The Ultimate Packing Guide for Any Business Trip

Written by EJ Ray

January 23, 2024
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Hitting the road for work? Read on to learn helpful tips and tricks on how to pack efficiently for your next business trip.

For many, hitting the road is a necessary part of their work. And while some love the excitement of traveling somewhere new, others despise the looming task of packing. Learning how to properly pack for your next work trip will instantly reduce the stress these events may bring.

Whether you enjoy women’s leather accessories and clothing, bold statements, or a chic monochromatic look, understanding how to pack effectively and efficiently for your next business trip will allow you to maintain your professional look while minimizing your baggage.

Essential Items to Pack for a Business Trip

You don’t necessarily need a completely new outfit for every day of your trip. Instead, build versatile outfits with core colors like black, grey, white, and navy. You can include one or two bright and bold pieces, but these should be the minority of what you pack.

Tops

Button-up shirts are the most versatile top option you can get and are a must-have inclusion to any capsule wardrobe. They are appropriate for any situation, both casual and formal, and can be worn all year round. Choose neutral block shades with minimal patterns to maximize your options, as they can be worn with pants and skirts.

travel packing tips

Button-up shirts are a travel essential for men and women. Photo courtesy iStock by Getty Images

Regardless of how busy your schedule is, you will have some downtime, especially on your travel days. Don’t forget to include at least one casual top in your luggage to travel and relax comfortably.

Bottoms

Based on personal preference, you may prefer wearing trousers or skirts while at work. Tailored trousers, either straight-leg or wide-leg cuts, will always be appropriate for the corporate world and can be worn with a plethora of different shirt and shoe options.

Additionally, pack a pair of dark wash or black, slim-fit denims. They are incredibly stylish and can be worn in business casual environments, making them ideal for less formal lunches or day events.

Professional young business team considering new project, manager holding digital tablet, office interior

Remember to pack some more casual, yet still nice, clothes for less formal settings. Photo courtesy Deposit Photos

Layering Pieces

Depending on the time of year you are traveling and the climate you visit, bringing one or two layering pieces may be appropriate to keep the winter chill at bay. This could include a versatile sweater that matches any potential outfit choices, a structured and sleek tailored blazer that can be thrown over everything, or a warm winter coat.

woman in a blazer in the office

Bring a blazer or sweater so you can layer. Photo by Ischukigor via Deposit Photos

If you are concerned about space when packing bulkier items like winter coats or blazers, wear them while you travel to reserve suitcase space for other clothing items.

Accessories

It may be tempting to overpack the accessories to give yourself plenty of options, but too many bold accessories can quickly turn your look into a costume. At most, you should pack one neutral-shade handbag that will match any outfit you wear and a select amount of jewelry to dress up your looks without overpowering them. Less is more when it comes to accessorizing for the office.

Fashion female shoesand accessories. Flat lay, top view.

Don’t forget to accessorize. Photo by Igishevamaria via Deposit Photos

Packing Tips

By employing a few simple tricks when packing for your next trip, you can effectively reduce the amount of clothes you take, allowing you to take fewer luggage pieces and only pack what you will realistically use and need.

group of business people around a table

When you use our guide to packing for a business trip, you’ll look and feel your best while away on business. Photo by Rodeo Project Management Software on Unsplash

Pack by Look

Pre-plan every look you plan to wear ahead of time, including the shoes and any accessories you may want. By visually seeing each complete outfit, you eliminate any uncertainty regarding your clothes while you are away and avoid the common mistake of packing more clothes than you will realistically wear.

Packaging one extra outfit is worthwhile in case of unexpected weather changes or other unforeseen issues.

overhead flat lay view woman clothes black and white handbag jeans blazer shoes sunglasses

If you pack by look, you’ll be less likely to overpack. Photo by Vera Petrunina via Deposit Photos

Strategic Footwear

It is no secret that shoes are the bulkiest item you can pack when taking a trip anywhere. It may be tempting to pack a different pair for each outfit you wear, but this additional baggage will quickly add up, and your small carry-on will suddenly need to be checked.

As a rule of thumb, for all business trips that are five days or less, you should pack a maximum of three pairs of shoes. Depending on the weather, you will likely need a stylish pair of heels or heeled boots, a pair of chic ballet flats or loafers, and a comfortable pair of sneakers for travel days and time off. Just make sure to use crease protectors for the shoes in your baggage so they don’t get damaged.

Invest in Decent Travel Suitcases

Investing in high-quality suitcases is worthwhile if you are a frequent traveler or foresee plenty of upcoming travel for work. Pushing a four-wheel rolling bag through an airport is a luxury worth having.

You may also have to bring your bags to a business meeting. Showing up with tattered bags is an easily avoidable embarrassment. Purchase your cases in a set to have the larger bag for longer trips or your next vacation.

Suitcase packed for a trip

With a few packing tips, you’ll know what clothes to pack on a business trip. Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Efficient Packing

Packing your bag efficiently will allow you to fit more clothes in a small space and help avoid unwanted creases or wrinkles while traveling. Pants or skirts should be folded in half and laid flat at the bottom of the bag. Tops that are casual or knit-wear and won’t crease easily can be rolled over the pants, while button-downs and blouses should be folded and packed on top of the pants.

Packing men's summer clothes and accessories in blue travel suitcase on blue background, top view

Efficient packing lets you fit more clothes into a smaller space. Photo courtesy iStock by Getty Images

Any sweaters or cardigans should be folded flat and placed on top of your shirts, allowing your shoes to sit on top. Always pack shoes inside shoe bags. Many retailers sell dedicated travel bags for this reason, but old drawstring bags will work, too. And finally, if you are traveling with a formal suit or gown, keep them in a garment bag to avoid creases, wrinkles, or unsightly marks.

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Packing for a Business Trip

If you follow these simple tips, your packing will be a breeze. You’ll be able to focus on the purpose of your trip rather than preparing your bags. Are you looking for an idea of things you can do in your off hours? Check out our “2 Days in… Ultimate Guide” series on Wander With Wonder for guides to hitting the essentials in destinations around the world.

Hitting the road for work? Read the Wander With Wonder article to learn helpful tips and tricks on how to pack efficiently for your next business trip.

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The Ultimate Packing Guide for Any Business Trip

Written by EJ Ray

EJ Ray is a traveler at heart. It is part of her soul and she loves to share her travels through her words. She has traveled the world, seeking great food, wine, and experiences. EJ was born in the Eastern US but has lived across the country and in Europe and Mexico. She also took to the road for a while, exploring from her RV. EJ always seeks the next great sip, bite, and adventure.

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