The golden rule when traveling for business? Never, ever check in your bag. Doing so puts you in the position to lose everything you’ve packed — for good. And while it’s one thing to know the golden rule, it’s another thing entirely to put it into effect.
As difficult as it may seem, packing lightly enough to avoid weight limits and cleverly enough to still travel with enough for the business trip ahead is very doable — especially if you use our eight tips below as a guide.
Read on to find out some of the best ways to pack smarter, pack lighter, and travel more intelligently, all for easier business travel.
Consider your luggage
Since the golden rule demands we avoid checked luggage, that means there’s a fair amount of variety when it comes to which carry-on luggage to take for a business trip. Still, it pays dividends to take a good look at what the trip will entail, and what kind of luggage makes the best companion.
If your upcoming business trip is a night or two long, perhaps a smaller weekender along with a briefcase/purse is a better combination. For longer trips, resist the urge to gravitate to large pieces of luggage. In this situation, a 22-inch piece of sturdy rolling luggage is your best bet.
Get rid of the colours
Take a cue from the fashion giants of the world: black matches with anything. If you’ve yet to internalise this when it comes to business travel, then you’re missing valuable opportunities to reduce the amount of clothing you pack.
Black not only matches with everything, but usually lasts longer and makes picking outfits infinitely easier in the morning. Collectively, this means less time spent figuring things out, and more time concentrating on being productive with the tasks at hand.
Liquids, liquids, liquids
Packing liquids is simple, as long as you take the absolute minimum you need. Storing liquid in tiny containers rather than plastic bags makes this easier. It also reassures any security personnel that the liquid you’re traveling with falls under the legal limit allowed.
Save that space instead. Take advantage of the free liquids — shampoos, moisturizers, and conditioners — offered free at most hotels.
Hotel laundry service is your best friend
Most people tend to overpack their luggage for a business trip because they imagine doing laundry won’t be an accessible option.
Instead, ensure it is by staying two nights in a row at your choice of lodging every seven days. This guarantees packing five (or less!) of each essential (five pairs of underwear, five pairs of socks) will get you through even the longest trips.
Know your devices
You’d be surprised how many times business travelers are left out in the cold with a dead smartphone or laptop battery before even getting on a flight. Thankfully, this lesson is usually learned pretty quickly — but it doesn’t mean you need to learn it the hard way.
To avoid this unseemly fate, test each of your device’s battery life to develop an accurate sense of how long each last on a full charge. Doing this will give you a far better understanding of what kind of extra power you might need bring along to ensure you stay connected no matter what.
Backup your backups
It’s hard to communicate the importance of having proper documentation while on the road. Without a critical piece of identification or credential, your business trip can be derailed before it even starts.
Let’s make sure that never happens by storing high-resolution scans of your driver’s licence, passport, visa and credit cards on an SD card or your computer’s hard drive.
And when these scans are all on your devices, print them out after. You never know when a paper copy might come in handy should you lose the SD card or if your laptop becomes a dud.
Review, reduce, repeat
No habit is perfect. As such, it’s important to take a good look at what you pack and how you pack it all every three months. When the time comes, audit everything you usually pack — and don’t be afraid to be difficult. Challenge each piece of clothing and every item you bring along, and give a pass to those items which are absolutely essential.
Easier business travel means getting rid of the clutter. Doing so every few months rewards business travelers with a better flying experience every time.