Being a former Event Coordinator , I had to travel plenty of times for work and my biggest struggle was always how will I pack for this trip. Now, since I have traveled for work quite a few times and for personal reasons, I would say I have become somewhat experienced and have compiled a list of what to bring.
There are a few things you want to determine first:
- How long are you staying?
- Location of your business trip?
- What does the business trip entail?
- Will you have any free time?
Those are usually the questions I ask myself before I figure out what I need to pack. Usually, I end up packing some of the same things because most of my responses to those questions tend to stay relatively similar.
I have divided the essentials into 3 categories: Work Related, Non-Work Related, and Extras.
- Work Uniform or Business Clothes – now this one seems a bit obvious but trust me when I say that there were times where I have forgotten to bring something of this nature. If you have a certain uniform that you need to wear than that probably makes your life easier and you can just check that off your list. If you need to dress up in a business outfit, well, you need to determine what would be most appropriate. Are you presenting at this work event? Then you might need a suit jacket and dress pants. Are you just attending? Then a business casual outfit will do the trick. Is your company really casual or are you going on lots of fun outings? Then you will need more presentable but comfortable clothes. Here are some suggestions:
- Suit jacket/pants/tie
- Blouses/shirts for men/sweaters (tends to get really chilly in those meeting rooms; TRUST ME…they turn up the air so people won’t fall asleep and pay better attention; bring a jacket or sweater)
- Work uniform if applicable
- Shoes – make sure you are bringing shoes that are appropriate for business.
- Men – a nice pair of closed shoes that match your outfit (do not forget your socks)
- Ladies – heels or flats (if you are planning on bringing heels make sure they are comfortable if you know you will be spending all day in them)
- Work Materials – do you need to bring your laptop or a slide deck on a USB to make a presentation. Maybe you need to bring your portfolio because you are going to a networking event. Make sure you ask your coworkers or boss what will be needed as far as the business trip goes. Below are the things I always bring just in case:
- laptop – even if you do not end up needing it, you can always use it on the plane or in your hotel room to watch movies or catch up on work/personal things.
- notebook and pen – it is just nice to have in case you need to take some notes or jot something down even for personal reasons.
- portable charger – this will come in handy when you are sitting at these meetings or doing some sort of activity for a long period of time and then your phone dies… I carry a portable charger every trip I go on, it always comes in handy.
Now this really depends on where you are going and how long. The longer the trip, the more you might want to bring of the below items. Also, you need to determine if you will have any free time because if you won’t there is no point in bringing all these extra items that you have to haul around in your suitcase.
- Warm Weather – obviously check the weather anywhere you are going, but this will help you determine how warm it will actually be. For example, maybe you are going to California which has warmer weather, but will it be in the 60’s instead of 90? It will make a big difference in what to bring.
- Shorts/T-shirts – this will come in handy when you want to go grab a bite to eat outside of your hotel or just something you can lounge around in.
- Flip flops/ Sandals – you already packed those nice dress shoes, but you will need something to walk around in when you are not at your business events.
- Bathing suit – you’re going somewhere warm? there is probably going to be a pool at your hotel or a maybe even a beach near by. Don’t think you will have free time? Bring it anyways; this is the one I always regretted not bringing due to those days where the event ended early or I just felt like relaxing in a pool.
- Going out outfit – no I don’t mean go bring your party clothes, you will probably be too tired to be partying but hey you never know ;). Make sure to bring an outfit or two that you can wear out to dinner or show.
- Sweater/hoodie – bring one no matter what; it will save your life. You will be cold at one point or another, so just pack one.
- Colder Weather – this is definitely a harder one because winter clothes are usually thicker and fill up your suitcase faster, but all you need is universal pieces that can work with plenty outfits.
- Boots – make sure to wear these when you are travelling, so that they do not take up space in your suitcase.
- Jacket/gloves/scarves – again these are just obvious, but I know plenty of people who will not bring an actual warm jacket because they do not expect to be outside as much. And, I have been there where I didn’t bring gloves or a scarf and then went out and really regretted it. Wear your jacket on you, so you do not have to pack it.
- Layers – bring a couple of universal pieces that you can layer on. For example, if you bring a plain white t-shirt, you can wear it casually or throw on some jewelry or a cardigan and suddenly it become something you can go out in.
- Baiting suit – there still might be an indoor pool and you still might want to relax in it.
Extras: this might be the most helpful because it’s always the little things that I tend to forget. So below are some things I bring when travelling for work and in general too.
- Jeans – always bring jeans!!! They go with everything and if you forget something they can be your go to. If you need to dress casual they work, if you need to dress up they work as well. Bring jeans on every trip, no matter where you go. You will most likely use them.
- Entertainment – this will come in handy while travelling to your destination as well as when you are there. There were times when the hotel did not have much to offer, therefore, having something to keep you entertained will be really useful.
- Laptop – which you might already have due to work but it can kill some time for you in between meetings and on the plane.
- Reading Material – if you are like me then you do most of your reading while travelling. I usually go for a mystery/action packed book to make or if I am trying to fulfill my wanderlust, then I am reading my travel magazines. Reading material also come in handy as time fillers between meetings and at night when you just want to unwind.
- Headphones – not only are these perfect for listening to your music, but also for watching movies that are provided on a plane sometimes. Make sure you bring your cord if you have Bluetooth headphones, made that mistake way too many times.
- Games – download some games on your phone (Candy Crush for example is perfect because you do not need service to play). Also, bring a deck of cards; if you are travelling with people, it gives you something to do with the person you are with.
- Snacks – not only is airport food expensive, but they will come in handy once you get to the hotel too. If you have ever stayed at any hotel, then you know that they rack up those prices too. Now, I am not saying go buy a family size bag of chips, but bring yourself a granola bar or some snack that you enjoy.
- Water bottle – again, just as the snacks, you are saving money on this one because you do not have to spend a lot of money for a drink. Personally, when I travel I do not drink as much water as I should and my skin always feels dry and dehydrated. Having a water bottle is really beneficial and most places have water fountains that you can fill up your water bottle at.
- Printed or written information – this may be old school, but print out the address of your hotel or meeting room or even your tickets for those just in case moments. It could just help you in those horrible situations where you lose your phone or something goes wrong (it does happen; travel isn’t always pretty and perfect even though the pictures are), but having a phone number or address written down somewhere is essential.
This is obviously not all you need to bring and will bring; they are merely suggestions and recommendations. Also, do not forget the daily things like your toiletries :). Hopefully this is a great guide for beginners and those that are travelling on their first business trip.
For those of you that travel a lot for work, what are some of your best tips for packing?
Happy Travels – xoxo Dre <3