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How to Pack for Business Travel

Packing. It’s not fun for everyone but there are ways of making it faster, more convenient and more purposeful.

There’s a great scene in the film Up in the Air where George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham arrives at an airport with an employee he’s mentoring. They promptly get her a new suitcase. He points out how many days of her life she’ll lose (seven) with a bad one.

In the spirit of Ryan Bingham here are some pointers for packing like you mean business. Because, you know, you’re on business…

Invest in a high quality suitcase

Ryan Bingham’s suitcase was a Travelpro Rollaboard carry-on case– which is a favourite among airline staff and frequent fliers. It’s 20 inches, so conforms to in-flight size regulations. The front section is padded for laptops. Of course, Samsonite are a long-standing and trusted alternative, with an array of suitcase options that include 20-inch cases and smaller.

Get a hassle-free laptop case

If you like to have your carry-on separate to your laptop, pick out a TSA-approved case that allows you to lie it flat on the X-ray belt at security so you don’t have to spend extra faff time getting it out.

Start with the essentials

Passport. Money. Phone. Underwear. Toothbrush. Laptop. Chargers. Lay these next to your bag before you do anything else. Even if you turn up in a location having forgotten your clothes, at least you’ll have the basics with you as you run to the nearest clothes shop (presuming you’re already wearing shoes).

Document wallets are great

It’s such a simple thing but when you’ve got tickets to keep together with hotel bookings and other paperwork, not to mention your passport, a really simple document wallet is really handy.

Heard of the three-second fold?

Google it. Alright, perhaps you’re not going to become a folding ninja any time soon, but it’s good to have a packing method. No linens, no silks. Crease-proof shirts. Dividers. Leave out the soft toy – because imagine if it got left behind. Put the heaviest clothes at the bottom and work your way up to the lightest. Some people roll garments that don’t need to be kept flat and use another section of their suitcase for those that do. Plus rolling is fun.

Women: unless you’re superhuman, consider wearing flats and packing heels only if you need them. It’s easier not to have to be run on glorified sticks to the airport or between meetings.

Gadgets belong together

Alongside their chargers, preferably. And an adaptor. You can keep them all in one section of your carry on, or in a separate bag if you prefer to carry two but if you want to make sure they stay in place you might want to invest in a Cocoon Grid-it organiser. It has nifty bands that hold each gadget and its buddies in place.

Look smart on the plane

To reduce the space in your carry-on, wear your suit jacket or blazer on the plane. If it’s too balmy outside carry it. And carry a pen on you, even if only for lending to others because you’re a typing pro. Ryan Bingham also wore slip-on shoes to make his breeze through security even breezier.

Once you’ve sorted your business trip packing routine it’ll be quicker and easier each time you go. If you’re super keen you could even have a ready-to-go bag in your wardrobe.

By Sophie Collard

Business Travel


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