Seasoned travelers and corporate leaders alike know the art of packing can make or break a business trip. From the strategic advice of a Head of Operations to the practical wisdom of a founder, we’ve compiled the fourteen most invaluable business travel packing tips. Discover how to pack the day before using a list and why you should avoid wrinkle-prone clothing to streamline your travel experience.

  • Pack the Day Before with a List
  • Adopt a Coordinated Wardrobe Color Scheme
  • Carry an Extra Outfit in Your Carry-On
  • Include a Mini Emergency Kit
  • Organize with Packing Cubes
  • Invest in Adaptable, Small Luggage
  • Choose Transitional Day-to-Night Outfits
  • Roll Clothes to Save Space and Minimize Wrinkles
  • Embrace a Capsule Wardrobe for Simplicity
  • Select Versatile Clothing for Multiple Outfits
  • Pack Essentials in a Carry-On Duffle
  • Keep a Toiletry Kit in Your Carry-On
  • Bring Adaptable Apparel and a Steamer
  • Avoid Wrinkle-Prone Clothing

Pack the Day Before with a List

Always pack the day before, and not any sooner or later. If you pack too early, you risk forgetting what you’ve already put in your luggage. This can lead to you either unpacking all your hard work or double-packing something, which can take up extra room. And if you pack at the last minute, you are much more likely to forget something, which can cause a lot of stress and frustration.

I always pack the day before, ensuring I make a list beforehand so I know exactly what I need. I can then check off the items on my list, close up my bag, and forget about it until the next day.

Wayne MillsWayne Mills
Head of Operations, Seven Seas Worldwide

Adopt a Coordinated Wardrobe Color Scheme

One invaluable packing tip for my business travels has been adopting a coordinated color scheme for my wardrobe. I lean towards neutrals, sprinkling in one or two accent colors for variety. This ensures every piece in my suitcase works together, allowing for effortless mixing and matching.

As a result, I have outfits ready for any event, from boardroom meetings to informal dinners. This approach not only saves me from the common dilemma of choosing what to wear but also lightens my luggage.

Max WoolfMax Woolf
Travel Expert, PhotoAiD

Carry an Extra Outfit in Your Carry-On

As an experienced business traveler, the most invaluable packing tip I’ve learned is to always bring an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. You never know when your checked luggage might get lost or delayed, so having a fresh shirt, pants, underwear, and socks can be a real lifesaver if you land and your bags don’t arrive with you.

I remember one trip I took to Miami where the airline lost my checked suitcase, and I had to go straight from the airport to an important client meeting. Fortunately, I had packed an extra outfit in my backpack. I was able to quickly change in the airport restroom and still arrive at the meeting looking sharp and professional, despite my luggage mishap. Having that backup outfit eliminated a ton of stress and scrambling when I landed. It’s a simple tip, but one that has proven absolutely critical for me on numerous trips over the years.

Mac SteerMac Steer
Owner and Director, Simify

Include a Mini Emergency Kit

One useful packing tip I swear by for business travel is to pack a mini emergency kit. This kit includes items like a portable stain remover, a small sewing kit, and adhesive bandages. These seemingly minor items have saved me in unexpected situations, whether it’s removing coffee stains before a meeting or quickly fixing a wardrobe malfunction.

Being prepared for the unexpected ensures smooth travel and helps me maintain a professional appearance, no matter what challenges arise on the road.

Bart WaldonBart Waldon
Co-Founder, Land Boss

Organize with Packing Cubes

Use Packing Cubes: Using packing cubes is a magnificent packing tip for business travel. These portable organizers simplify finding things quickly and efficiently by keeping your clothes and accessories organized inside your luggage. Use packing cubes to maximize suitcase space, reduce wrinkles, and maintain organization throughout your trip.

Packing cubes also allow you to divide different types of clothing or outfits, making it easier to unpack and repack during your travels. Packing cubes make packing much easier, especially when traveling for work.

Axel HernborgAxel Hernborg
Founder and CEO, Tripplo

Invest in Adaptable, Small Luggage

Choosing a sturdy and well-made backpack or carry-on suitcase will guarantee that you have everything you need on your trip and will also save up room. To save space and maintain organization, another helpful packing tip is to pack intelligently by grouping goods into compartments or packing cubes.

To be ready for anything that might come up while I’m traveling, I also always make sure to have necessary materials like chargers, adapters, business cards, and a portable power bank in my carry-on luggage. I’ve simplified my travel experience and can concentrate more on accomplishing my business goals while on the road by following these packing tips.

Matt LittleMatt Little
Owner, Festoon House

Choose Transitional Day-to-Night Outfits

One tip I got from a colleague is to always pack a versatile outfit that can transition from day to night. On one such trip, I realized I had an unexpected dinner meeting with a friend who happened to be in the same city after a full day of workshops. Luckily, I had packed a blazer that easily dressed up my casual day outfit, saving me from a fashion faux pas.

This simple strategy has saved me hours and ensures that I’m prepared for any last-minute changes without over-packing. It’s about choosing pieces that are not only functional but also adaptable, blending professionalism with comfort.

I can focus more on my work and less on what to wear, making business travel smoother and more efficient. It’s a small but powerful way to stay ready for anything the trip throws at me.

Swena KalraSwena Kalra
Chief Marketing Officer, Scott & Yanling Media Inc.

Roll Clothes to Save Space and Minimize Wrinkles

As a career travel nurse and someone who travels for a living, the most invaluable packing tip I swear by is to roll my clothes instead of folding them. Doing this, coupled with immediately hanging everything up when I arrive at my hotel, not only saves a ton of space but also minimizes wrinkles, keeping my clothes ready to wear.

