings, especially if the air conditioning stays on. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweater that you can easily carry with you. 

Casual and dress shoes

While you’ll likely wear casual shoes for travel, bring a pair of clean dress shoes for more formal events. Place the shoes into a separate bag inside your suitcase to avoid them making your clothes dirty.

Workout gear

Your wellness goals don’t stop when you go on a business trip, Pack at least one set of workout gear to take advantage of the hotel gym or to explore the surrounding area with a walk or run. 

Accessories and personal items

It’s the little, but important, things that you’re most likely to forget when packing. Often, these are the personal items you’re using every day, so you won’t be adding them to your travel bag or suitcase until you’re heading to the train station or airport.

Travel documents, including your reservation information

Always check you have the correct travel documents, including the right form of ID. It’s a good idea to bring a paper copy of all your reservations, including your airline confirmation, rental car details, and hotel confirmation. 

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Glasses or contacts

If you wear contacts, bring an extra set and a small lens solution. Bring a case to store your glasses during the night.

Watch, jewelry, and everyday accessories

Keep your jewelry and accessories to a minimum and avoid bringing anything expensive. 

Personal hygiene packing list

Basic toiletries and personal hygiene items are the things we all end up forgetting to pack. You can avoid paying a premium for them at the airport by writing a list based on the products you use every day. 

It’s a good idea to pack your toiletries and styling products at least the day before to do a run-through of your daily routine. That way you can check if you’ve overlooked something and add it to your toiletry bag. 

Here are the personal hygiene items you should pack for business travel:

Everyday toiletries and medication

Use a separate toiletry bag to pack your daily essentials, from your toothbrush to your shampoo and razor. It’s a good idea to buy travel-size items to save space and weight in your suitcase. You can transfer products from full-size bottles into smaller TSA-approved containers. Make sure to pack all your necessary medication and supplements. 

Photo by Supply on Unsplash

Pack the hairstyling tools you use every day. Most hotels will have a hairdryer, but you’ll likely need to pack straighteners or a curling wand. If you’re traveling internationally, check if these products will work at your destination as the voltage may vary. 

Personal care items, including sunscreen and skincare

There are personal care items you use every day that you might forget to pack, including body lotions and skincare products. Try to pack miniature or smaller sizes wherever possible to save space. 

If you’re traveling with only a carry-on, all your liquids, gels, creams, aerosols, and pastes must fit into one quart-size bag, and each must be 3.4 ounces or less. Sunscreen is essential to pack, regardless of when you’re traveling or your destination. 

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