Pack like a pro with eight tips no business traveller should be leaving home without
When you’re on the road for business it pays to pack like a pro. It’s all too easy though to cram your case then find yourself overloaded and stressed when you should be calm and collected. Equally, skimping on your packing can leave you scrambling around on a hunt for the clothes and essential kit you’ve left back at home. The trick is to hit the sweet spot. So here are eight illuminating tips to help you pack a punch when you’re on the go.
Face down your fear and just roll with it
Let it be said loud and clear: you really can fold or roll even your best business-wear to save case space. Nothing takes up more room than pampered suits or outfits – those favourite get-ups you’d buy a seat for if you could. It has to stop. Now is the time to get real – and get rolling. Finesse your folding by checking out this YouTube video:
For extra protection it’s a good idea also to pack your best folded togs into plastic bags. And stick to the no-more-than-two rule: for shorter business trips limit yourself to two suits/outfits. Also – cut down generally by packing neutral/complementing colours that allow you to mix and match.
Become a heavyweight champ
It’d be nice to never deal with heavy items on the hop. But the reality is that across our business odysseys we do need to lug things like shoes, toiletries and laptops around. It’s here where packing more smartly really pays off. A general rule is to pack heavier items near the bottom of your case. Sticking to this keeps wheeled cases beautifully balanced as well as ensuring lighter items avoid being crushed or damaged. Carrying a load of documents? If hard copies of reports and books are essential, spread their weight evenly around your case.
Bag a decent case
And speaking of cases… Acquire one great piece of luggage for your business trips and you’ll never look back. Face it: your case will be your quiet, constant companion throughout your trips. So it makes loads of sense to choose a travelling buddy you get along with. Trusted big players like Samsonite carry high-quality ranges, but don’t forget department stores and the independents out there on the high street.
Things to look out for include:
- Size: always a tricky balancing act. Too small and you’ll be squeezed for space. Too large and it defeats the point of packing light in the first place. Frequent fliers should always choose a bag that meets the current maximum dimensions for cabin storage – and this size actually provides a decent rule-of-thumb for everyone.
- Compartments: choose a bag with smart interior compartments. Zipped-off sections will help you pack more logically. And packing cubes – really just small, separate bags-within-bags – are a must for both organising and saving space.
- Colour: business is business, so stick to a sober, professional shade.
- Portability: wheels are the norm, but most are designed for ultra-smooth concourses, not pavements. So look out also for bags with backpack-style shoulder straps.
- Hands-on: if you can, check out potential luggage in person. This is a pretty personal purchase and a hands-on approach will guarantee you a case that’s a great match for your needs.
Tame those case snakes
With so much kit requiring so many cables and wires, our bags and cases are now home to messy jumbles of knots and tangles. Stuffing cables into garment pockets is one way to deal with the deluge. Another solution – one for Blue Peter fans – is to tuck individual cables into empty toilet-rolls. On a similar theme, belts can be gathered up and stored within shirt collars (as well as saving space, this keeps collars looking super-sharp). Alternatively, wrap belts around the perimeter of your case. Just don’t coil them up into a circle – it wastes space.
Love your list
The days of dog-eared, scribbled-down lists are numbered. Instead, there are bags of apps out there dedicated to helping you perfect your packing. It makes sense for the regular traveller to build an easily accessible master list, so check out the choices available. To kick off, take a look at TripList and PackPoint – both available for Android and iOS, and both stuffed with smart features like easy sharing, backup and weather reporting.
Glide past queues
Perhaps the most compelling business reason to become a champion packer is the savings – in time and cash – it brings. With just one carry-on bag you’ll never again find yourself wasting time at the luggage carousel. Of course that means you’ll also have avoided baggage charges and the risk of lost luggage and delays. And at the start of your trip you’ll have zoomed through check-in too. Admittedly, it’s not possible for every business trip, but for those three/four-day jaunts it really does pay to pull out all the stops to travel light.
Prepare to interrogate
This is where you get to act all ruthless. After a few business trips take a good look at what you’ve been carrying around with you. If there’s something in there you’ve never used – a spare anything is a classic example – ditch it. Be tough. And be realistic too. Those running shoes that have been taking up space – weigh up if you really will have time for a jog or a gym session. And speaking of shoes – seriously, go easy on these heavy, space-gobbling appendages. The brave can limit themselves to just those they leave home with. For the rest of us: one other pair is the goal.
Rely on your destination
A first-rate serviced apartment will be equipped with facilities that support and encourage light packing. Your Dreamhouse apartment, for example, includes laundry/ironing equipment. So even if your trip is extending beyond a few days, you can pack a minimum amount and still be more than ready for the next meeting.