We’ve all been there before.
You leave home, get well on our way to your destination, and realize you forgot a crucial thing on your packing list. Nowhere is this possibility more terrifying than on a business trip, where forgetting an essential part of your packing list can have tough consequences for both you and your company, not to mention the embarrassment that can come with forgetting something as essential as a laptop charger or a belt.
Even if you’ve mastered how to prepare for a business trip and know every business travel tip in the book, it’s nice to have a set packing list before a trip so you can ensure you don’t forget anything essential. We’ve outlined everything you need right here to help you avoid embarrassment, or worse, on your upcoming business trips.
Business travel packing list: the business trip essentials
We’ll go over a business travel packing list that includes work clothing, non-work clothing, work essentials, toiletries, and other necessary items to bring on a business trip. Using this guide, you’ll be sure to have everything you need for your next trip.
- Outerwear (if necessary)
The first part of your packing list you should address is work clothing. Make sure that you’re bringing appropriate dress for the business obligations you have on your trip. Even if there aren’t specific dress code limitations on a trip, you should still make sure you represent your company well with a polished appearance.
This aspect of your packing list includes all the essentials to dress for business success. If you’re traveling to a chilly destination in the fall, winter, or spring months, make sure you bring appropriate outerwear. And as always, bring more than enough socks and undergarments.
- Comfortable travel clothing
- Workout clothing
- Comfortable shoes
- Hats or sunglasses
You’ll also want to be sure to bring clothes that are comfortable for traveling and spending downtime outside of business hours. Getting in a quick workout can be a great way to blow off steam from a long day of business obligations, so be sure to remember some gym clothes if you are so inclined.
Also, comfortable shoes are a must for time outside the office. If you’re in a city that may require more walking than you’re used to, you won’t want your dress shoes picking up more wear than you anticipate.
- Laptop or tablet
- Chargers for all devices
- USB drive
- Business cards
- Pen and notepad
- Snacks for work
- Calendar or itinerary
This part of your packing list includes all of your work-related essentials. Obviously, you’ll need the laptop, tablet, or whatever devices you use for your work. Remembering chargers for your work devices and phone is a must, as is a pen and notepad for any checklists, goals, or notes you’ll need to make during your trip. Business cards are great for when you are meeting new clients or unexpected networking opportunities.
With the hectic nature of business travel, it is essential that you set out some kind of calendar or itinerary for your trip. Whether it’s a physical itinerary or simply on your phone, don’t forget to make sure it’s with you on your trip so you can make sure you’re sticking to the most effective schedule possible.
Remember that you’re also going into what is potentially an unfamiliar environment and, when visiting with a client, you won’t be able to control how long you’ll need to be around for your business obligations. Bringing some backup snacks in case you need an extra boost during the workday is a must.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Razor and shaving cream
- Contacts and glasses
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap (if necessary for personal use)
- Makeup (if desired)
- Medication (if necessary)
- Basic first aid needs
Toiletries are of course an essential part of your business packing checklist. Rather self-explanatory, you’ll want to make sure your personal hygiene is at its peak when meeting with clients and performing other business obligations. Remember that you are representing your company, and make sure that you put forward an image of professionalism and cleanliness that your company would be proud of.
Medication and basic first aid needs are important additions to this aspect of your list in case of any unexpected medical emergencies. When it comes to your health on the road, you can never be over prepared.
- Books or magazines
- Snacks for downtime
These additional items are all essential to a business trip, even if you don’t use them for work purposes. You’ll want to bring headphones and any other forms of entertainment, including books or magazines, for your travel time and downtime on the trip. In addition to bringing some snacks for your business obligations, you should also bring backup food for time outside the office, as you may find yourself caught in a flight delay or unknown area while hungry.
Of course, remembering your wallet, keys, and phone may sound intuitive, but it’s always best to include them on a checklist to make sure than you have them with you when you leave for your trip. Especially if you booked your trip via travel management software, you’ll need your phone to stay up to date with your reservation while in transit.
Let’s get packing!
Ready to start packing yet? Using this list as your guide, you’ll be sure to have everything you need to rock your next business trip. Good luck out there on the road!
Now that your packing list is squared away, you should read up on the 8 most common business trip mistakes to make sure you're extremely prepared in the event of a major issue!