Going on an international business trip this year? Once you’ve handled all of the big things like your passport and vaccinations, and booked your flights and accommodations, it’s time to handle one of the most daunting tasks of all: packing! Get your gear together now by working through this global travel packing guide made especially for a trip like yours.
Choosing a Bag
The bag(s) you choose should depend on a few factors. Check out your options below:
One of the most spine-friendly, low-impact options for carting your stuff around will be a suitcase on wheels. The downside to a bulky wheeled suitcase, however, is carting it around on a Subway or similar local transportation, where a backpack might be more agile.
The backpack is a great option if you’re an on-the-go traveler who likes to pick up and get someplace. If you pack light enough that weight won’t cause a debilitating impact on your back and shoulders, a backpack is actually a more user-friendly alternative to a suitcase on wheels. However, if weight is an issue, wheels will prevail.
The best of both worlds? Maybe. It might be the perfect balance for you to be able to wheel your belongings when they get heavy or carry them backpack-style to maneuver around the airport or destination city. However, many travelers find that wheeled backpacks are neither the best suitcase nor the best backpack on the market, becoming a mediocre middle-ground instead.
This option is for the most casual traveler. While it may arguably hold the most clothing and other belongings of all the options presented, it is also the least user-friendly, posture-friendly, or spatially conservative option here.
Other Luggage Considerations
One of the smartest and most space-saving ways to pack a week’s worth of clothes in your carry-on is to use packing cubes. You can get these in most department, housewares, or travel specialty stores and they’re not too expensive.
Are you packing a suit, nice dress, or other formal attire you won’t want to dry-clean or have pressed once you land? Consider bringing a half-length garment bag as your personal item OR learn to fold formal attire like a pro.
Make sure any bag you choose is outfitted with TSA-approved locks and a tag that identifies you by name, address, and contact information. These two precautions help you mitigate the risks of theft and loss while traveling.
Dressing for Success
One of the biggest question marks when packing for a global business trip is what to wear. Answer these three questions to illuminate your best options:
What are you doing?
If you’ll be sitting at a conference or seminar for days, choose comfortable business casual with layers to adjust for temperature. If you’re going to be presenting important information or entertaining a prospective client, opt for your nicest digs and take extra care that they arrive in good condition. If you’re going to be on a cruise with your award-winning sales team, bring a smart pair of shorts and a light, short-sleeved shirt. Keep everything fairly professional, even if you do have plans to enjoy the nightlife while you’re in town.
What’s the weather going to be?
It may be a no-brainer to dress according to the season but, as your trip approaches, check the actual forecast in your destination city. While it might usually be rainy and temperate where you’re headed, an unexpected heat wave could leave you sweating it out if you’re not prepared.
How long is your trip?
If you’re only traveling for 5 days or less, you’ve got room to pack back-ups and extras of things. You can use a little extra wiggle room to pack a maybe outfit or an extra pair of less sensible shoes. However, if you’re traveling for 10+ days, you’ll need to be strategic. Pack items that can mix-and-match to create new outfits and consider your capacity to launder things while you’re away.
Follow the rules
Make sure you are only packing TSA-approved and customs-approved items in both your checked luggage and carry-on bags – this includes adhering to what you can and cannot bring, as well as the sizes or quantities that are allowed.
Keep it simple
Choose a roll-on or travel-sized cologne and bring only your must-have hair, beauty, or hygiene products. Sticking to the basics will keep you looking clean and groomed. There’s no demand for you to be fancy, just polished.
Pack glasses, prescription medications, or other needs specific to your lifestyle. Make sure that you do take precautions for the circumstances of your trip as well. For example, if you plan to be outdoors for a portion of your trip, pack sunscreen.
Documents & Necessities
It’s important to have your passport, travel visa info, wallet with identification, boarding pass(es) and other flight information, vaccination paperwork, and access to your itinerary, rental and hotel confirmations, etc.
Make sure you have easy but concealed access to cash, credit and debit cards, and any other cards – like a frequent flyer card. Don’t forget to bring your health insurance card, too.
Keeping it all together
One of the best ways to keep your itinerary, event agendas, and accommodations all together and organized is with the WorkTrip app.