Ashly DoranAshly Doran
Er Travel Nurse,

Embrace a Capsule Wardrobe for Simplicity

When it comes to navigating the chaos of business travel, there’s one packing tip that’s never let me down: simplicity is key. Opt for a capsule wardrobe of neutral colors and timeless pieces that can effortlessly mix and match. Not only does this streamline your packing process, but it also ensures you’ll always have a stylish ensemble ready for any occasion.

From boardroom meetings to casual dinners, the right combination of basics can take you anywhere without weighing you down. So, next time you’re packing for a trip, remember: less is more, and versatility is your best friend.

Simon WojtyczkaSimon Wojtyczka
Biometric Photography and Travel Expert, Passport-Photo.Online

Select Versatile Clothing for Multiple Outfits

As a frequent business traveler, I’ve learned that packing light is key to a smooth and stress-free trip. One tip that has proven invaluable for me is to choose versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. This not only saves space in my luggage but also allows me to be prepared for a variety of occasions without bringing excess clothing.

For example, I always pack a neutral blazer that can be worn with a dress for a formal meeting or with jeans for a more casual dinner. I also pack a few scarves or statement jewelry pieces that can transform a basic outfit into something more eye-catching.

By packing smart and choosing versatile clothing items, I can focus on my business priorities without worrying about the hassle of lugging around a heavy suitcase. It also helps me to feel confident and put-together, which is essential when representing my company on the road.

Jessica SproatJessica Sproat
Founder, Next Up Adventure

Pack Essentials in a Carry-On Duffle

One of the best choices I’ve made for my business trips is packing my essentials in duffle bags. Most of my business trips include connecting flights to the US, which means waiting at the baggage claim area at least twice to get my luggage.

So, if you are traveling with a duffel bag or any carry-on suitcase, you can take it with you in the cabin and don’t have to wait at the baggage carousel. And trust me, I prefer capsule clothing—a trend where you mix and match your clothes so that it doesn’t look like you are wearing the same clothes. Get yourself a carry-on that has enough space for clothes, an extra pair of shoes, and an additional pocket for your laptop.

Capsule clothing is one of the best hacks—not just for packing but for fashion as well. All you have to do is bring three or four sets of shirts and jeans and mix and match them every day, so that nobody would notice you are repeating.

Shreya PatelShreya Patel
Marketing Manager, Lowest Flight Fares

Keep a Toiletry Kit in Your Carry-On

One packing tip that has proven invaluable for my business travels is bringing a small bag of essential toiletries that I never check. Having a simple toiletry kit that fits in my carry-on and contains things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, and facial cleanser ensures I always have what I need, no matter what happens to my checked luggage. It provides peace of mind, knowing I can freshen up and feel put together even if my suitcase gets lost or delayed. I learned this lesson the hard way after a trip where the airline lost my bags for three days—I felt so gross without my toiletries and now never travel without my trusty toiletry kit in my carry-on.

I’ll never forget the time I landed in Hong Kong after a 16-hour flight, exhausted and ready to wash up, only to discover the airline had misplaced my suitcase. Thankfully, I had packed my small toiletry bag in my backpack and was able to brush my teeth and wash my face before my big client meeting. Having that kit allowed me to feel refreshed and ready to go, rather than tired and dirty. I’ve made sure to always keep it with me when traveling for business ever since! It’s a simple thing, but having my essentials on hand makes a world of difference.

Jason HuntJason Hunt
CMO and Co-Founder, Merged Media

Bring Adaptable Apparel and a Steamer

A highly recommended luggage item for business trips is adaptable apparel and accessories that are capable of being combined and matched to form a variety of ensembles. By opting for garments that possess the ability to seamlessly transition from day to night and are appropriate for various occasions, I am able to reduce my packing weight and increase efficiency while maintaining a professional appearance.

Furthermore, I consistently bring along a travel-size steamer or wrinkle-release spray in order to maintain the pristine appearance of my garments, particularly after transport in a suitcase. This enables me to maintain a professional demeanor irrespective of the circumstances of my travel for meetings and presentations.

In general, placing an emphasis on garment care and adaptability when preparing for business trips has served to optimize my packing procedure and ensure that I am adequately equipped to handle any eventuality that may occur throughout my journeys.

Anam BarkanAnam Barkan
Travel Enthusiast, Director Marketing and Founder, Zoyago

Avoid Wrinkle-Prone Clothing

When it comes to packing for business, it’s important to avoid packing clothing that is prone to wrinkles because you want to look presentable at all times for meetings, lunches, and other events. Some travel experts suggest bringing a portable steamer or wrinkle-release spray, but I have found that when traveling for work, there isn’t always time to break out these items and fix your clothing.

This is why it’s much easier to simply be prepared from the start and bring clothes you can wear without extra fuss. Polyester blends, wool, or knit materials are less likely to crease during travel. Polyester dress pants are a great example, as well as a knit cardigan to throw over a dress shirt. There are also many dress clothes you can buy that are specifically made with wrinkle-resistant materials to keep your clothing looking fresh.

Another great tip that I use often is that rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space and reduce wrinkles. This method works particularly well for items like T-shirts, knitwear, and casual pants. And once you reach your destination, unpack your clothes as soon as possible to allow any wrinkles to naturally fall out. Hang clothing in the bathroom while you shower, as the steam can help release wrinkles.

Ha MalloyHa Malloy
Founder, Heat and Heartbeat

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