It’s hard to find a happy medium when packing for a trip. If you pack too much, a heavy bag is going to weight you down—both physically and mentally. Pack too little and you’ll be kicking yourself for not bringing that extra pair of flats.
Business travel is even trickier. The belongings you take will dictate more than your beach style. They will shape your professional image and ability to excel at the tasks presented.
Here are some tips for eliminating packers’ remorse:
1. Suck it up and Plan
It’s not the most thrilling activity, but physically planning what you will wear, down to the accessories—ties and socks or scarves and jewelry—will pay off big time. Not only will limiting what you bring to what you will actually wear conserve space, it’ll save time during the trip. Bring some staple pieces that can be repurposed. Also choose one color pallet, preferably a darker shades. This will facilitate mixing and matching, plus stains are not as visible on darker items.
2. Layer it in
Now that you’ve followed our first step, it’s time to layer those outfits into the bag. Always put the heaviest items at the bottom and close to the suitcase’s wheels. This keeps luggage balanced and prevents crushing or wrinkling other items. Keep the clothing you’ll be wearing soonest at the top, the last one on bottom and so on.
3. Be Selective on the Heavy Stuff
Be discerning with shoes and heated hair styling tools (straightener, blow-dryer, etc.). As a rule of thumb, a trip that’s five days or less only requires two pairs of shoes and one (if any) hair styling tool. If needed, one coat can be worn onto the plane—and that’s it, so be sure that it’s versatile and easy to match.
4. Make it Fit (in a carry-on)!
Fitting everything into a carry-on is well worth it. Waiting at the carousal is a major time suck, and just imagine the ordeal if your checked bag gets lost. To maximize space (and reduce wrinkles) roll up your clothing instead of folding. Make sure you’re taking advantage of every crevasse. For instance, if you’re packing boots, fill them up with socks. Ultimately, question the necessity of every item. Try evaluating what was packed versus what was actually used after each trip.
5. Never Part with the Important Stuff
Anything valuable, whether it be expensive jewelry, clothes, your most important outfit, medication, contacts or devices for you work, must be in your carry-on. If you end up checking a bag, be prepared for the worst-case scenario, as lost luggage isn’t exactly a rarity. Decide on carry-on essentials by evaluating what you’d need for the next three days.
6. What’s on the Outside Counts
Packing smart involves more than strategic planning, it also demands the right suitcase. Sure, luggage can be expensive, but the time saved and relief provided is priceless. Many luxury bags have wheels that glide in every direction. Plus, their appearance is also more impressive. This is a huge help when you’re on the clock, as you never know who you might run into or where you might need to go at the last minute.
Another thing to consider when choosing a bag is a soft case. This encasing fits more easily into overhead bins, making them less likely to be selected for checking if the flight is full. Plus, the flexibility allows for more packing freedom.
7. Segment the Toiletries
If you’re a frequent flyer, a ready-to-jet toiletry bag is a must. Keep it separate from your everyday products and check to see if products need to be restocked after every trip.
One pro-tip for non-pre-checkers is putting your toiletry bag in the same compartment as electronics. Therefore if products are liquid, you only have to open up one section during security check.
8. Digitize All
It’s 2018—everything can be digitized and accessed through your smart phone. Additionally, most things are synchronized through the Cloud. It would be a huge waste to stuff your bag with paper items. If, however, a hard copy is necessary, make arrangements beforehand. Either ship it to your destination or have it ready to be printed at a local copy store. For a remote destination, scope out the printer sites in advance.
9. Make Room for Client Gifts
It shouldn’t be elaborate, but a little trinket can be a big and memorable gesture. Even for a short trip, bring two or three tokens of appreciation that reflect your brand. You never know who you might need to woo.
Conversely, make sure you have room to bring back any gifts received while on the road. You wouldn’t want to leave that special something behind because your luggage is bursting at the seams.