It depends on where you’re going and for how long, as well as on how long you can spare for preparation.
However, whether your job requires frequent trips or just the occasional overnight mission, and regardless the extent of your experience, it helps to keep always handy a checklist of packing essentials, if only to save you time getting ready.
First, the Clothes:
If you won’t be going straight from the arrival concourse to your meeting -which could be the case should your work take more than a couple of days- you will probably wear something leisurely, and casual. This might include comfortable “travel” shoes. Even a lightweight workout outfit and fresh kicks (crisp, clean sneakers). You could also pack these for your return home later.
Or, you could do as the modern day dandy does. Out-slick everyone in something a bit sharper that works comfortably anywhere in the world, any time of day, no matter the occasion. Something you never even have to take off. Something implemented with nanotechnology that renders it stain-, wrinkle- and odor-proof. Super hip. Super crisp.
Look and feel like a million bucks around the clock.
For a two-day-plus stay, pick your business attire based on one color (black, brown, blue or gray) and stay on course. Dark colors are easier to maintain and consistency will rule out the need for multiple shoes in various hues. Two pair is the limit, and pick comfort over style. Choose a jacket or blazer to match.
Don’t get mental with the shirts and ties. Depending on stay-over time, two to three of each should be enough. Easy on the accessories; besides your watch, pick jewelry that you wear all the time if any at all.
Pack underwear and socks for each day of the trip plus two extra pair anyway. Consider button-down, light pajamas. No robes.
Pack shampoo and conditioner (if you feel you must; remember most hotels provide such articles), toothpaste, toothbrush (sometimes you’ll get a complimentary one of these, too) and Q-Tips in a resealable plastic bag or toiletries bag. Mind air travel restrictions if you’re not checking your luggage (which, by the way, we recommend you do except for small carry-ons). All liquids and gels must be smaller than 3 ounces and must be in quart-size plastic bags. Pack these bags in an outside pocket or on the top of your suitcase for easy clearance at security checkpoints.
Place airline, hotel and rental car reservations and confirmations in a separate folder for quick and easy reference. Virtual check-ins can save you time and space. If you have these items on your phone or tablet, bookmark the sites or flag the confirmations.
Make sure your laptop or tablet is easily accessible to remove from your briefcase at Security.
Check out your business cards beforehand and replenish if needed. Take a couple of manila envelopes to store your business expense receipts. Do not pack a load of office supplies.
The jury is still out on the matter of packing a small portable umbrella in your bag’s outside pocket, in case it’s raining when you arrive. But we would much rather suggest one of our sport jackets, water-repellent and wrinkle-free. The XSuit sport jacket also rocks a built-in hood and comes in black and gray.
Gentlemen: Double check that you have your ID/Passport, wallet, phone, charger(s), thumb drive(s) and/or laptop, gum or mints and any medication you may need. Oh, and don’t forget your earphones/earbuds/earpods. The pair they peddle on commercial flights is far from optimal.
Now you’re good to go. Happy trails.