When it comes to traveling for business, you can take some simple steps to stay ahead of the game. Preparedness and planning are you best weapons. With a well thought out, but simple plan of attack, it’s easy to avoid a large number of the plights and pitfalls that many travelers fall victim to.

When packing for your business trip, the biggest thing you can do is to decide what needs to go with you, and what can stay at home. As much as you love that brand new set of TaylorMade golf clubs, odds are they can take the weekend off while you’re out in the business world making the magic happen.

Consider a small handful of categories your travel gear will fall into when preparing for the trip.

First order of business–your attire: 

  • What is the dress code for your trip?
  • packing-tip-oneIs it the same for all functions, or will you need a versatile wardrobe?
  • How long are you going for?
  • What is the weather going to be like at your destination?

These are questions you should have sorted out beforehand. Bring what you need, and only that. If you will be attending a board meeting, followed by a night of bar hopping with clients, you’re going to need some options. Bring clothes that pack well (wool suits get the wrinkles out like it’s their job). Have an extra outfit for each function at the ready. You do NOT want to be the guy in the meeting with your white socks showing because the hotel maid service threw your only pair of black socks away.

Up next–work related items:

packing-tip-2Once you have the wardrobe for your entire trip planned out, make sure you have all work related items ready. This does not mean simply have your laptop and charger packed up and thrown in the suitcase.

Do you need to bring hard copies of sales reports with you? Are you visiting a vendor who will want drawings of your most recent construction project? If you assume the hotel or your meeting locations will have printing capabilities for you to easily access, you’re setting yourself up for a potentially disastrous situation. Make copies of what you need on your last day at the office before the trip (hopefully you remember where the printer is).

Your work items checklist:

  • Printed handouts
  • Business cards
  • Pens and a notebook
  • Laptop, mouse and charger

Batting third–electronics and entertainment:

packing-tip-3We have these 2 lumped together because in this day and age, they are often times one and the same. This doesn’t mean forget the book at home for your in-flight entertainment. It’s always a good idea to take a break from the screen, and reading books (fiction or nonfiction) is a great way to keep your mind sharp.

It seems like something you shouldn’t have to even think about, however, it must be said: Bring your chargers with you! These little guys are items we take for granted when we’re in the middle of our office and home lives. They are always where we need them to be. It is easy and more common than you might think to leave essential phone accessories at home when rushing out to catch a flight.

Aside from your chargers, consider power adapters if you are traveling overseas. Take the time to look up the country you will be visiting, and find out if you need a power converter and AC adapter. You can find kits that have all converters and adapters used in the world, for a lot cheaper than you might think (Amazon).

Check, double check, and…recheck?

Remember in college when you finished a term paper and thought you had an A+ on your hands? Then you re-read it in the morning and found that sleep deprivation adds 2 letter grades?

The same can happen with planning and packing. Check your list the night you’re done packing, but make some time in the morning to double check your work. Did your toothbrush and deodorant make it into your toiletries bag? You might have charged your phone at night; make sure that charger makes it into the suitcase.

Take the few minutes to ensure you’re ready to roll. Once you’ve packed and prepared in an orderly way, you’re a step ahead of everyone else. Get to the airport on time, relax with a good book while you wait in the terminal knowing you’re ready to roll.

For more business travel tips, head on over to our Business Travel section. For other packing tips, we’ve got you covered.

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