Exhibitions and trade shows have created one more challenge facing business travelers – and that’s how to navigate the airport with a carry-on and still have everything that you might need. There’s quite a lot that a modern professional needs to carry on their trips from personal documentation to electronics and chargers. A popular scenario for most, who are unused to business travel, is to pack an excessive amount in an oversized suitcase. Not only is this inconvenient for a three-day trip but also expensive.
Airlines have turned raising luggage fees in a competitive sport and any extra charges you can ring up come from overpacking. You have to be efficient and smart in what you select for your business trip. This is where we come on with some practical advice:
It sounds simple and the most intuitive thing, but so many people don’t practice this philosophy. Raise your hand, if this scenario feels eerily familiar. You’re tapped to travel with colleagues to a trade show, and you want to be prepared for everything. You pack twice as much underwear and socks you need for three days just in case. The same goes for the outfits you choose. Even though the weather reports say there’s no chance of rain, you take an umbrella or a raincoat. You bring all of your toiletries. By the time you’re done, it looks like you’re moving to a new country.
What you do instead is sit down and cull everything down to the essentials. Most often than not, you do not need any of the backups. If you’re worried about stains on your clothes, buy a small stain removal stick that can prevent wardrobe disasters when food is introduced.
Overpacking is a result of a wandering mind. Veterans, who’ve many conventions under their belt, have perfected a routine that’s based on previous experience and a knowledge of all the essentials they need. It all boils down to having an easy list that covers all the essentials. If you allow yourself to overthink things, you’ll overpack. That’s why a list is so helpful and keeps you right on track.
The carry-on is reserved for personal items and clothing. However, since you’re on a business trip you need to keep all the business items close to you. Aside from identification papers, your flight ticket and laptop, there are things to consider like your itinerary for the event, business cards, any promotional materials, notepads, an envelope for receipts and pens. A laptop bag should be enough to contain everything in one place so that you can check on everything in one easy go without having to unpack your carry-on.
Presentability is your strongest asset during your business travels and this mostly depends on how you’re dressed. Most hotels do not have an adequate amount of hangers, so we suggest to pack in a few plastic ones to take with you to hang the most important pieces from your daywear – shirts, trousers, jackets and skirts. There are tutorials online on how to fold business clothing so it doesn’t wrinkle, but that’s half the battle.
We’re circling back to presentability and hair is also a big point. You can’t rely on hotel hairdryers to be present or powerful enough, so a compact, foldable hairdryer is a necessity to get ready in the morning. If you’re pressed for space and travelling as a group, you can easily appoint just one person to bring a hairdryer for the entire group. Though be aware that groups larger than, say, four need more than one.
Alway know what weather you’re packing for – it makes all the difference in what you need and prevents you from running either too hot (leaves you sweaty) or too cold (leaves you vulnerable to sickness). This will inform you on whether you need things like umbrellas or sunscreen. Also, your travel outfit should be different from your professional outfit. You should look good, but you also need to be comfortable, especially if you’re preparing to go on a longer trip. Another trick to free up some space for travelling is if you can layer a few of your clothing options for your trip, so there’s less storage space used in the carry-on. We advise you to never check in a suitcase for a flight, because it’s a waste of money and time. You’ll be stuck waiting at the conveyor belt, which is not efficient and as we mentioned, it will cost you a lot more.
Obviously, mistakes happen in the packing process. You forget things and turns out you need a spare shirt or top. Learning how to best pack for a business trip takes time and examining who you are as a traveler.