Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How To: Pack For A Business Trip

Unlike personal travel when you can pack haphazardly at the last minute if need be, business travel involves more consideration -- after all, your aim is to look as polished and presentable as possible while keeping your luggage light. Here we discuss what to pack for a three-day business trip, beginning with the key wardrobe pieces every man needs to be prepared for any event and always look great.

Each piece represents a modern classic, meaning it will look just as good five years from now as it does today, provided you purchase it in a neutral color. Once you've learned how to make one look work in a multitude of ways, review our pro packing tips to find out how you can fit everything into one carry-on and avoid checking your baggage. Finally, print out our handy packing checklist or bookmark this page so that you'll never be at a loss for what to bring on a business trip again.

Day 1

The first day of a business trip normally entails hitting the ground running with meetings to attend and colleagues and clients to impress. Particularly if you're meeting a client (or prospective client) for the first time, this day is the most crucial in terms of how you dress. For a day that starts with a morning flight and progresses to an afternoon presentation, don a slim-cut, neutral-hued, two-button suit with a crisp blue button-down and a pair of dress shoes, accessorized with a classic watch. At this point, forgo the tie as you may feel uncomfortable if your skin tends to swell on planes. Once you get to your hotel, however, add your tie and you're ready for action.

Day 2

With first impressions and deal-making presentations out of the way, you can concentrate more on relaxing on day two of your trip. For a casual business day, go for a contemporary look by pairing your pla blue dress shirt with ultra-dark rinse, trouser-cut jeans and some sleek running shoes. Alternatively, swap your dress shirt for a polo in the summer or layer over a V-neck sweater or cardigan during colder months. For an evening networking cocktail event, head back to your hotel and switch your jeans for your suit pants and your sneakers for dress shoes, throwing on your dress shirt, too, if you're not already wearing it. Finally, cap off the evening with a dip in the hotel pool, being sure to rinse off your swimming trunks when you're done as they can double as workout clothes in the morning.

Day 3

By morning your swimsuit should be dry, so put it on to go work up a sweat in the hotel gym. When packing your suitcase for your homeward journey, use one of the extra plastic bags you should have on hand to store your dirty gym clothes. If your flight is later in the day, you'll probably spend a half day at the office before being dropped off at the airport, so you need to dress in a way that's office-appropriate but also comfortable enough for the plane. A smart, casual ensemble consisting of your jeans, blue dress shirt, suit jacket, and dress shoes or sneakers is the perfect combo for the day. Consider adding a tie to your outfit if your office dress code tends toward the formal side.

Travel Tips

Packing everything into one bag and getting it there wrinkle-free is the business traveler's greatest challenge. Before you begin packing, assess what you plan to wear when you fly. Chances are it will be your suit as you'll likely have a meeting to attend once you land. Aside from being convenient, wearing your suit on the plane is also a good idea because, along with your dress shoes, it's relatively bulky and heavy, which means that wearing it will clear up valuable space in your carry-on. To make further room in your carry-on, place any other shoes you're taking as well as belts along the outer edge of your suitcase. Place your underwear and tie in a plastic bag then stuff them into your shoes along with your socks, small electronic devices, and a few additional plastic bags.

Your shoes should also be in a resealable bag to ensure they don't transfer dirt to your clothing. Next, the bottom of your bag should be lined with your softest garments or those that don't wrinkle easily, such as T-shirts and jeans. Roll these garments rather than folding them to minimize wrinkling. Any items that need to be hung should be protected in garment or dry-cleaner bags and placed near the top of your suitcase. When it comes to your grooming kit, remember that all liquids and gels must be in small bottles to comply with airline rules. Store grooming products in a bag with a capacity of no more than one liter and place them in an easy-access zip pocket. Finally, infuse your bag with a freshly laundered scent and keep it odor-free by interspersing a few sheets of fabric softener here and there throughout your luggage.

pack for a business trip like a pro

To take the hassle out of what to bring on a business trip, refer to this final checklist for exactly what to pack:

-Two-button suit in navy or gray
-Pale Blue dress shirt
-Silk tie
-Dress shoes: black or brown oxfords
-Dark jeans
-Casual top: polo in summer, sweater in winter
-Sleek sneakers
-T-shirt for gym
-Exercise shoes
-Leather belt
-Underwear: three pairs
-Socks: three pairs
-Grooming kit containing toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hairstyling products, shampoo, deodorant, cologne, razor, shaving cream, comb or brush, condoms
-Electronics: MP3 player/iPod, cell phone and charger, laptop, camera, adapter for international travel
-Other: pens, business cards

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