You might be an old hand at business travel, or you may have never been on a business trip before. Either way, knowing what to wear each day, and consequently what to pack is the key to a smooth and successful trip, especially if you’re going quite far afield.
But making arrangements, preparing for your meetings and ensuring you have everything you need can be stressful enough, let alone worrying about what to wear and whether you can get away with a carry-on bag or if you’ll need to check in a larger suitcase! That’s why we’re here to help ease some of the pressure of finding the right outfits and packing all the essentials for your trip, with our handy guide below.
Choosing your travel outfit
While you don’t want to go as casual as you might when travelling for pleasure, if you’ve got a long day of travelling ahead of you then you’ll want to be comfortable. Perhaps choose some relaxed jeans or comfortable ankle trousers, pair these with a smart jumper and some comfy shoes, pumps or trainers are advisable if you’ve got to do lots of walking.
While this outfit is more casual, it’s still good practice to look presentable at all times. After all, you never know who you’ll run into or how your plans might change.
What to pack for the daytime
You might be visiting a different branch from the one you work in, perhaps overseas or in a different city. As such, it’s best not to assume the dress code and instead get in touch with your contacts there and ask what is expected of you. This helps to avoid any workwear faux pas, but also means you don’t have to pack several different outfits just in case.
It’s always a good idea to choose some basic trousers, skirt or dress in a neutral colour like black or grey. That way you can just choose a few shirts or blouses to mix and match with throughout your trip. This will help to save you space in your bag.
It’s also good idea to bring a blazer or smart jacket to match, as well as some comfortable but professional shoes. This is especially true if you’ve got important business meetings coming up during your trip.
Alternatively, if you’ve checked up with the other office and the dress code is more casual, you can relax your style a little bit. That said, it’s still pays to make a good impression so it’s better to opt for smarter outfits.
What to pack if you’re going out in the evening
If you’re going out in the evening, either for dinner or drinks with your co-workers or potentially even clients, you need to look the part! If you are able to find out where you’ll be going beforehand this can be really helpful for choosing the perfect outfit. If you know it’s going to be a formal affair, a suit, cocktail or tea dress, or pants and blouse combo are recommended.
If you’re unsure where you’ll be going, you need to make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities. Bring a smart top that can go with the jeans you wore on your journey. This covers you for more casual events such as BBQs or drinks in a bar. Then bring another shirt or top to pair with your work trousers if you’re going for a nice dinner. If you’re a women you may already have a nice work appropriate dress you want to wear.
What to pack if you’ve got some down time
You might have a day to yourself, or perhaps you’ve got a few hours in the morning or evening to relax. If this is the case it can be a nice idea to bring your workout gear, especially if you have access to a gym in the hotel you’re staying at. If not, this also gives you the option to go for a run or take part in outdoor activities. This can be the perfect way to de-stress and unwind on a business trip. Especially if you’ve had a long day at the office. Finally, don’t forget your pyjamas or some comfy clothes to relax in when you’re off duty!
What accessories to pack
It can be a nice idea to take some jewellery or accessories with you to jazz up your outfits, especially if you’re keeping your wardrobe fairly basic. What’s more, it’s a good idea to look at what the weather will be like while you’re away. If it’s going to be cold you may want to take a scarf or hat with you. Alternatively, if it’s going to be warm and sunny you might want to pack your sunglasses and some sun cream.
You might also want to choose a handbag, satchel or backpack to take with you for use during the day. You can use this for your tech, important documents, purse/wallet, lunch and a bottle of water. It’s also a good idea for you to pack a travel umbrella in your bag just in case it rains – that way you won’t get caught out.
Other useful things to remember to pack
Most obviously you’ll need all your travel documents and any important work-related papers. It’s also likely that you’ll need to take your laptop or tablet with you, so make sure you have all the appropriate chargers and equipment. The last thing you need is to be running round a strange city in search of a charger. These will need to be scanned separately if you have to go through airport security, so a laptop bag can be a life saver. And make sure to take any other work-related supplies you might need such as a notepad, pen and business cards.
Finally, don’t forget to take your usual toiletries with you. It’s a good idea to buy the small travel size bottles as this will save space in your suitcase, plus regulations mean you can’t take too much liquid in your carry-on bags (if you’ve got one). Of course you can always buy these while you’re away, but this can take up extra time, something which you may not have if you’ve got a busy schedule. So if you can, it’s best to pack everything you need right from the start so you feel relaxed and prepared for your trip.