How to Pack Light for Business Travel: Wardrobe Tips for Men

Packing for business travel takes some practice. If you choose to pack too much you can find yourself inconveniently travelling with heavy baggage and paying additional costs for handling. If you pack too lightly, you can easily find yourself undressed and stressed on your business trip, or possibly making an expensive side trip to a local retail store to augment your wardrobe.

There is a way to strike a fine balance to ensure that you pack exactly what you need to look (and feel) good on your next convention or meeting away from home. We’ve provided some tips to help you pack strategically and dress conveniently for business travel

Formal and Casual Pants

A garment bag is one of the best ways to pack pants and trousers for business travel. Pants are easily hung from hangers inside the garment bag and businessmen can avoid having slacks wrinkled during travel, reducing and sometimes eliminating the need to iron pants during a trip. 

It is important to consider that most hotels offer economical and convenient cleaning and garment pressing services. If you are traveling for a week or more, reduce your wardrobe packing needs by half by utilizing the hotel services. For business travellers, garment cleaning services are a tax deductible expense. Do not try to pack a cumbersome load of clothing for a two-week stay, but rather budget for cleaning expenses during your trip. You’ll be able to travel lighter and your clothing will be crisp and pressed, helping you dress to impress. 

Choose black formal slacks, brown or tan coloured semi-casual pants or khakis and one pair of jeans for informal excursions or casual social events. Wrinkle free khaki styled dress pants or chino slacks are great for business travel as they are comfortable and resistant to creasing or wrinkles. 

Sports Coats and Suit Jackets

Some meetings and conventions recommend casual attire, where jackets and ties are not required. If your business meeting or event requires formal dress, consider that suit jackets and sports coats can take up a lot of space in your suitcase. There are better options, depending on the nature of your business travel. 

If the duration of your trip is less than seven days, pack one sports jacket for more casual outfits. A sports jacket can be easily paired with pleated khaki pants or flat front chino styled pants for a professional, casual look. If however the tone of your business travel involves meetings and more formal events, select complete suit outfits (pants and jackets) and hang them inside a garment bag that can be easily folded over your arm or suitcase. 

Packing Shirts for All Occasions

When it comes to packing for business, it can be hardest to minimize the number of shirts that you pack for travel. Dress shirts and casual shirts should be selected based on the itinerary of the travel, providing enough options for suitable attire without over estimating the number of shirts that may be required.  

If packing for one week, consider three white shirts, two coloured dress shirts that coordinate with slacks you have packed, and two collared, short-sleeved dress shirts or golf shirts depending on the formality of meetings or business activities.  

Suits save Time and Space 

If coordinating a variety of different looks feels like a lot of work, consider packing a selection of quality fitted men’s suits. In almost every instance of business travel, a well-made and fitted suit conveys a professional image and makes the right impression. 

When packing your suit to save time and space, as well as to help eliminate the need for dry cleaning or steaming on arrival, use a garment bag to organize a selection of outfits including jacket, shirt and pants. Save even more time by placing the coordinating tie into the suit jacket pocket and pinning cufflinks to the cuff for a “ready to hang” wardrobe that saves time when unpacking. Never iron a suit, but pack a small travel steamer instead. 

Choose a stylish garment bag with dress shoe compartments for a portable, easy to carry travel option that makes a professional impression. Avoid packing sundries such as cologne, hair products or other items in the garment bag with your suits to protect them from damage during travel. Your suitcase or travel bag are the best and most practical places to pack grooming supplies.

With approximately 30 million Americans and 120 million global travellers flying for business every month, travel for domestic and international business continues to grow. It does pay to invest in high-quality luggage that is efficiently designed with options that making organization convenient for frequent travellers. 

How to Pare Down the Pairs of Shoes

Most business travellers over pack when it comes to one particular necessity; shoes. When economizing on space, shoes can present a challenge as they are cumbersome to pack. Start by investing in some fabric shoe bags before you travel. A durable shoe bag will hold up to one pair of shoes with a convenient draw string closure. The shoe back not only protects your clothing from dirt and debris that may be on your shoes, but it also helps to protect your formal dress shoes from being scratched during transit. 

When it comes time to decide which shoes to pack, consider the purpose and duration of your trip. If it is a formal business trip with a number of meetings, consider one pair of black and one pair of brown or tan shoes to be sufficient (and pack coordinating belts). Some business conventions include recreational or social event itineraries, and if pool time is part of the schedule, ensure that you pack one pair of casual close-toed shoes and one pair of sport “flip-flop” style shoes. That is really all you will need for comfort and professional attire. 

Leave Room for Purchases 

Whether you are travelling for recreation or for business purposes, chances are that you will want to take advantage of local shopping or even duty-free shopping at the airport. Consider leaving enough space inside your carry-on luggage or your suitcase to accommodate purchases on your trip. Leave any carry-on luggage or bags lightly packed to access essentials like headphones, personal devices, snacks and other impulse purchases and ensure that you pack heavier items in a suitcase that can be checked into baggage to make airport travel lighter, and easier. 

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