How to Pack for an Overnight Business Trip


The need to be an efficient packer is something that will come up again and again in your lifetime. We’re not just talking about being able to pack light, we’re talking about being able to pack quickly, maybe for a spur of the moment trip. Let’s say your boss tells you he needs someone at the Wisconsin office tomorrow. Or you’ve got a deal secured with a buyer in Seattle—but he wants to shake on the agreement tonight.  At times like that, you’ll need to pack quickly and smartly. Here’s how.

Photo: Charlie Phillips / Wiki Commons 
Early Prep

Not everyone has someone who can book everything in advance for them. Make sure you’ve got your passport ready and visa stamped, if you’re going out of the country. Make a quick phone call ahead of time to make sure you’ve got a room booked and ready, as well as a car available at the airport.

And try and use your own travel experience to let you know what to expect. Chicago O’Hare is one of America’s most poorly designed airports—so give yourself an extra half hour just to get out.

Photo: Infrogmation / Wiki Commons 

Pack for Your Destination, and Pack to Fly
It’s as simple as thinking of where you’re going, and what you’re going to need. Heading to Detroit in winter? Take the winter coat and Timberlands, leave the sneakers at home. Going to do business in Miami? Sunglasses, and linen shirts. Not sure what NYC in May might feel like? It’ll save you a world of headache to just check the Weather Network and then make your decision. And places like Newark Liberty are notorious for having terrible baggage handlers—so maybe try and avoid checking baggage.

And remember, you could be on a plane for god knows how long. Wear something you’re comfortable with. Wear loafers to get through security fast.

Keep It Simple

On a short trip, you don’t need to bring your entire closet with you. Wear one suit, pack one suit, and keep two extra changes of shirts in the suitcase. Socks and underwear for as many days as you’re going to be gone, and bring one business-casual look, just in case you need to do some champagning and campaigning outside of the office. You’re going to need more on longer trips, but this basic setup should be good for two or three days.

Photo: Robert Scheie / Wiki Commons 

If you’re in the business of jetting off at a moment’s notice, it might benefit you to start keeping an overnight toiletries bag under the counter at home. Just keep your usual stuff down there—toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, floss, razor and the like. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world if you forget something, because most hotels keep some toiletries at the front desk and all you need to do is call and ask.


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