Work trips don’t last more than two to three days, and you don’t need to pack much for these days. However, if you don’t know the tips and tricks to pack lightly, you might end up with bulky luggage that wastes both your time and energy. 

Most busy professionals and frequent business travelers don’t even bother with luggage when they travel for a few days. All they carry is cabin luggage, which they can keep with them, without the trouble of checking in their luggage or waiting in line to recover them. If you are traveling only for a few days, you won’t need to pack a large bag for yourself. 

Besides carrying only one bag, smart packing requires you to pack only the most essential items. There’s no need to waste your energy and time on packing everything you might not even need, which you won’t if you know how to pack for a work trip. 

Here are some important tips for you to remember when you are packing for a business trip the next time. 

  • Go Basic Colors 

Both for men and women, it is important that you choose a basic color for your bottoms: brown, black, navy blue or cream. Whether you are wearing pants or skirts, a basic color will need you to take only one pair of shoes, one blazer/jacket and one single belt with you. Shoes take up a lot of space in your cabin luggage, but you can easily eliminate the need for an extra one if you choose a basic color. You can take multiple shirts or tops to wear with the same skirt/pant every time you are in a meeting or presentation, and no one else will know. 

There’s always a chance of your one pant or skirt getting dirty, but most hotels provide laundry service that can clean your clothes in a few hours. When taking a single pair of pant or skirts, it is advisable that you choose a dark color because they don’t get dirty very quickly. 

  • Don’t forget your Nightwear 

For sleeping in and for all those hours relaxing in your hotel room, or preparing for a meeting, you don’t need more than one set of clothes to wear. This should be something extremely comfortable that you can wear for more than one night in a row. Most people don’t even wash their nightwear every day; you can simply take one set for all the days that you are staying. 

Don’t take nightwear or robes that are too bulky as it will take up a lot of space in your bag. A simple T-shirt and a pair of sweatpants is the universal nightwear for everyone all around the world. Besides, most hotels have bathrobes in their rooms that you can wear instead of a robe. 

  • Travel in the Same Clothes 

You can probably use the same set of clothes to travel in both ways. Usually, for both men and women, this includes a pair of jeans and a shirt/T-shirt, with a jacket or sweater on top for added layers. This is the most comfortable pairing of clothes that will be perfect both for short and long flights, and you can wear the same thing for both journeys. This outfit can hang in your hotel room closet for the next time that you need to take a flight. If you’ve had a very long flight, you can get them washed at the hotel laundry service for a nominal price. 

Take an extra T-shirt or two, and you can pair them up with your favorite pair of jeans for a night out on the town. For a dinner or lunch outside work, or shopping trips, or for sightseeing – this outfit is all that you need. 

  • Take Plenty of Socks and Underwear 

Now, these are two kinds of accessories that you should take plenty of. Socks and underwear don’t take up a lot of space, but you need to change them at least once every day. You can wear the same T-shirt, top or shirt for two days in a row, but you’ll definitely need to change your underwear and socks regularly. 

  • Two Pairs of Shoes, at Most 

At most, you need two pairs of shoes for your work trips: a comfortable one for the journey and a more formal one for your meetings and presentations. You can consider wearing your formal shoe for all kinds of outings and airport runs if you are comfortable, but that can become quite tough after a few hours. There should be enough space in your cabin luggage for a single pair of shoes since you are not taking a lot of clothes with you. 

You won’t need to take an extra pair of sandals or shoes for wearing in your hotel room, as most hotels provide extremely comfortable ones. 

  • About Toiletries 

Unless there’s a particular brand that you have to use, there’s no need to carry shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, conditioner or even shaving kits with you. Almost all hotels supply these toiletries and other items to their rooms, and they are available on request, too. Most women prefer to carry their favourite brand of shampoo with them as the ones supplied by the hotels aren’t that good. However, all other kinds of toiletries are usually safe and usable. 

In the case of men, hotels also supply shaving kits complete with one-time use razors and shaving foam. Everything you need while your stay, good hotels can provide, including a hairdryer, a sewing kit, a shoeshine kit, and a coffee/tea station. The bigger and the more expensive the hotel, the more perks and free deals it will provide you. 

  • Take a Separate Laptop Bag 

Beside your cabin luggage, it makes more sense if you bring your laptop bag with you. You’ll, of course, need your laptop with you on your business trips, but you can use the bag to carry other smaller items you don’t want in your cabin luggage. Mostly, what you can keep in your laptop bag are your other gadgets, important documents, regular and emergency medicines, etc. – everything you might need in a hurry without having to open up your bag. 

Laptop bags are allowed under your chair in the plane, and you can even keep it with you when you sit. Unlike your cabin luggage, you can keep your laptop bag with you under or beside your chair, and work on it if you need to. 

  • Women’s Purses 

Women usually carry a separate bag or purse with themselves, to carry their wallets, phones, keys and occasionally, makeup kit. However, if you are traveling with cabin luggage and a laptop bag, a purse may become an additional hazard. It might be difficult for any flyers to tackle three bags at the same time, and still work through all the different formalities of an airport. 

Anything that you might want to put inside your purse can actually be put in your laptop bag. What you need to do is to simply choose a laptop bag that has more pockets and segments than a regular laptop bag, and it can hold everything from your wallet to your keys, your paperbacks, and your emergency makeup. Alternatively, you can get a small bag to hold everything you need, and slip it inside your laptop bag. 

  • Travel Umbrella 

If you are visiting a place with frequent rain, you might want to carry a travel umbrella with you. These umbrellas are pretty small, no larger than the length of a laptop; so, you can carry one in your laptop bag and have access to it anytime. 

  • Chargers 

Of course, you can’t forget your cell phone charger, your laptop charger, and the charger for any other gadget that you are carrying. Even if you are only traveling for one day, you should keep your charger with you at all times. When you are away from home, your cell phone should always be charged. Beside a cell phone charger, you might also find it helpful to keep a fully-charged power bank with you for emergencies. 

Traveling for work is usually for a day or two; during this time, your full concentration should be on your work. You don’t want to arrive at a new city flustered and exhausted managing large luggage filled with belongings you don’t need. Packing lightly means you are not focusing on the wrong things, but being smart about it.